Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Remember to Have Daddy-Daughter Dates


Spending time with your daughter enhances your relationship with her. As I mentioned in a previous post, it is not just about quality time, it is about quantity time. To make your daughter feel loved, and wanted, you need to spend time together. I, therefore, recommend daddy-daughter dates.

Daddy-daughter dates are a prime time for some one-to-one. This is a chance for you to give her your uninterrupted and undivided attention.

(1) At what age should you begin these dates? When your daughter is an infant. That way you can start to develop a relationship with your daughter as soon as possible, but to also develop a routine. Something as simple as holding her for an hour while mom takes a rest, is a great start. These daddy-daughter dates should continue until she moves out. But this brings me to my second point: frequency.

(2) How often should you have daddy-daughter dates? It is easiest to do daddy-daughter dates when she is young. As she gets older and progresses through elementary school to high school, her schedule will become more compact. You need to realize those calendar shifts. When she is a toddler, you can have a daddy-daughter date once a week or every other week. As she starts going to school more full-time, it may change to once or twice a month. As her schedule tightens during high school it may become a monthly or bimonthly activity.

(3) How long should each daddy-daughter date be? They need to be an hour, minimum. Think of it as an investment. In order to improve a dad and daughter relationship, time needs to be spent on it. Of course, again, as your daughter gets older, the length of the date may have to shorten to accommodate her busy schedule.

(4) What should we do on daddy-daughter dates? Remember, the main purpose behind the activity is to strengthen your relationship with your daughter. When she is young, it may be a trip to the park, or going to get ice cream. As she gets older you can go bowling, mini-golfing, go to a film, teach her how to drive, or even a walk. These don’t need to be extravagant activities. As your daughter becomes familiar with a daddy-daughter dates, she may approach you with ideas of things to do together. Take that as a compliment, and as an opportunity, your daughter wants to grow the relationship as well!

(5) Here are a few rules that you need to keep in mind. Remember, these aren’t dates like you went on to impress your wife and gain her love; these are dates to gain trust and to talk to your daughter. Don’t embarrass your daughter in any way; this will only cause her to lose trust in you. Always have a plan, don’t do last minute daddy-daughter dates. Your daughter will recognize a disorganized plan, especially as she ages. Respect your daughter’s boundaries, if she doesn’t want to go somewhere public with you, like shopping, plan to do something else. Don’t freak out if you miss one date-night; just make sure to do it the next time. I don’t expect perfection, and neither should you.

Most of all grow and develop a relationship with your daughter. You need it just as much as she does.

Do any of you have experiences related to this? 

Also, here are some more daddy-daughter date night ideas

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