Friday, November 21, 2008

How Do I Connect?

I got an email yesterday from the dad of 4 year old and 19 month old daughters who describes his marriage as “wonderful.” He asked: “How can I reach out to connect with my kids more at their age? Most of the info I read seems to be for older girls.”

Here are the 3 things I suggested that he try:

1) Join up with the free Yahoo group "DadTalk" and ask is question there. DadTalk has been around for 9 years and has a cadre of good dads and stepdads of daughters (with kids of all ages) with good suggestions based on their experience.

2) Get my book The Dads & Daughters Togetherness Guide: 54 Fun Activities to Help Build a Great Relationship. The title is self-explanatory, and the activities are divided by age of the girl.

3) If you’re giving your daughters as much time and attention as possible, then don’t worry overly about your connection. Time and presence build the connection, IMHO. The time and attention can come while changing diapers, making dinner and other mundane tasks--it doesn’t all have to come in big, "special" activities. I've come to believe that our kids and us really get to know each other in the mundane, ordinary activities of long as we are THERE during those mundane, ordinary activities. So, make sure you're showing up.

I hope these suggestions were helpful to him—and you, too. Share your ideas for dad-daughter connection in a comment below.


Chuck said...

Those seem like sound suggestions to me. The point you make about being THERE is the most important. I'm the father of three girls, soon to be four in a couple of short weeks.

Let them see the soft side. Play the role of John Smith as they pretend to be Pocahontas. Enter their world.

kcsphil said...

All that said, be forewarned that what worked when they are 5 doesn't necessarily work when they are 12. My older daughter (who is at that specific age) and I are now trying to renegotiate our communication and relationship. I'm not sure how it will go, but we're both trying.