Ideas: Do Special “Dad” Things 

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book “CARE Packages for the Home–Dozens of Ways to Regenerate Spirit Where You Live” (Andrews-McMeel, 1998) 


Since the mother in the family is often the primary care giver and spends the most time with the children, it is important for the Dads to do some special things with and for their children. John Drescher in his book If I Were to Start My Family Again tells that a group of 300 seventh and eighth graders kept accurate records on how much time their fathers actually spent with them over a two week period. Most saw their father only at the dinner table. A number never saw their father for days at a time. The average time father and child were alone together for an entire week was seven and one half minutes! How much time are you spending alone with each of your children?


Sylvia Marshall of Aurora, Illinois, tells of a special tradition involving the children’s Dad:

When my children were small, they especially enjoyed Sunday breakfasts, where we would all gather around the kitchen table. The breakfasts were a real treat made special by their Dad. He would create special pancakes for each child, spelling out the first letter of each of their names. Those pancake breakfasts are still remembered today, and our oldest child is now 28 years old! 

Another father schedules specific “date” times once a week with each of his daughters. Often he will pick them up at school and take them out for lunch. On their birthdays he ties a helium balloon on their beds before they wake up, and he takes them out of school one day a year for a special adventure just with him.

One of my friends remembers that his Dad always let each of the children paint the house with him. This made them feel very trusted and grown up, and they were together.

A very special father began a daily diary when his first daughter was born. Every day he writes a few lines in it, and he plans to give it to her on a special day in her life. Another father and daughter once a week write in a memory book–he writes on one page and she writes on the other. This has become a treasured time for them.

One person shared that he remembered how his Dad always his little sister along. That routine trip became their weekly “date” time. He said, “That taught me that it doesn’t matter where you go with a parent; the important thing is having special time alone.”

Derek Hillyer of San Antonio, Texas, always personally drives his children to school each day even though there is a school bus provided. This gives him special and quality time with his teenage sons.

A retired army office started a tradition with his oldest son when he turned 18. On his birthday, he promoted him to “adult” and presented him an award and pinned him with a medal. The ceremony was complete with a reading of orders and certificates. He intends to continue this tradition with his other two sons.


Some Dads will feel more comfortable sharing time in the backyard with their children while others prefer more verbal sharing. Whatever you enjoy, try to find special ways to have time with your children alone. It is an investment that will be invaluable as they get older.

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and

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