Father’s Day gifts are awesome no matter what. Even if your kids bring you burnt toast and eggshell-filled omelettes, your day is still made because it’s the thought that counts. In cases like these, the thoughts revolve around the importance of family. They show their love and appreciation for none other than you, a.k.a. Dad.
What can you do for your family in return? Ultimately, the best gift you can give them is the gift of time. Spending time with your kids is great because it’s natural, free and fun — as these easy ideas show:
Do you have a driveway or live in a cul-de-sac? Is there a schoolyard or park nearby? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re a few hockey sticks and a tennis ball away from hosting your own Stanley Cup Finals. Teaching your kids new skills and watching them improve is incredibly rewarding, and is one of the easiest ways to connect with your child. Plus, you never know, you might end up with the next Sydney Crosby or Hayley Wickenheiser.
Whether you’ve bolted a net to your garage or there’s a court in a nearby park, a game of 21 with your son or daughter lets everyone channel their inner Raptor.
A Quick Game of Tag
No child under the age of 12 can resist joining in when you simply tag them and holler, “You’re it!” You better run fast, though, those kids can move!
Google “charades clues” on your computer or smartphone, and you’ll get dozens of lists you can use to stage a spirited game. If your teen claims charades are “lame,” get the ball rolling yourself. If they guess correctly, they’ll get into it. If not, at least you’ve shown them that dad can loosen up.
Walk it off
Okay, we know we said time was the greatest gift of all, but that doesn’t mean your family won’t appreciate a frozen yogurt or ice cream after some active Father’s Day fun. Walk with them, talk with them, and who knows? Maybe they will teach you a thing or two!
What’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve ever received or given? Share your faves in the comments below!
This article was originally published on February 17, 2017.
Whether it appears on a coffee mug, T-shirt or oversized belt buckle, the phrase “World’s Greatest Dad” gets plenty of use on Father’s Day. Having guided their families through the COVID-19 crisis, dads across Canada deserve extra props this year!
If you’re wondering how so many dads can be ranked No. 1, here’s the deal: to their own kids, every single one of them really IS the greatest! Of course, there’s always room for improvement in the father-child relationship, and that’s where our good friends and collaborators over at The Men’s Initiative (TMI) come in. As fathers themselves, the organization’s three founders offer these 10 great tips for being a better “World’s Greatest Dad.”
Dr. John Izzo: Quality time meets hugs
As a “founding father” of the Vancouver-based TMI, Dr. John Izzo is all about bringing people together to improve guys’ lives. As a dad himself, John knows plenty about the power of a child’s love, and offers these tips on helping this love grow and thrive:
“Spend a few one-on-one minutes each day with each of your children. Be 100 percent focused. Ask them how they are doing and how their day was.”
“Ask them to tell you one way they would like you to be an even better dad. Listen deeply and don’t defend. Then act on their feedback.”
“When one of your children hugs you, no matter how old they are, don’t let go until they do. You might be surprised how much longer they want your hug!”
There are so many benefits of spending time with your child: Building their self-esteem, strengthening family bonds, developing good behaviour, encouraging communication, improving their school work, and forming positive relationships with others. The list goes on and on. And let’s not forget having a ton of fun!
Dr. Duncan Shields: Curiosity meets self-esteem
“Find things that your kids are doing right, and compliment them on that. Kids will grow in the direction of your pride.”
“Be the father you wish you’d had. When your kids remember being stuck at home during the COVID-19 crisis or look back on their early life, what stories will they tell about their time with you?”
“Give your kids the gift of your quality attention. Don’t just tell them what to do or how to behave. Listening to them and being curious about how they think teaches them they’re worth listening to. Your children are your footprints in the future, and your job is to set them up to go further than you have been able to go.”
Tommy Europe’s top tips for mixing food prep, family time, and fitness
As an all-star defensive back in the CFL, Tommy Europe’s job was to keep up with some of the league’s fastest receivers. Now, more than 15 years after playing his final pro game, Tommy faces a new challenge: Keeping up with his wife and two young daughters! When the family visits the local park, he says, people ask, “How do you get your kids to jog like that?” Tommy’s reply: “They’re not jogging, they’re playing tag!”
Setting aside time to get active isn’t the only way Tommy helps his loved ones lead healthier lives. If you’re wondering how to keep your family healthy, here are three of his key tips:
Make time to get active
Kids being kids, Tommy says his two young daughters aren’t always enthusiastic about the family’s regular weekend walks, hikes and bike rides. “But at the end of the day, when I ask them, ‘Aren’t you glad we did that?’ the answer is always ‘yes.’ It’s our routine, and it makes all of us healthier and stronger.”
