Dads can now get a helping hand from a variety of support groups

Getting hands-on: A dad helps his children make gliders.
Getting hands-on: A dad helps his children make gliders.
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DADS groups are beginning to boom.

For centuries women have had formal and informal group sessions either over a cup of tea with a neighbour or in a more organised Mother’s Union way.

But blokes are, historically speaking, pretty new to all this.

Modern parenting demands - as do most fathers themselves - that the male of the relationship takes a keen interest in the rearing of offspring.

Gone are the pipe and slippers dad’s who might look up from their newspaper to ruffle their freshly-bathed infant’s hair and kiss them good night.

Now we want to do everything but breast feed.

But if you’re struggling with the role - who teaches anyone to be a good dad? - then help is at hand.

There are various Dad’s groups in Sheffield and one of them is held at St Thomas’s church in Crookes almost every Saturday between 9am and 11.30 am

“We allow our children to play while we chat, eat sausage sandwiches and drink tea and coffee,” said a spokesman.

“Our children also have a drink and some toast and get to mix with other children. All we ask is that you bring yourself and a child (aged between 0 and 5) along and enjoy a chat, relax and allow the lady in your life a lie in and a morning off from the children.

“What more could you ask for?”

Sheffield city council also runs Surestart centres across the city, many of which have dads and tots groups. See www.sheffield.gov.uk

How to set up your own dads group

1. First find some dads that want to get together (ask your partner to ask other women if their men want to get out of the house for a few hours)

2. Arrange to meet first at a local park, (preferably near a cafe!) Let the kids play while you chat with the other dads about the next steps.

3. Choose a time, Saturday mornings are good, but if you have a day off a week, that maybe just as good but numbers will be limited (plus your partner may give you lots of jobs to do on your “day off”).

4. Find a venue. It’s OK to meet at the park each saturday until that rainy day comes. We meet at a church centre,talk to your local church and ask them what they have.

They normally have a lot of toys as they normally run toddler groups during the week, and are normally very accomodating.

5. Advertise your group. Word of mouth is best, as most of our dads say that their partners told them to come as their friends’ partners go as well. Printing some leaflets and leaving them at a local mid-week toddler group usually helps.

Links to help get a dads group up and running: www.wholetthedadsout.org; www.careforthefamily.org.uk/dads