Boys have their buddies, but there is nothing that compares to quality time and making memories with dad. Whether your son is in preschool or preparing for college, carve out some time just for the two of you.
Here are five memorable ways to spend that precious father and son time:
Choose an activity that becomes something traditional for you and your son to do together every year. For instance, cook a special dinner for mom on Mother’s Day. This opens the door to teaching your son how to cook, as well as the way to treat his wife someday. Incorporate setting the table, grilling out and even shopping for mom’s gift.
Another idea is making it a dad and son event to find the perfect Christmas tree each year. Whether you explore together in the woods and cut your own tree, drive to a Christmas tree farm or visit a tree sales stand, it’s something you and your boy of any age can do as a team. Pack a thermos filled with hot chocolate for an added treat to share.
Grab a baseball or football and have a catch in the yard together. This opens the door for talks and helps dads bond with their sons. If your son enjoys organized sports, consider coaching his team. Whether it be little league baseball, the community youth soccer team or pee wee football, join the fun and get involved as a coach or assistant.
Keep in mind, a dad with a good attitude and plenty of patience can make a lasting impression on his son and other team members. However, the dad who shows up yelling at the kids and getting overly emotional about losses can dampen the spirits of everyone at a game and embarrass his own son. Keep it positive and be a loving leader to your son at every game, as well as practices.
Set aside a day that is all about you and your son. Choose a movie you both want to see, play games together at the video arcade, ride go-carts, enjoy a round of paintball or attend a professional sporting event. If your idea of fun does not match your son’s ideal day, put your own interests aside for this excursion. Maybe your son is a video game nut and you are more into sports. Compromise and take an interest in what he likes to do. After the activity, indulge in your favorite meal together. Treat your son to pizza, ice cream or a dinner of his choosing. Whether father-son day is once a month or four times a year, make it clear that this day is all about you two having fun together.
Pull out the map and plan an adventure. The planning process can be enjoyable, as well as educational. Teach your son how to use a map and make reservations. Set a budget, then research online together to find fun activities you both want to do along the way. Whether you choose to take a weekend camping trip, head to the amusement park, visit a historical spot or travel to another country, make it your trip from start to finish. Have your son select activities and choose some yourself, teaching him about give and take. During the journey, use travel time to get to know your son better. Play road games like 20 questions for conversation starters. Along the way, teach him to think of others by suggesting he bring back a souvenir for mom and any siblings.
Some of the most memorable experiences with your son occur when you take time to listen and truly hear what he has to say. Whether he is five or 15, your son wants more than anything to have a dad who cares about him. Go for a walk on the beach, take a hike through the woods, start a fire in the backyard and roast marshmallows together, or enjoy a nightly walk around the block just to touch base with your son.
Let him open up to you about school, friends, frustrations and anything going on in his life. If a touchy subject arises, respond calmly and talk things out in a way that shows your son he can come to you with anything. He will begin to treasure these regular father-son times and know you are always there for him.
Creating memorable events with your son doesn’t have to cost a fortune. What matters is spending time together, listening to him and showing you care.
Guest writer Kimberly M. is a freelance writer and a mother of two teenagers.