One thing that is so endearing to me about my husband is his love for his girls and the way he is deliberate in connecting with them and making them feel special. Each way is unique to them (mostly) because they're both so different. Here are 10 ways I've seen him connect in simple and fun ways.
1. Going for a walk outdoors.
There's something special about the outdoors no matter what the season. It's a good chance to get away from screens and devices and actually engage in conversation and get the heart pumping and the good endorphins kicking in. There can also be fun in the 'build-up' and the car drive there. Before going, plan where you're going to walk together, what you're going to bring, how long you want to walk for...Factor in things like stop-offs at classic food places that you know and love, make the journey part of the fun too.
2. Putting a tent in the backyard and having a sleep out.
If you have a tent or can borrow a small one, having a camp out in the backyard means you still have access to the luxury amenities girls tend to like. That said - planning for it again is all part of the fun - going out shopping for marshmallows and cookies to make smores over a fire/brazier and organising a good torch to make animal shapes from your hand shadows on the side of the tent. Depending on age and time, you could play a movie on a tablet snuggled up in your sleeping bags, or play board games or cards...then wait for it to get dark and watch for shooting stars at night. If it's wet on the day you planned, you could make a blanket tent inside at home in the lounge and keep on with the rest of the plans (with maybe an edit to the smores - unless you have a fireplace in your house!).
3. Movie night.
This can be either out at the movies or at home. Again it's making the build up and the event special. Planning it together, picking the movie, the food (go out for dinner beforehand for a burger, or make dinner and popcorn at home). Then the talks about the movie afterwards as well.
4. Cafe for lunch.
Going out for a nice lunch at a nice location you've both chosen is a great way to disconnect from social media, screens etc and connect with each other. If you know you've got a couple of hours on a Saturday before mowing the lawns and repairing the fence, ask for a quick 'lunch date' to hang and talk about the week that was and the week ahead. It doesn't take the whole day but is super special time and memories together.
5. Going to the beach.
Much like a walk outdoors, there's something special about getting out to the beach, the water, the sun, the sand and the fun you can have - if they're not 'too old' for it - making sandcastles...if sandcastles aren't cool enough then making a cool sand chair and fire pit together, or draw patterns in the sand with driftwood. There's always plenty to do swimming and relaxing in the sun - the beach is your oyster!
6. Reading a book series together.
There are some great book series out there for a range of ages. For younger children famous five is still as exciting now as it was back then for younger kids or Tin Tin. The C.S Lewis series the Chronicles of Narnia are a fantastic book series that will draw them away from their devices and draw them into the mystery and drama that unfolds in each story. Great memories and great stories!
7. Going for a bike ride together.
This could be around the block, to a local track, mountain biking out in a forest - you both get to decide together and have a blast planning the outing, the food, the location, the track, stop offs, what to bring etc. Plus you get to enjoy the great outdoors and breathe in that clean fresh air!
8. Going camping for the weekend.
The great camping trip! This requires planning time together, what to bring, where to go, perhaps even working out a budget together (all part of learning), planning meals, grocery shopping etc.
9. Helping with homework projects.
Now me (the mum) and computers have a working together relationship, whereas Hubby - who works with computers for a living and knows how to fix them and network them etc gives him a certain set of skills that can help a lot with homework projects as our kids grow up. When we know our strengths and can 'interchange' our offer to help on certain homework projects as parents we all win! This is a great bonding time for dad's and daughters to impart their wisdom and help empower and encourage your child to understand whatever their project is better, but also in teaching them about how to find the information, how to create the 'model', how to 'code that app' etc.
10. Making a meal together.
Our daughter is 'obsessed' with MasterChef - she loves it! Because this is a passion for her - this is a great way for dad and daughter to connect...the key here is finding 'her thing' and doing something together with it - be it making an amazing meal - or learning a new craft. Enjoy the process together, planning the menu, buying the ingredients, making the food, decorating the table, serving the family a fancy nights dinner - the ideas are endless and create amazing memories too!
And most of all - Don't forget the camera with all these memories you're making as you'll LOVE looking back on them each year!