In 1972, former President Richard Nixon officially signed Father’s Day into law. Although Father’s Day only comes around once a year, it’s important to show daily appreciation for all the special men who have a positive influence in the raising of our children. In fact, research has shown that the presence of a positive male role model is correlated to successful outcomes for children regarding academics and social-emotional development. These men include uncles, grandfathers, step-fathers, male child care providers, and anyone else who takes on a father figure-like role.
What are some ways young children can show their love and appreciation to these special men? There is an an American proverb that states, “The best things in life are free.” With that proverb as a guide, the first place to kick off Father’s Day gifts are by saying loving, appreciative words and showing affection. Hugs and “I love you’s” are always plentiful and unending when it comes to toddlers and preschoolers.
It is very easy to purchase actual material gifts ahead of time and then easily have a child sign the card. Before doing this, however, ask your children what they would like to do to celebrate the positive role model in their lives? Wait and see the kinds of ideas that unfold. It may be as simple as, “I’m going to share my pancakes with Daddy,” or “I am going to fold Dad 6 paper airplanes.” The goal behind this is that the child will be able to decide how to show appreciation that is meaningful to him/her. Taking the time to watch half of his/her pancake go to someone they love is starting to build empathy, compassion, and appreciation for another. Spending time folding 6 airplanes all by themselves builds concentration, hand-eye coordination, while also increasing a sense of giving to others.
There are many other inexpensive ways to help our children show a token of appreciation to the special men in their lives. Here are just a few suggestions for your child:
- Ask Dad what HE would like to do and develop a plan to make it happen.
- Take a “Daddy-and-me” walk around the block or outing to a special park.
- Volunteer to do some of the chores around the house that Dad typically is responsible for. Of course, the responsibilities would have to be age appropriate. Toddlers can help put items away or bring Daddy his shoes. Preschoolers can help sort Dad’s clothes or set the dinner table.
- Prepare Dad a special snack or help cook his most favorite meal.
- Offer your child paper, crayons, and markers to draw a self portrait of Dad and the child.
- Spend time reading a favorite book together.
- Take your child to the $1 store to pick out a few items for Dad. There is such a variety of items available at $1 stores that it is always a joy to see how children make sense of the items they choose for him.
- Search online for free photo printables. Have your child choose which pictures s/he would like to include on it for Dad.
- Make a Father’s Day coupon box. Write little favors that are age appropriate for your child that Dad can cash in on anytime. Favors might include, “3 Big kisses” or “A trip to the library with Dad” or even “10 minutes extra snuggle time on Saturday morning.”
- Check out Early Learning Hub, Inc. pinterest for many more DIY ideas for Dad. https://www.pinterest.com/HUBINC/
Do you have a favorite Father’s Day gift idea? We would love to hear it! Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I asked a group of moms in Salem what are the ways their children celebrate the special man in their lives and they said,
“Make his favorite dinner, help with yard work,” Kelley W.
“Cleaning out his vehicle,” Heidi S.
“My kids have made their dad a homemade coupon book of chores, favors and nice things they’ll do for him,” Sarah W.