As a work from home mama, I spend way more time with our girls than my husband Brian does. However, I know that it is so important that he builds strong relationships with the girls, including memorable bedtimes, so I have come up with my list of 7 ways to encourage daddy daughter time. Hope my hubby read this!
I am with our girls full time. Brian works crazy long hours and he has a long hour commute each way, 6 days a week. It is tough because this mama doesn't get many breaks. Plus, the girls want me all the time even when daddy IS home - when they need to take a bandaid off, when they need their bums wiped, when they need bathed and even when they puke in the bed. Ugh. Yes, they call for me. Yes, I know it is a gift to be home full-time and I don't take it for granted. Yet, I have learned that the girls need to have their own relationship with their daddy which means that sometimes, I need to leave them alone. I get a break and they get time alone to make their own memories.
One of our biggest challenges is that Brian works 6 days a week so our only day during the week that we have time all together is Sunday so I hate to leave them alone on those days. We love the routine of sleeping in a little without an alarm, making pancakes, going to church and then going to Pittsburgh for some family fun! So, I sat down and thought about some ways that I could encourage Brian and the girls to build their own relationships. My ideas are below. Comment below if you have other ideas. I would love to hear them!
7 ways to encourage daddy daughter time:
- Put time on the calendar - Once a week, I spend a few hours at a local coffee shop. I sometimes work on my blog, read a book for fun or even meet a girlfriend and talk! It is a great way to encourage Brian and the girls to have time alone and it gives me a much needed breather. For us, if it doesn't get on the calendar, it doesn't happen so we try really hard to talk at the beginning of the week and decide what evening works best.
- Bath time - At our house, Brian does bathe time 80% of the time. They have a blast. I hear them listening to Adele on the stereo and asking daddy what he did at work. Plus, it gives me time to myself - even if that time is spent washing dishes but heck, it is quiet! If your hubby can't do bath time, think of something else he could help out with pretty regularly. Brian also helps Madilyn with her homework most nights and helps her practice her reading words while Jules "helps" me load the dishwasher! Routine is key. Once the kids know that daddy is taking the lead on a few things, they expect it, so the "I want mommy to do it!" complaints become less and less. Thank goodness.
- Drive to school - Brian works a ton but I am grateful he can take Madilyn to school a few days a week. He says that he just loves this time alone with her. She asks him all kind of questions and I just love that they have their own conversations and time together. At first, she would say, "I want mommy to take me!" but Brian and I held strong and now she just loves this time with daddy.
- Date nights - I love to encourage date nights with Brian and the girls. They get so excited when he brings them flowers and takes them out to dinner.
- Less commitments outside the home - We don't do many activities during the week for this reason. The girls don't do evening activities during the week because it's really important to me that they see their dad when he gets home at night. I go by the "less is more" philosophy because I can barely handle life when it is simple. Ha!
- Ask your hubby for help with the kids - I am so blessed to be married to a guy that does help out with the house and the kids. I know, blessed to the max. However, sometimes I do get frustrated because he doesn't do certain things with the kids. I have learned to just ask him. I think sometimes he things I want to do it all. Nope! If I ask, he will take the lead.
- Books and prayers - Most of the time, I read the girls their books before bed but Brian helps them pick them out. He almost always leads us in our family prayers at night. We are far from perfect when it comes to faith and religion, but we have made a conscious effort to make prayers a priority every night. Regardless of faith and beliefs, kids love routine and saying thanks is always a good thing! They love to read lots of books before bed. Sometimes, we even read 10!
Encouraging your hubby and your daughter to have their own relationship is so very important. Our hope is that when our girls get older, they remember how well their daddy treated them and never settle for anything less from a partner.
Now, schedule some time for yourself and leave the kiddos with your hubby. He will survive. In fact, they will have a blast!
(This post contains affiliate links to products that I love!)
Below are 10 of my favorite daddy daughter items for more ideas and inspiration:
Daddy Hugs book - This book is a great addition to your nightly routine - especially when daddy is reading story time! We have even done story time over FaceTime with daddy when he works late. Gotta do what you gotta do.
88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates - This book has amazing ideas if you are stuck. At the end of the day, all that matters is that they spend time together but it's always fun to have new ideas which leads to great memories. This would be a great gift idea for your hubby.
Willow Tree Father and Daughter - I don't collect many items but I do have a few of these Willow Tree figurines and I love them. They are neutral so they go with any decor in your home. Plus, they are a great reminder of what is important in life. I love this father daughter one. Going to order for Brian. Shhh, don't tell!
Be the Dad She Needs You to Be book - Even amazing dads will benefit from reading this book. It is full of lots of great ideas and it is an easy read. This author gives great suggestions on how to make the father-daughter relationship even better, because it is so important now and longterm. A great read!
"The Highly Sensitive Child" book - When I attended IIN to become a Health Coach back in 2009, we studied the book, "The Highly Sensitive Person" by Elaine Aron. So excited to find this book as it pertains to kids. I think she is a must read for dad's who have daughters. My girls are both highly sensitive (they get that from their mama!) and I love when I see Brian being sensitive with them. He struggles with this because he sees situations much differently than they do. However, when he is patient and sensitive with them, real magic happens.
The Dad Book - I just love this book and all the ideas in it. My favorite parts include ideas on how dad's can show their kids how to do things instead of just telling them. This book is also funny so if your hubby is like mine, and really doesn't love to read, this book is perfect. Heck, it could even be a bathroom book. Swap this book in instead of all the magazines. Ha!
A Dad's Guide to Praying for His Kids book - Life is so busy so I love this book because it is a great reminder of what is important. I love when Brian takes the lead with our family prayers at night. This book gives great ideas in doing this as well as praying for them regularly every day. A great book if you would love your hubby to focus more on faith and prayer.
My Quotable Kid: A Parent's Journal - I so wish I knew this journal was out there when Brian first started driving Madilyn to school. He would come home and try to remember all the funny things Madilyn said in the car. I may have to order him one of these anyway so we can keep capturing their funny quotes! This is a great journal to keep in the car, dads. When you park, jot down the funny questions your kids ask. Great keepsake!
Father Daughter Keychains - Madilyn is on this kick of adding keychains to her book bag and I know she would love this one from her daddy! I am going to encourage him to get this for her and give to her on one of their date nights.
Father to Daughter book - This book even addresses this topic with dads - preparing for when you are not the most important man in her life. Oh wow, bring on the tears.
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