- Go on a walk with your child, and collect leaves or other objects that reflect the changing seasons.
- Create habits that help you connect with your wife and kids, such as phone calls from work or special “daddy” time when you walk through the doorway at the end of the day.
- Post pictures of your children where you’ll see them on the way home from work (on your car dashboard, for example). As you look at the pictures, tell yourself, “The next few hours are the most important in my entire day.”
- Tell your child a funny story, using voices, motions, facial expressions and sound effects to make it come alive.
- What causes laughter and silliness in your daughter? What brings that mischievous grin to your son’s face? Find out, and then capitalize on it for the benefit of your relationship.
- Get on your child’s level — squatting, kneeling or lying on the floor — when talking to or playing with him or her.
- Carve out a few hours when you can give your child focused attention, doing nothing other than getting to know him or her better.
- Read a book with your child, asking lots of questions as you go.
- Be the one to jump up and help when your child has a need. Those are priceless opportunities — and Mom probably could use a break!
- Clear some time this weekend, and ask your child, “What would you like to do together?”
- At your child’s sports events, make it your goal to be conspicuously and contagiously positive. Set the tone with lots of encouragement and fun.
- Regularly walk or drive your child to or from school.
- Bring home a funny joke or stunt that you can enjoy with your children.
- Ask what skill your child would like to learn in the next year, then commit yourself to help him or her in that area.
- Go for a drive with your child, just to get away and spend time together.
- Do something special for milestones in your child’s life, such as his or her 10th birthday.
- Be involved in your child’s education — including helping with homework, practicing for sports or other activities, and attending school meetings and events.
- Volunteer for a day or half day at your child’s school.
- Start regular daddy-daughter dates or one-on-one outings with your son.
- Commit to a vigorous outdoor activity over the weekend with your kids. Push the limits, and be creative.
- Listen to music that your child enjoys — keeping an open mind.
- Keep “dating” your daughter and scheduling fun activities with your son on a regular basis.
- Figure out how to have fun with your teen by immersing yourself in his world for an afternoon. Hang out together, read a book she likes, play his games, listen to her stories.
- Connect with other adults who play an important role in your child’s life — coaches, teachers, youth leaders — and compare notes on how your child is progressing.
- Shock your son or daughter by doing something together on his or her “turf” — skateboarding, playing hoops at the park, going to the mall.
- Plan special rite-of-passage events when your child reaches milestone ages like 13, 16 and 18.
- Tell your child you’ll pay if he goes to a movie with you. Afterward, ask questions about the film’s themes.