Commando Dad by Neil Sinclair
This book works very strongly on the KISS principle. By keeping it simple and adopting the format of an Army instructional pamphlet, the author, Neil Sinclair, has ensured that his childcare techniques are easily read and understood and therefore employed.
A former Commando Sapper, PE teacher and security guard at the UN, the author is now, obviously, a qualified childminder and full-time dad. (I can honestly say I wouldn’t have guessed that particular career profile). In Commando Dad, he sets out very simple techniques for looking after young children (up to three years) ranging from preparation for arrival to entertaining small children and dealing with tantrums and mood swings.
As Dad to two small nippers myself, I was very impressed by the practicality of the book: a combination of simple, logical layout, a clear writing style coupled with a good index and small size (roughly A5) means that this a book is easy to use: you would be happy checking it at two in the morning with a crying child in the other hand or throwing in a Daysack
prior to a trip with the young ones. This contrasts with other books in the genre which are either big and bulky, written in a clinical or inaccessible style or written for Mums, not Dads. This last point sounds quite minor but is actually key. At the risk of appearing fluffy, many parenting books seem to think that men are out at work all the time or take no interest in their children until they are dropping them off at primary school: the focus of Commando Dad is the Dad. Sinclair explains clearly what the role of a father is in a small child’s life and what you can do as a parent from a distinctly male perspective.
I will happily admit that I wish that I had read this book before my eldest son arrived in this world. By the time I started getting involved (I went on tour shortly after he was born), my wife was fully cued up on the young lad’s routine, needs, feeding drills etc and my arrival was the cause of much amusement and annoyance. Reading this book would have given me a pretty thorough introduction to being a Dad in terms I can follow and been clear enough to act as a reference throughout the next three years.
The only negative comment I have on this book is the use of military-style language. It’s easy enough for someone in the Forces to follow but someone who has never served might be a bit puzzled in those pre-dawn moments when your brain isn’t functioning but the baby’s lungs are working well. The author does provide clear glossaries and the terms are pretty clear so a little pre-reading is all that is required.
This is a top book and I recommend it to all current and future parents (especially Dads) of small children. Neil Sinclair has written a gem of a book that will provide a valuable framework to all parents.
4.5 out of 5