Dad-proof tip: Making the most of quality time

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The time a father spends with his child is important. Spending quality, one-on-one time together enables you to deeply connect and get to know each child. You get to know their likes, dislikes, worries, fears, inspirations and aspirations. Fathers who spend this time with their children also have been found to be better at caring because this time helps you to be more sensitive to your child’s need for love, attention and support. Children need to know their dads think they are special.

Meaningful time

The important message about time with your children, is that it is not just about the amount of time. It is about meaningful and regular time that will create lasting memories and special bonds. Studies have shown, the memories of time with dad with the most impact, were when the child felt they had their dad’s undivided attention, without interruption. They need to know that you want to be with them, to listen to them and care about how they feel. In studies where adults have been asked to recount the times, they felt special with their dads, it wasn’t so much the activity they were doing, it was the feelings they remembered. It was because it was their special time their dad, with a feeling of togetherness and bonding between dad and child.

These meaningful moments might have been going somewhere, playing, watching or creating something, but the important thing was that it was together. The key point that your kids will remember is that “Dad thinks I am important to him, and he wants to spend this time with me”. It was special between child and dad.

Everyday memorable moments

When it comes to meaningful moments your child will remember, the everyday moments together can have just as much value as big events.

Regularly reading or telling bedtime stories, when your child is younger, establishes the supportive conditions for the brain to learn and remember.

A great way for dads to create memorable moments with their children is to play and have fun with them.

Children will remember you smiling, laughing and enjoying being with them. Plus, evidence has shown that not only is fun play a wonderful way to connect but play with dad, has a unique role in the development of your child. Play encourages children to explore, discover, negotiate, take risks, and problem-solve which supports the development of cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills. Even as they get older, they will still crave time with you and love to play.

Regularly kicking a ball together in the park can lead to a regular positive emotional experience and a deep connection. This connection leads to stronger relationships and helps with more open communication and trust as your child get older. Plus, these pleasurable memories are often recalled far beyond childhood with a sense of being nurtured and loved.

Dad Dates

One-on-one dad dates helps our children feel special, loved and listened to. Dad dates provide one-on-one time with each child, so If you have three kids, you have three separate dates. The date doesn’t have to be an extravagant or expensive event, it is about the time together one-on-one to play, talk, listen, laugh and have some fun.

If you start this when children are young, these dates will provide opportunities for you to really connect with each child, to check in on their health and wellbeing and how they coping as they grow up. You will also find they will be more likely to discuss any issues or problems with you in these one- on-one times because they are alone with you. This is really important especially when they reach adolescence.

Top Tips for Dad Dates

  • Dads dates are one child at a time, with no-one else and no interruptions.
  • Focus on connecting and help your child to feel like they are valued, loved and worth your time.
  • It doesn’t have to be elaborate; going to the park , lunch or just going for a walk are easy ways to create one-on-one Dad Dates
  • It can sometimes be special – try taking your child somewhere they’ve been wanting to try, this will help them know you listen to them.
  • They give you a chance to really listen to your child – try to be interested, positive and encourage open conversation.
  • Book it in and try not to cancel – make a point of scheduling this in your diary, just like a business meeting or a job.
  • The more you do Dad dates the easier it is – Starting out with a fun or challenging activity together helps to get the conversation flowing.

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