It’s August and we’re halfway through 2017. That can only mean one thing: School’s about to start in a few weeks, and mom and dad are running around trying to fill the rest of the family summer vacation calendar with enough activities to keep kids busy for the next 30 days. Most parents take this time to enroll their kids into additional camps ranging from your standard day camp that offer a variety of activities, to specialty camps for science and dance that tend to have more concentrated focus. Family vacations usually get squeezed in somewhere in between along with the regularly scheduled piano lessons and soccer practice.
There will always be pockets of time in between all the madness that mostly get wasted in front of the television or computer screen. The dog days of summer creep up on families at the most unlikely and unwanted time. Fathers can help fill that free space by creating unique opportunities to bond with their kids. Although most men don’t get the entire summer off to spend with their kids, with the the right attitude and information on how to use it wisely, the time they do get can end up being extremely valuable.
BUILD SOMETHING WITH THEM
There’s no better way to bond with your son or daughter than to build something with them. Not just anything. It has to be from scratch! These days old ideas have become new and trendy again. Try building a retro dollhouse for your kids who may not even know what one looks like. Or a soapbox racer for the little driver in the family. Truth is you may not even know how to build either of those things, but that’s half the fun. Building a themed website or self publishing a book can be other fun ideas to work on for older kids. It’s really just about having fun making mistakes and eventually achieving success together in what you’ve built.
Bringing you son or daughter into an environment that encourages creative thought expands their imaginative mind
VISIT A LOCAL GALLERY
Visiting museums and art galleries may or may not be your forte. Whether it is or isn’t, taking your child to a local museum allows for unique teaching opportunities that otherwise would be difficult in our social media and Netflix culture. Bringing you son or daughter into an environment that encourages creative thought expands their imaginative mind and lets them view the world from another point of view. There are also always a lot of cool things to do and see in museums and galleries that you can’t find anywhere else.
HAVE THE ‘BIRDS AND THE BEES’ TALK (IF AGE APPROPRIATE)
As a father there’s probably no conversation you’ll have with your son or daughter more important than the one about the ‘birds and bees’. While it’s debatable what the right age is to initiate the conversation with your kids, at some point it will need to happen. Why not summertime? If their mother and you agree it’s the right age, it just may be the perfect time to bring up the heavy topic without the pressure of school work to think about and the distraction of schoolyard friends. It’s a good idea to spread out ‘the talk’ over several days and make sure you prepare beforehand on what you’ll talk about and how to approach it.
GO INTO THEIR WORLD
Besides everything you try and do with your kids this summer, remember to enter “their world” now and then. Get to know what they enjoy doing and spend time doing it with them, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Warning: you may end up wearing a flowery hat sitting on a tiny chair sipping imaginary tea or “break your ankles” playing a game of one-on-one basketball. But the time spent will be priceless. By showing interest in what they love to do, kids end up feeling valued by their fathers.
It’s been said many times before, but it’s worth saying again. It doesn’t have to take a lot of money to enjoy real quality time with your kids. All it takes is a lot of creativity and thoughtfulness. These are just a few ideas and there are hundreds more you can do. In the end it’s all about letting your kids know they’re loved and appreciated by their father. Spending quality, creative time with them goes a long way in accomplishing that.