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.
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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:
Support International Youth Day by getting in on playtime with the brood
The question comes up every Father’s Day: “Dad, when is Kid Day?”
The reply? That’s easy: “Every day is Kid Day!”
Technically, however, that response isn’t accurate. There really IS a Kid Day! Since 1999, the United Nations has designated Aug. 12 as International Youth Day. But that’s not the point, is it? The point is that children play all day while the grown-ups work hard to pay the bills!
Case closed? Not quite. Active play time, it turns out, is vitally important to the health and wellbeing of our children. According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, physical inactivity and obesity are growing problems in Canada, with as many as 26 per cent of children and youth being overweight and obese. These kids face a higher risk of chronic disease, and may not grow up to be as healthy as they could be.
International Youth Day is also sounding the alarm, with this year’s theme being “Safe Spaces for Youth.” Leisure activities, the UN points out, are “essential to the psychological, cognitive (this is stuff like: construction of thought processes, problem solving and decision making) and physical development of young people.”
Every dad wants the best for his children, and there’s plenty dads can do to promote active play.
Structured vs. unstructured play
In general there are two types of play: Structured, which helps kids learn fundamental movement skills through adult instruction; and unstructured, which is spontaneously directed by children themselves. Balancing both types is important, so what’s a dad to do?
Get in on the structured-play action!
Signing the kids up for soccer camps, gymnastics classes and other types of structured play will do the trick, but the costs can add up in a hurry. So why not take the lead yourself? From pick-up road hockey and lake swimming to family hikes and bike rides, there are plenty of free ways to get active with the brood. It’ll do them — and you — some good!
Pick your spots for unstructured play
Many of the best places for structured play — parks, sandy beaches and nature trails — are also ideal for letting the kids do their thing without you. So sit back and relax as they clamber over rocks, climb trees and wear themselves out playing tag.
Great job dad, you’ve earned a break, after all, by helping to make yet another “Kid Day” active and healthy!