If you’re like many families, you didn’t feel safe enough to celebrate your parents last year. Since men are more likely to suffer depression and anxiety in silence, it left many fathers feel lonely and secluded. "Toughing it out" has been devastating for many older men, making it more important than ever to celebrate your dad this Father’s Day.
Getting together with family and friends will feel more meaningful and appreciated when you take the time to celebrate with your dad by getting to know him better. Instead of telling him all about what you’re doing, ask him about his world. Below are 5 ways to make dad feel special, loved, and appreciated.
1. Challenge your dad to his favorite sport. Whatever sport your dad enjoys, take him to a game or play a game with him. Going to the drive range and hitting golf balls is an opportunity to talk and share something you both enjoy.
2. Avoid triggers that typically lead to conflict. It’s been a challenging year for older parents, emotionally and physically, so make it a point to overlook some of your past differences and unresolved conflicts that lead to tension. Make Father’s Day about enjoying each other.
3. Reminisce with your dad about favorite childhood memories. Talking to your dad about times he was helpful or created happy memories for you makes your dad feel appreciated and connected to you. Parents need to be reminded of ways they created a lasting memory for you.
4. Offer to help your dad with a project he’s been working on. Working together with your dad is a nice way to say thank-you for the numerous times he helped you with school events, science fairs, and home improvement projects. When two people are working together, they feel connected. He may have a lot of things to tell you and it’s easier to talk when involved with a shared interest.
5. Make plans to take him on a trip to see a distant relative or friend. The pandemic caused many families to distance themselves from each other. If there is a special family member or friend your dad wants to see, suggest taking a trip with them to visit. Older parents are more anxious about traveling alone. The greatest gift you can offer is your time and ability to travel with them so they can reconnect with a loved one.
Our dads do so much for us. It’s important that we make time for them on Father’s Day. Small actions of gratitude and appreciation leave huge effects on our loved ones, especially this year. Take time to share moments and create a Father’s Day memory they will cherish for years to come.