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Our Blog: June 13, 2014

Celebrating Dad this Father’s Day

Father's Day Let’s face it – dads don’t get enough praise. More and more of us know the importance that dads have in their children’s development. They change diapers, read bedtime stories, and know their way around the various sippy cups in the cupboard. Dads put in just as much time with the kids as us moms, but we forget to thank them for it, don’t we?

Research shows that dads are essential in the growing of happy, healthy children. Fathers have a different – and important – perspective on the world, and help both boys and girls have healthier relationships later in life. Children whose dads are more involved do better in school, have better problem-solving abilities, and stronger physical development than those whose dads aren’t.

So this Father’s Day, let’s celebrate everything we love about Dad. Beyond the usual boring tie or silly sports knick knack, I’m working on making a special effort with our kids to tell Daddy how much he means to us. Here are some ideas to break you out of the usual routine:

  • Ask each child what he or she loves best about Daddy. Help your children to write their descriptions on a piece of paper and to decorate it with their handprints. Take dictation from younger ones who can talk, and help create the words for pre-verbal children. Include these precious descriptions in a large Family Father’s Day envelope.
  • Create a photo keepsake of all the men and boys in the family. Consider dressing all the guys in simple, matching outfits – maybe white shirts and jeans or the family’s favorite sports team colors. Have them pick the pose – and try to get a close-up to capture as much detail as possible. Re-create the scene every year for a memento that every generation in your family will treasure.
  • Pack a picnic and have running races at the park. Bring markers for start and finish lines. Try other versions, such as somersault races, hopping on one foot, and wheelbarrow races. And of course, ice pops for everyone afterwards!
  • Write a special note of thanks for ALL the fathers in your life. Make an extra effort to come up with real-life examples of how this Dad in particular has influenced his children for the better.
  • Snuggling together with a book before bed is a great way to end Father’s Day. The board books Daddy Kisses and Daddy Hugs are both meant for babies and young children, and give Dads the chance to be loved and celebrated with their little ones. Enjoy!
About the Author

Dr. Heather Wittenberg

Dr. Wittenberg is a psychologist specializing in the development of babies, toddlers, preschoolers — and parents. She offers no-hype, practical parenting advice on her blog BabyShrink — rooted in science, and road tested in her own home as the mother of four young children. She has helped thousands of parents over the years and knows that the most common problems with young children — sleep, feeding, potty training and behavior — can be the most difficult ones to solve.