I work at least 8 hours a day. Most days more. I always worry if I’m working too much and not spending enough time with my daughter. I’m sure I’d feel this way even if I was working just 4 hours a day!
To keep my fears in-check, I make it a point to spend as much meaningful time as possible with my daughter outside of working hours. To that end, I’ve started devising things we can do together, aside from just hanging out at home (which can also be tons of fun). Here are 11 things we’ve either done or are on our list to do—things any dad can do to bond with his daughter:
- Make dinner: Not only does having another pair of hands help me make dinner faster, it’s a fun experience to share with my daughter. Even if we make a terrible recipe, we still made it together!
- Watch a TV show: My daughter isn’t quite ready to binge Game of Thrones (she’s 5), but there are plenty of shows we can enjoy at different levels. Right now, we’re fans of The Good Place and we’re taking it one episode at a time.
- Dance party: My daughter loves to bust a move! And while I might not have the same passion she does for Taylor Swift, I’ll be darned if there’s not a dance party happening every time she comes on Pandora.
- Build a fort:I was a master fort builder when I was a kid and I’m happy to say, my skills haven’t dropped off one bit with age! I’ve passed along my secrets to my daughter and together, we’ve constructed more than a few monster forts on lazy Sundays.
- Read a book: Reading is a great hobby for you and your daughter. Pick a book you can both enjoy and read together—either aloud or you both individually. Talk about the story and have a conversation about what you’re reading.
- Exercise: It’s never too early to teach your daughter about physical fitness! Do yoga or give her an exercise routine to do alongside you. You’ll get fit together, while instilling good values about exercise in your daughter.
- Go for a walk: My daughter and I take walks all the time. Sometimes we don’t even talk—just take in nature! Most of the time, though, I get to hear about her day and she gets to hear about mine.
- Learn a skill: You’re never too old to learn new tricks and your child is never too young to start! Take up learning a new language, a skill like coding or even a history lesson together. And, don’t feel bad when your kid picks up more than you do, faster!
- Go on a tour: If there’s a museum or historical site in your city, go and explore! A guided tour keeps you both engaged and you’ll walk away with something to talk about afterwards.
- Clean the house: It might not be fun, but cleaning the house is something you can do together. Find ways to make it fun and at the end of the day, you’ll have a clean house you can both appreciate.
- Go on a day trip: Never underestimate the bonding power of a road trip. Even if it’s just for the day, going somewhere fun that’s not the usual hangout will create a quality experience for both you and your daughter.
Tea parties are fun, but you can only have so many before you start talking to the stuffed animals and expecting them to respond. Don’t drive yourself crazy! Broaden your horizons and find things you and your daughter can do together to bond.