Dad Skills: Things I have had to learn as a dad

When I became a dad I knew I'd learn about changing nappies and dealing with broken sleep. I didn't expect to become an IT consultant or skilled baker.

When I became a father I knew I would be on a steep learning curve. I would be learning about breastfeeding, baby nutrition and what it was like to live without sleep. As time went on, I picked up various other dad skills.

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My child approaches me with a bundle of wires and a computer: “Daddy, can you get it to work please?” IT consultancy is not a skill I expected to hone as a father.

Being a dad of two daughters, top of the list would be learning all about female hair care. In particular, I learned how to use conditioner to de-tangle hair and I can also recognise a rubbish hair brush from a distance of 200 metres.

As time has gone on, I have come to appreciate that there are some other skills I have learned. These are skills that aren’t mentioned in any parenting book or by chatting with older relatives. They also aren’t necessarily dad skills, but parenting skills. As you may have noticed, I just happen to be a dad.

No, these are skills that any mum or dad could pick up through trial and error. In my case, it’s usually error.

Below are a few. Have a read and see if you can relate to them.

IT Consultancy

Once my kids started using computers for school work and gaming, I had to become an IT consultant. In fact just getting their chosen TV programme to play in the world of streaming media can require a doctorate in physics. Should you stream something via a Chromecast, use a set top box or simply watch on a wireless device?

Setting parental controls, creating online accounts, installing updates, installing safety apps, wow, this stuff can be complex. Don’t worry though family, I’m here to help.


I was inspired to write this blog post while baking cakes with Helen and Izzy. I’ve always been a reasonably good cook, but baking was a bit of a mystery to me because I don’t have that much of a sweet tooth.

The truth is, I really enjoy baking with the kids. They enjoy it and learn about how food is made plus they learn about weights and measure and so on.

Several years into this fatherhood thing and I have memorised basic cake and Victoria sponge recipes. I don’t need to refer to recipe books at all.this is not a skill I expected to pick up at all!


I’m not too sure where I learned my sewing skills, but I have always been able to replace a button and that kind of thing. Only thing is, my approach was completely freestyle and I made it up as I went along.

These days I can do recognisable stitches as I repair pairs of tights or the cardigans my kids must wear to school. I don’t claim to be the best, but my skills have improved a great deal.

Carpet cleaning

Whatever the spill, no matter how badly ingrained, I can bring a carpet back to life. It may simply be a small drop of squash or something horrendous the cat has vomited, but I know how to clean up that stain and get the best results.

Logistics planning

This is a skill I have definitely had to hone as my kids have got older and developed their own interests. It wasn’t such an issue when the children were younger, but as Helen and Izzy have made their way through school they have been invited to more parties and had clubs to go and so on.

Things get complicated. They get even more complicated when Mrs Adams and I have the audacity to lead our own lives because that means we sometimes need to be at a certain time and place when the kids need to be elsewhere.

I knew this was always going to happen. Nonetheless, I have been taken aback at how complex it can be organising the logistics for a young family. That said, if all four of us need to be in different places at the same time, I generally manage to figure it out (just don’t expect me to be on time).

What skills do you have?

Those are just a few of the skills I have learned as a father. How about you? Are there any skills you have picked up as a mum or dad you’re willing to share? If so, do comment below as I am sure you’ll have some good examples that haven’t occurred to me

8 thoughts on “Dad Skills: Things I have had to learn as a dad”

  1. Oh yes, I’ve picked up plenty of such skills since becoming a dad. Like the ability to think like my children to find things they’ve lost but can’t sleep without and the art of distraction to stop tantrums. Female hair care is still a work in progress though – youngest is three but her hair has taken so long to grow that it’s only starting to get some length to it now!

    1. Good luck with the hair care Tom. I can do the care bit….but styling is still a mystery. Finding the toy brings about peaceful sleep….that is indeed a very valuable skill.

  2. That is a classic photo, and it makes me flash back to being surrounded by my nephews on Christmas day with handfuls of plastic that needed to turn into Castle Greyskull, an Enterprise ship or the easiest one, a WWF wrestling ring.

    1. I love your description of Christmas day. That sounds very similar to ours! Glad you like the image. believe it or not, we only had take two or three shots to get it right.

  3. The main one for me would be planning. I mean it’s OK when you live on your own and there’s no milk. These days it’s out to the shops at 10pm, or up early if there’s nothing for breakfast / packed lunches. It pays to stay on top of it. I also never knew how to talk to children until I had my own. Now I can talk in kids language up to the age of 8 (my oldest daughters age…)

    1. Ah, yes, planning. Also, making a plan and sticking to it. Kids can be quite indecisive I find and once you start changing your plans, things go a bit wrong. I couldn’t honestly tell you how many times I have had to pop out to the shops first thing in the morning because we had no milk / bread / both!

  4. Diplomacy skills that could rival a hostage negotiators, usually exercised when there is only one of something or even worse its the last on something!

    1. How could I miss out negotiation skills? Now you mention it, it’s possibly the most obvious skill of the lot I’ve had to learn!

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