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.

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.

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!

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.


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

The Robert and Viktoria Little Foundation logo
British Columbia government logo
This Father’s Day, Give Dad the Two Greatest Gifts of All: Health and Happiness!

This Father’s Day, Give Dad the Two Greatest Gifts of All: Health and Happiness!

“I have fond memories of growing up on the skating rink that my Dad made for us in our backyard.”

NHL All-Star P.K. Subban

P.K.’s father, Karl Subban, was born and raised in Jamaica. How many backyard rinks are there in Jamaica? You guessed it: Zero! Not only did Karl immigrate to Canada to start a new life, he also dedicated himself to learning skills that would help send THREE of his sons to the National Hockey League. Wow!

“Family is so important. If I can’t be part of their lives because of my health condition, that was one of the things I had to work through.”

Karl Subban

Like so many dads across Canada, Karl inspires us all with his dedication to others. This Father’s Day, however, Karl’s own healthy efforts to control his type 2 diabetes are inspiring other guys to take care of themselves, as well as the people they love, one easy step at a time. What kind of small healthy steps can you take? You’ve come to the right place to get started!

As Karl says in this awesome new video, “family is so important. If I can’t be part of their lives because of my health condition, that was one of the things I had to work through.”

So as well as looking after yourself this Father’s Day, encourage your own Dad to look after himself, too! It’s as easy as doing something healthy together. For instance:

Take a stroll

One of the best things about Father’s Day is that it takes place in June, when the snow has melted, the sun is (hopefully) shining, and spring is in full swing. What better time, then, to take a walk with pops in a nearby park or nature preserve? Plus, there’s more to walking than enjoying time together: Doing it briskly for 30 minutes burns around 250 calories, with guys who do it regularly lowering their risk of heart attack by 25 percent. Nothing says “I love you Dad” quite like that…

Tidy up the yard

If Dad is a “getting things done” kind of guy, helping him whip the yard into shape can help improve the shape both of you are in. Climbing ladders to clean eavestroughs, for instance, burns around 320 calories an hour, and moving the ladder more often than usual will boost that number significantly. Shovelling soil burns more than 400 calories an hour, and if you lift the load to chest height and hold it for 10 seconds it works all your major muscle groups: legs, core, back, shoulders and arms. Then there’s the lawn: Pushing a gas-powered mower burns 300-plus calories per hour, with a manual mower adding nearly 200 calories to that figure. You do the back yard, and Dad can do the front. Just don’t miss a spot, because he’s sure to notice!

Make Father’s Day lunch together

Does Dad know that guys are deemed sexiest by their significant others when they’re whipping up meals? If he does, he may go on to tell you that’s how you were conceived! If he doesn’t know this very fun fact, what better way to get him into the kitchen? Seriously though, there are plenty of satisfying, easy-to-prepare lunch dishes that are bound to impress friends and family joining in the Father’s Day festivities.

Does Mexican food get your mouth watering? Check out these 6 Amazing and Healthy Mexican Recipes.

If you and Dad like getting together to cheer on your team, these 7 Easy and Healthy Game Day Recipes are all slam-dunks!

Last but not least, if some quality time around the barbecue sounds about right, check out the “Awesome Halibut Burger” in the free 7 EZ Power Up Recipes ebook.

Do you have an easy health tip you’d like to share? Help out other guys by sharing it in the comments below.

This article was originally published on June 12, 2019.

8 delicious recipes for a healthier game day

Want to make a full spread of crowd-pleasing game day food? Get the free handy booklet.

Download “8 Delicious Recipes for a Healthier Game Day” ebook right now.

Tips from a retired CFLer on how to fit in exercise when life gets in the way

Tips from a retired CFLer on how to fit in exercise when life gets in the way

CFL alumnus Joe Sardo shares a family man’s trick to keeping active

For some professional athletes, saying goodbye to the game can lead to a sense of loss of self-esteem and identity, as well as the close-knit camaraderie that unites team members.

Leaving the Toronto Argonauts in 1995, after four years as a pro linebacker, was tough, admits Joe Sardo of Hamilton, Ont. “The people and the relationships, the locker room, the coaches, the guys — you miss that,” says Sardo, who today is Vice-President and Portfolio Manager with RBC Dominion Securities. Another thing Sardo misses is the level of fitness that the game requires. Still, he says, becoming “an investment advisor was a good move for my family.”

Finding time as a dad is challenging

You’d think that staying fit would be a breeze for Sardo following years as an elite athlete: a football scholarship to the University of Hawaii, followed by a four-year career that included the Ottawa Rough Riders. It wasn’t. For Sardo, life’s demands took over, as they do for many Canadian men. Sardo’s wife, Arlene, who he first met in Hawaii, had two sets of twins — three boys and a girl — within three years. Months of sleepless nights, then chaos as the babies grew into rowdy toddlers, and “we both got a little bit heavier than we would have liked. Physical fitness took a back seat.”

Exercise is important for your mental health

“The biggest thing I learned is that you need to schedule,” says Sardo, whose dad, Joe Sr., played for the Argos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the late 1950s and at 80 is still physically active.

The importance of exercise for mental health should not be overlooked. Fitness, says Sardo, should be approached the same way as your finances, the golden rule being “pay yourself first as a way of saving. Take that same approach and put it into a physical and mental health perspective. Whether you’re an athlete, a businessman or a stay-at-home mom, you need to build fitness into your day.”

Being active also doesn’t have to mean logging hour-long Crossfit sessions. A workout can be 20 minutes, half an hour, or even 45 minutes of just walking, says Sardo, a volunteer linebacker coach with the University of Guelph Gryphons. What’s important is “getting off the couch.”

“What’s important is just “getting off the couch.”

Joe Sardo, CFL alumnus

This is often easier said than done. It requires discipline, or what Sardo calls “good mental health. To exercise, you have to be mentally strong.” If the sofa beckons, nurture mental toughness by becoming involved with community and bonding with family — “thinking about other people and how your decisions affect them.”

Don’t forget this amazing tip

Being mentally strong and having discipline doesn’t mean turning into a drill sergeant, for yourself or the family, Sardo adds. “Decompression” — the ability to have fun and embrace “cheat days” — is all part of maintaining good mental health and long-term physical fitness. “A couple times a month we’ll make a run for some junk food and have a couple bags of chips and some popcorn with a movie,” Sardo says of his active family. “I define it as our decompression time.”

How does your family like to get active? Trips to the park? Epic games of tag? Share the fun in the comments below!

This article was originally published on October 10, 2017.

Photo credit: Lisa & Karen of Twintage Photography

In partnership with the Canadian Football League Alumni Association

Canadian Football League Alumni Association

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.

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.

Pin It on Pinterest