Every good dad I know intentionally spends time with his kids. Most dads also think about how to spend good one-on-one time with each kid. But many dads I know want to do daddy dates more often, with more intentionality. They need a plan.
Here’s the plan that I’ve been using with my two daughters: We do something special every month on the day of their birthday.
Abby’s birthday is July 11 and Caitlin’s is October 25. So on the 11th of each month I do something special with Abby and on the 25th of each month I do something special with Caitlin.
“Something special” doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be intentional. Sometimes I make the plans and sometimes I let them pick. We’ve gone to FlipSide to play $5 worth of arcade games, we’ve gone to a park for a homemade picnic, we’ve gone to the movies. Today (the 25th), Caitlin and I will go to breakfast — she’s hoping it’s McDonalds.
This plan has a few advantages:
1. It’s scheduled automatically. Instead of having to think about when to do a date, I can just think about what we’ll do.
2. The regularity gives the girls (and me) something to look forward to. They know their day is coming and they begin to build anticipation even a week or two in advance.
3. It’s a sustainable tradition. It might be great to do a date more often, but this is something could last as long as they’re in my home (my hope).
Now, I know that this plan may not be as helpful for people with lots more kids, especially if their birth “days” all line up in the same week. We’re expecting our third child this summer, due on Abby’s birthday, so I’ll get a chance to see how it goes.
The point really is this: Have a plan. It may not need to be this one. Perhaps you can think of something better. But have a plan.
Your kids — and your long term relationship with them — are worth it.