When it comes to preparing for the arrival of baby, Dad tends to end up in the backseat. While this time is an enjoyable and exciting experience for both parents involved, the attention most often falls on you, the mother. After all, it is your body that changes as your child grows inside and you have the ability to feel baby kick and move first hand. In addition, baby showers are most often women-only events!

There are many things both parents can do however, to get dad involved and keep him involved during this special time in your lives. Below are simple ways to help ease dad into his big role as you both prepare for the upcoming birth of your baby (after all, he’s going to need to get out of the backseat to make room for baby’s car seat!):

Extend invites to medical appointments
Invite and encourage your partner to attend prenatal medical appointments, including ultra sounds and tests. Hearing the baby’s heart beat for the first time, finding out the sex (if you so choose) and seeing him or her on an ultrasound will help to increase Dad and baby bonding time before your little one is even born!

Share how you are feeling
Did you just feel the baby kick? If your partner is in the room, tell him when this happens and place his hand on your belly! Sharing when the baby moves, as well as your thoughts and feelings about the pregnancy will help keep Dad feeling involved in the process.

Brainstorm names
Discuss baby names and allow your partner to add his favourite to the list. Even if you are not keen on his chosen names, allowing him to provide some input is important to connecting with your future child. In the end, selecting the official name will be a compromise between the two of you.

Plan ahead
Bond as future parents, not just partners, by planning for your family’s future. Plan how you are going to decorate the nursery; discuss how you will share parenting responsibilities (diaper duty, midnight feedings, laundry, household cleaning, etc.); share your views on childcare options (Will one parent stay home? Will you hire a nanny? Will your baby eventually enter into daycare?); and if baby will have brothers and/or sisters.

Talk to the baby
Studies prove that babies can hear in utero around five months. Therefore, talking to your baby will help him or her recognize your voice well before he or she is born. Encourage your partner to talk to your belly (or even sing to your belly!) as you continue to grow.

Call him Dad
Because he is not formally pregnant, the reality of becoming a Dad may not have officially sunk in for your partner. Get him used to his new role by calling him Dad right from the beginning. If Father’s Day arrives before the baby is born, give him a card and encourage him by telling him often what a great parent he will be.

Having a baby is a life-changing experience for both you and your partner. While Dads don’t have the ability to give birth, there are several things you can do to get him involved as much as possible.