Repay all that Father’s Day love by giving your family the gift of time

Repay all that Father’s Day love by giving your family the gift of time

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:

Little boy playing road hockey

Road hockey

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.

Shooting hoops

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.

Grandfather, father, and son playing basketball

A Quick Game of Tag

Father and daughter running on the grassy field

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!

Charades

Brother and sisters playing a game of charades

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

Father carrying his son on his shoulders with sunset behind them

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.

The ‘World’s Easiest Tips’ for taking your ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ title to the next level

The ‘World’s Easiest Tips’ for taking your ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ title to the next level

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.”

On that note, check out these new studies showing that many Canadian dads feel closer to their kids during the pandemic, and want that closeness to continue. How awesome is THAT?

Dr. David Kuhl: Pride meets fun

  • “Spend time reading with your kids. If you don’t enjoy reading, tell them stories or use the pictures in books to have a conversation with them.”
  • “Tell your kids that you love them, that you’re proud of them, and that you would not want to live your life without them in it.”
  • “Hug your kids even before they hug you.”
  • “Once or twice a week, invite them to spend half an hour with you doing whatever they want to do.”

If they use that time to make you a “World’s Greatest Dad” gift, you’ll have earned the title all the more. “World’s Greatest-est Dad” may sound unusual, but it does have a nice ring to it.

Help other dads out. What makes you feel like the “World’s Greatest Dad”? Rock star pancakes on the weekend? The way you sing their favourite song? Share the fun in the comments below!


This article is made possible by the support of generous sponsors.

The Robert and Viktoria Little Foundation logo
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3 Hacks for Building a Healthy Family Life

3 Hacks for Building a Healthy Family Life

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:

  1. 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!”

    Tommy Europe and family going for a walk outdoors

  2. 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.”

    Tommy Europe and family going for a walk for some fresh air

  3. 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:

How do you get your kids to eat vegetables? Share your tips in the comments below.

This article was originally published on April 26, 2019.

Photography by: Ken Cheng

How can you make those memories if you aren’t staying healthy and at the top of your game? We’ve got your back!

Download the free “Dad’s Guide to Being Awesome” ebook right now.

5 Health Benefits of “Instant Camping”

5 Health Benefits of “Instant Camping”

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:

2016-7-29_camp_inset

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?

2. Unplugging

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!

 

References:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/04/socializing-appears-to-delay-memory-problems/?_r=0

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/05/05/309006780/learning-a-new-skill-works-best-to-keep-your-brain-sharp

2 Easy Stress-Busters For The Family Man

2 Easy Stress-Busters For The Family Man

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.

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