If you get a gut sense that the father-child relationship is a special one, well, you’re right. Research shows that father involvement enhances a child’s academic success and helps youngsters adjust to life’s many surprises without behavioral upsets, according to the National Institutes for Health.
In fact, from day one, a dad’s care gives youngsters long-term benefits, as noted by nonprofit National Fatherhood Initiative. To get in on the fun, try one of these father-child bonding activities—you may recognize a few from your own childhood:
This suggestion is a classic for good reason. Coaching your preschooler or elementary school-aged child is one of the best ways to involve yourself in their extracurricular activities and show that you care. Plus, it’s fun!
At this age, the competitive spirit rarely rises up, because most kids and parents are simply enjoying the game. Additionally, kids learn sportsmanship from you (not a textbook), as pointed out by KidsHealth. Not to mention, it’s a privilege if you’re the one to teach them!
Being outdoors is good for both you and your child. This could mean spending unstructured time walking, climbing, camping, or exploring. Not having an agenda is a great way to let your child talk about whatever, which is guaranteed to give you a peek into what’s on his or her mind.
Or, you could get outside with a specific pastime in mind. Fishing, yard work, bicycling, or bird-watching are great examples of outdoor hobbies to take up with your child for a guaranteed connection.
Celebrate a Tradition
Traditions are a healthy way for your children to feel grounded in familial rituals when the rest of the world seems out of control. Reminisce about a tradition your family practiced when you were growing up—the more unique, the better. Then, institute it.
That could mean doing dinner as a family every weeknight, an evening of board games once per month, or spending time with Dad one-on-one at weekly Saturday breakfasts out of the house. If you don’t have any traditional memories to draw from, grab a copy of an informational book on the topic, like The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox. Each of her ideas is charming, so you’ll want to institute them all!
Cook up Some Silliness
Some of the best father-child bonding activities are those you can do without even leaving the house; the comfort of your usual surroundings let a kid open up and try new things. That could mean creating a custom recipe, tasting something adventurous, or sharing thoughts. Cook as a team with your child, and he or she will never forget it!
Add a philanthropic twist on the idea by baking goods to donate or making a meal for someone who could use some support.
Let Your Child Decide
Next time you want some father-child bonding time, try this: ask your kid what he or she would like to do. Then, do it—whether that’s playing with ponies, gaming on a tablet, reading, or practicing music. Don’t be surprised if your child switches gears a few minutes in and wants to do something else. That’s how kids operate. From one escapade to the next, they enjoy an activity then drop it like a hot potato. If that happens, just try and go with the flow.
If you want to connect with your kid, sure, you could do one of the activities above. Or, you could simply involve your child more in your everyday life, a fact noted by the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. Their recent campaign, “It Only Takes a Moment to Make a Moment” highlights real fathers doing real things with their youngsters without making a big production out of it.
Check out their catalog of real-life video shorts for a guaranteed smile and, possibly, some inspiration to make an extra connection with your own father-child bonding today. After checking them out, shoot your own, and tweet it to us!
Image sources: Wikimedia Commons | Bethany Johnson
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.
Why It’s Good
Science has shown that everyone benefits when kids get some one-on-one father-child bonding time. Knowing that everyone's emotional needs are being met feels great, and these activities can make it happen.