7 Tips to Help Dad’s Thrive During Corona!
- Think Backwards: At the end of your life, if there was one thing your daughter had to say about you, what would want it to be? AT THE END OF THIS PANDEMIC, WHAT IS THE STORY I WANT TO TELL ABOUT HOW I WENT THROUGH IT? Then say, “Don’t just say, ‘that she knew I loved her.’ Extend that further by clarifying HOW she will know you loved her…maybe it’s by telling her every day of her life that you loved her, etc.Then ask your kids to answer it too: AT THE END OF THIS PANDEMIC, WHAT IS THE STORY I WANT TO TELL ABOUT HOW I WENT THROUGH IT?
Having a goal in mind that directs and guides your focus each day will help you weather this storm more purposefully. You could even invite your kids to do some kind of art project with their word or words….making a poster or something drawing of their words to hang up in your house as a daily reminder of HOW they want to go through this crisis.
- Ask your daughter what she needs from you right now.
She may need you to listen, play a game, tell jokes, or do a project with her. She may want you to join her for a movie marathon or stay up all night and play Monopoly or Risk. Maybe she’s wanted to remodel her bedroom, but before now there didn’t seem to be time to do it. Join her in what matters to her while making her world safer and happier by asking what she needs each day from you since your presence will stabilize her more than you may realize.
- Gather around the table as a family to talk about what each of you is thinking and feeling.
Sadly, for many, mealtimes around the dinner table are a thing of the past. What if this season became a time where family meals were brought back into your home to increase conversation and connection. But make sure ground rules are set in place first: no criticizing or teasing. Then each one will share what they’re thinking about and feeling, followed with what they’re afraid of right now [the unknown, school or schedule changes, sickness or death, etc.
- Reflect on ways that you and your daughter connected when she was younger and bring one tradition back this week. Think of this as walking down memory lane. You can do this by talking and remembering…or you could get out photo albums to spark your recall. Then bring back one of the things that the two of you used to do when she was younger. My dad and I used to watch Saturday morning cartoons while lying on the living room floor and eating fun breakfast cereal. I would absolutely love it if my dad re-created that memory now and I guarantee your daughter will feel the same with you!
- No matter her age, initiate or renew a practice of checking in with her before bedtime, ending the day with giving loving and affirming words.
Studies show that the last thing we talk about, think about, and hear before we go to sleep is often correlated to our dreams and unconscious thoughts during the night. During this break from your normal routine, where you and your daughter are closer together under the same roof, use this time to connect at the end of each day while speaking words of life to calm and ground her in your love.
- Join your daughter in the kitchen to bake or cook something for yourselves and/or the family. With restaurants closing, we’re all being forced to get creative at home with our food choices and meal prep. And like Plato said, “necessity is the mother of invention,” which for now means we’re going to have to figure things out in our own kitchens or we’re going to starve! So why not join your daughter and whip up a meal or a dessert for yourselves or the fam. Get ready for laughter and a great photo op during the process! Then post your pictures on social media with the hashtag: #daddaughterselfie.
- Every day this week read a Psalm out loud to your daughter….and son. I’ve discovered that sometimes dads don’t know what to do to be a spiritual leader. I’m here to say that just doing one thing will make a significant impact. So right now with everything feeling turned upside down and backwards, what better time to lead your daughter to look up to God.
Dr. Michelle Watson is a national speaker, author, professional counselor of 23 years,
and founder of The Abba Project, a nine-month group forum for dads whose
daughters are in their teens and 20’s. She writes guest articles regularly for journals
and magazines (online and print), as well as her own bi-monthly Dad-Daughter Friday
blog, and has been interviewed on numerous radio programs and television
programs. Her first book is titled, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need From You: A
Guide for Connecting With Your Daughter’s Heart (which is also available in her
voice on Audible), and she has also written contributing chapters in Fathers Say and
How to Disciple Men. Dr. Michelle hosts a weekly radio program in her hometown of
Portland, Oregon called The Dad Whisperer, which is also available on her website
and as a podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play.
Dr. Michelle’s second book, another field guide for dads of daughters, titled Let’s
Talk: Conversation Starters for Dads and Daugthers, will be released in August of 2020
She also co-chairs the Father-Daughter division of the National Center for Fathering
with Dr. Ken Canfield and will be a key leader in the Father-Daughter Summits
that are slated to re-launch in 2020.
Listen to latest The Dad Whisperer Podcast on iTunes