Your daughter probably already has you wrapped around her finger, but bonding activities help you foster this important relationship during her toddler and preschool years. As a father, it might be hard to get into girly things, but a positive father-daughter relationship plays a role in your little girl's success in school, future romantic relationships, self-esteem and confidence. You don't have to go all out either. Simple and inexpensive activities are often the most fun for both of you.
Provided your daughter isn't going through a picky eating phase, sitting together and sharing a snack or treat allows you the opportunity to talk. You probably won't be having any earth-shattering conversations at this age, but knowing you'll listen sets that stage for later years when she'll need you for talking through important things in her life. Have an ice cream sundae, a tea party or just eat lunch together. Sitting together lets your daughter open up to you and allows you the chance to share stories from your own life. Tell jokes, have a silly-face contest or ask questions about her day.
2. Build a Fort
What toddler or preschooler would turn down a fort? Dads are good at building forts, and creating one as a shared activity creates a sense of togetherness and bonding. You might find yourself in a princess fort playing stuffed animal doctor, but having a fort gives you and your daughter a secret place where you can go to play and have fun together. Your daughter is also likely to get excited that you are willing to sit down and play girl stuff with her. Building a fort also gives you the chance to share your knowledge of fort building techniques from your own childhood.
3. Read Books
You might not relish the thought of slogging your way through the latest fairy book series, but reading these books with your daughter lets you into her world. And reading with her is beneficial to her future school years as well. Choose simple and quick books to hold her interest and prevent you from zoning out. Most little girls love plays and dress-up, so carry the book into real life by acting out her favorite scenes. You probably don't want your neighbors seeing you in fairy wings, but you'll endear yourself to your daughter for a lifetime.
4. Go on a Date
You probably have a hard time carving out date night with your spouse, but you know what the benefits are for your marriage. Arranging a date with your daughter might not be any easier, but your relationship is impacted in a positive way when you do. Your daughter has fun but also knows that you enjoy spending time with her. Plan lunch and an afternoon movie. The ballet, a local theater, a paint your own pottery studio or a stuffed animal building store are other dates your daughter won't soon forget.
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images