- Switch roles with them. Let them be the dad and you, the kid.
- Tell them a story, but not one from a book. Make something up or tell them a few anecdotes from your childhood -- especially ones where you got into trouble.
- Do something important in the community. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Help Habitat for Humanity build a house. Or, if the kids are older, do some work for a cause they support.
- Make a movie of the day. If you don't have a movie camera, take a few rolls of regular film, get them developed at a one-hour photo place, and make a scrapbook.
- Pretend you like the tie they got you and wear it all day.
- Take (don't send) them to a concert. They get to pick the music and you resist the urge to complain about it.
- Listen. Set aside some time and let the kids know that you're available to listen to anything they have to say on any topic at all. Give advice only if they ask for it.
- Visit or call or write your own father to wish him a happy Father's Day. If he's not alive, spend some time telling your kids about him.
- Write the kids a thank-you card -- not for the gifts, but just for being. After all, you wouldn't be a father without them.
- Let them meet the secret you. Tell them something about your self that they've never heard before -- could be favorite place or a secret dream you had as a kid.
- Best of all: Do absolutely nothing. Spend a completely unstructured day with the kids doing exactly what they want to do. Ignore the distractions of the phone, email, bills, work, and errands, and focus completely on them. Top off the day with an ice-cream sundae.
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A nationally recognized parenting expert, Armin Brott is the author of The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year, Father for Life, The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be, A Dad's Guide to the Toddler Years, Throwaway Dads, and The Single Father: A Dad's Guide to Parenting without a Partner. He has written on parenting and fatherhood for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek and dozens of other periodicals. He also hosts "Positive Parenting", a nationally distributed, weekly talk show, and lives with his family in Oakland, California.Related Reading:
Copyright© 2004 Armin Brott.