Do you have a dad in your life that just doesn’t know where he fits into the family? He shows up at every hockey game. He is there when someone needs a boo boo kissed. He fixes leaky sinks, mows the lawn and shovels the driveway, but day-to-day, he needs a little reminder that he is more than just the fix-it-all guy.
My husband is this guy.
He does everything that needs doing, but never does what he truly wants to be doing. Mom gets the bedtime snuggles. Mom gets the good morning kisses. Mom gets to go to the playground, volunteer at school, and helm every sleepover. Mom knows every favourite snack, special stuffed animal and best friend—or enemy—at school.
Dads want to be involved. They want to hear about their partner’s day, or who’s mad at who on the playground.
They just don’t know where the bonding starts.
Here are my favourite activities to remind dad that he is a full-fledged part of the family, and not just the guy we call when we need help:
Spend Time Together Doing Nothing
This goes for parents, partners or kids. Whatever dad is doing that day, be in that space with him.
Is he working in the yard?
Send the kids outside with a ball, let them just enjoy the same environment together. They won’t have to tell them all about their day, instead they can sit down together and talk about it together.
Is he playing his favourite video game?
Sit down with dad, throw your legs on his lap, and scroll TikTok. Doing your own thing, but still having that time together can make you feel closer than when one of you is stuck doing something you aren’t interested in.
Bedtime Routines That Matter.
Sometimes dad just can’t be with the kids all day.
Work and chores often get in the way of real life, and moms and dads alike often feel like they’re missing out on their children’s lives. The best way we combat this at home is our bedtime routine.
Have dad spend a couple of minutes with each child—and you!—before bed, and have each person say their favourite part of the day and their worst part of the day. He might learn about their child's new crush at school, or about a subject they're struggling with, but either way, dad will learn something about the day he thought he missed out on.
Make sure dad plays the game too, bonding goes both ways.
We regularly hear about bringing home flowers for mom, or McDonald's for the kids, but what are we doing to show dad we are thinking of him?
This could be a big gesture, like a family trip to see the baseball team of his choice, or something small, like making sure the cupboards are full of his favourite snacks.
My favourite, though, is having the children make something special, just for him. A lot of the time, art from school comes right home to mom. When it's meant for him, it just hits differently.
Dads typically feel like they need to fill a specific role at home, much like moms do. But it's time we remind them that they are welcome anytime, anywhere.
Comment below and share some of the best moments you’ve shared with your dad!