Age of Babies
It's up to the parents to decide when they're comfortable having Dad bring the baby to Boot Camp, but we recommend you reach out to Vet Dads with 2- to 8-month-old babies. We suggest this for several reasons:
- Larger pool of Veteran Dads to draw from.
- Rookie Dads get the chance to see Dads with younger and older babies.
- Gives Vets several months to give back to the program, and allows for Vets to come back multiple times. (We've had Vet Dads come back 4+ times!)
- Vet Dads with younger babies will learn from Vet Dads with older babies.
- The upper limit is set at 8 or 9 months since this is when babies start crawling or even walking, making it harder for Dad to focus on sharing and helping during the workshop.
All classes should have 2+ Vets, that way you can break into the smaller groups during the second hour. The recommended ratio of Vets to Rookies is 1:3. So for a class of 10 Rookies, you should have three to four Vets, and if you can get more, your Boot Camp will be even better!
- With multiple Vet Dads, the Rookies get to hear multiple views and hopefully hear ideas that will work for their family.
- Better one-on-one time during the small groups so Rookies can ask more in-depth questions
- More babies! More hands-on time, more chances to change, feed and hold a little one.
- Things happen, situations come up, babies don't sleep the night before or mom has second thoughts about being away from baby for so long, with 3+ Vets scheduled, even if someone has to cancel last minute, you'll still have enough Vets to share with the group.
- Makes the Coach's job easier! He's supposed to be facilitating the discussion and introducing topics, not doing all the talking, so having several Vets allows him to draw on them to fill in and share different perspectives on all the issues discussed in Boot Camp.
- When Rookies see 2, 3, 4+ Veteran Dads in their workshop, they realize that it takes multiple Vets to make Boot Camp successful and are more likely to come back as Vets themselves.
- Make being a Veteran Dad, "when" not "if." The Coach should talk about Veteran Dads in a way that implies all the guys are expected to come back with their babies and give back to the program.
- Have Rookies sign up for what future workshop they'll come back to as a Vet and send a reminder email about the date.
- Send an email to guys as they hit that 2-month post-due-date mark and tell them about upcoming dates to schedule their first time back as a Veteran Dad.
- Also reach out to guys with a "Last Chance" email when their babies are getting close to the 8-month mark. Thank the Veteran Dads in this age range who have already come back with their babies.
- Encourage Vets to come to Boot Camp as a way to give mom a morning to herself or a chance to have an adventure with his baby.
- Boot Camp is a great baby's first outing with dad since it's a safe environment, there will be other guys there to support him, no judgement and plenty of other people to help with baby care. It's a real boost to his confidence when he leaves Boot Camp after taking care of baby on his own for 3 hours!
- Keep asking guys back! That's what that 7-month window is for, to give dads lots of opportunities to come back. Ask every month, schedules change, Saturday mornings open up, confidence builds!
- Offer thank-you gifts to Veteran Dads: a onesie for baby the first time back and a mug or t-shirt on the second and third visits.
- At the end of Boot Camp, have the Veteran Dads tell the Rookies why they should come back after their babies are born.