Top 12 Dad Types You’ll Meet At The Park

dads at the park with kids

Sound like anyone you’ve run into?

No more are the days where playgrounds and parks are populated solely by moms. As a dad, it’s cool to be at the park with your kid. And more likely than not, you might end up sharing it with a fellow father. These are the people you’ll turn to for advice, support and reassurance…maybe. Even though these dads don’t exactly share the same parenting style as you—and you may not see eye-to-eye on things like bottle feeding or babywearing—there are still some things you can learn from a few of them. Others, though? They might just make you roll your eyes.

The Workaholic Dad. This dad is attached at the hip—literally by a holster—to his work phone. His 3 year old may be suspended upside down from the monkey bars, but his face is buried in his email. He won’t look up to say hello unless he detects a networking opportunity, almost certainly job-related. Try to find out what he does and if you have any connections, otherwise you’ll never get a word in. He may not be the best expert to talk to about work/life balance, but he knows how to advance a career while still being a dad.

His natural habitat: On LinkedIn, but only if you have a few mutual connections.
Where you’ve actually seen him: Always on the closest park bench with his face lit by the glow of his phone’s email app. He’s likely typing frantically or yelling about closing on a conference call.

The Playful Pop. This dad thinks he’s just one of the kids. He wants to relive his childhood and isn’t afraid to do it through his child. He might be four times the size, but he wants to do everything his kid does too. Bent see-saws and broken swings are a sign he’s been there. He’s got great advice on child’s play, but isn’t the right person to talk to about difficult adult conversations or situations.

His natural habitat: About two feet away from his kid. Or on the swings by himself.
Where you’ve actually seen him: When you arrive at the playground, there are several fire trucks. When you get closer, you see several volunteer firefighters pulling this dad out of the slide he got stuck in while trying to ride it with his kid.

The Hover Dad. You can almost hear the helicopter blades whirring as this dad follows his kids around. Sometimes they might literally be attached by a leash or “safety tether.” He’s the dad you hear loudly discussing how unsafe wood chips are or grabbing his kid off the threshold of a slide because it’s too dangerous. He’s an expert on keeping a child safe and has read every single parenting book, and may have even written his own. He’s not the right person to consult with about letting a kid be a kid, though.

His natural habitat: Parenting book signings or parenting meetups.
Where you’ve actually seen him: Running around behind his kid, possibly attached to a backpack with a leash. Measuring the tensile strength of the swing set chain.

The Hipster Dad. He passes around a petition to have the water fountain changed to organic water. One day you return to the playground to find that the wood chips have been replaced with compostable, LEED-certified, artisanal chips from an old iron workshop in Brooklyn, NY. He’s the dad to ask about the best craft breweries for bringing children and possibly a dog (always a rescue mix). He also knows the best parenting gear from automated diaper disposals to wifi-enabled bottles. Just don’t show him your bottles or toys because they will inevitably be the wrong ones.

His natural habitat: Hanging out at the beer garden, kids and dog in tow. Try bonding over a craft brew and discuss the best bassinets.
Where you’ve actually seen him: At the organic supermarket, suggesting new products they should carry.

The Absentminded Papa.“Hey, is this your stroller or mine?” This dad can never remember which gear is his or even what his kid is wearing. He probably doesn’t remember feeding his child either, so you might see him giving them multiple snacks. Be careful about this dad wandering off with your things. He doesn’t mean to do it; he’s just got a lot on his mind. Don’t take his advice about the best gear because he probably doesn’t remember what he actually has.

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