It’s true: From pick-up road hockey out front of your home to “Dad vs. The World” basketball at a local community court, getting active with the brood doesn’t have to cost a single cent. “There are lots of different ways to get your family active,” Tommy adds. “And the best part? They’re all lots of fun!”
Show them the way
Of course, families don’t have to be together to get active. When it comes to his daughters, Tommy says, getting them moving can be as simple as opening the front door. “Just let your kids go outside and play! Sometimes they don’t need things to be all that structured.”
Those quiet neighbourhood streets and local parks are also ideal for letting the kids do their thing without you. They’ll clamber over rocks and climb trees while you rest up for the next big game of tag.
At the same time, Tommy says, nothing is stopping you from being the one who ducks out the door for some healthy time in the great outdoors. “When the kids ask where you’re going, saying ‘for a walk’ or ‘for some fresh air’ sets a great example.”
Keep the veggies coming
“From the beginning, we’ve served our kids plenty of veggies,” Tommy says. “Peppers, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, the whole gamut. It’s something we incorporated early and often. People ask, ‘How do you get your kids to eat vegetables? And I say: ‘Well, first of all, they can’t cook!’ We never gave them a choice, so they grew up loving vegetables.”
After all, what kid wouldn’t want to eat their veggies when these quick and easy recipes make them taste so delicious? Here’s how to cook healthy family meals:
If there were a Nobel Prize for camping, it would have to go to the genius who came up with the “instant tent.”
These unfolding beauties are available in a range of sizes and prices from most department stores or outlets that sell outdoor gear. Pitch one in your backyard, and you and your kids can camp out under the stars with next to zero packing, unpacking, and with all the comforts of home just steps away.
Imagine sharing scary stories while roasting marshmallows on the barbecue and eating s’mores huddled around the warm glow from a lantern. And if you’re eating marshmallows, remember that moderation is key. As a dad, these are the priceless moments you’re going to cherish and that your kids will remember forever. The best part is that instant camping also leads to a number of health benefits:
1. Being social
Studies show that strong family bonds and other social connections improve your mental wellbeing and can help guys live longer. Plus, you can’t tell ghost stories to yourself, right?
Sure, your instant tent may get Wi-Fi, but that doesn’t mean you have to connect. Shrug off stresses that can negatively affect your mindset and make your backyard campsite a phone-free zone. It’ll be that much easier to enjoy the moment!
3. Better sleep
Sleeping and waking according to the sun’s natural cycle has been shown to improve overall sleep quality. Rise and shine!
4. Trying new things
Setting up your instant campsite may not offer much of a physical workout, but it delivers plenty of brain-boosting value. Studies show that new experiences like this help keep guys’ brains healthy and sharp.
5. Getting some sun
Spending time in the summer sunshine provides a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is important for keeping your bones strong and your immune system purring. Just make sure everyone uses sunscreen.
Do you have any camping tips you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below!
Maybe “Stress-tober” would be a better name for October. In a minute, our tips are going to give you a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, the lazy days of summer are now becoming a distant memory and the back-to-business vibe is in full swing.
Kids are back at school, which is a mixed blessing: On one hand, they are out of our hair during the day. On the other, a more rigid and active weekday routine has taken hold along with a new round of expenses. The temperature is dropping, the leaves are falling, the eavestrough needs cleaning, and your to-do list keeps on growing!
So the last thing you need is a long, complicated list about fighting stress, right? That’s why there are just two tips listed below: One to start your day, and another to end it.
1. Make breakfast count Breakfast is often touted as the most important meal of the day, as it provides energy and nutrients that put our minds and bodies on the right track.
Easy breakfast tip: Luckily, it couldn’t be easier to assemble a quick, healthy breakfast. Pick two or three foods that include the foods listed here, and you’re off to the races!
Grain (such as cereal, whole-wheat toast, or a granola bar)
Dairy product (milk on your cereal, yogurt)
Fruit or vegetable (such as an apple, banana or orange)
Make sure you have what you need the night before, and it won’t affect the morning rush one bit.
2. Wrap your day up right Likewise, diet plays a key role in getting you the sleep you need to be at your best the next day and keep your stress at bay. That means you should avoid caffeine in the evenings and limit your food and liquid intake for at least a couple hours before bed (to avoid those 3 a.m. bathroom breaks that disrupt your sleep.
Better sleep tips: When and what you eat and drink are a big part of good “sleep habits,” but there’s more:
Reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex. Banish the TV, tablet and laptop.
Keep your sleeping quarters clean as this will make snoozing (and sex!) more appealing.