Dating Dads


No, this is not a blog article condoning dads to date outside of marriage.  Rather, it’s one to encourage dads to date their kids.

I first heard of this concept about 15 years ago when my children were 7, 5, and 3.  Bob Lepine and Dennis Rainey discussed this as something that every dad should do with their children.  I never went on a “date” with either of my parents so this was a foreign idea to me.  Now, I’ve not been great at doing this on a regular basis but I have made it a habit to intentionally take each of my children out individually to do things that they enjoy.

To make it easier for me I set up a system to date each of the kids monthly on the date of their birthday.  For instance, one of my daughters birthday is January 3.  So, I picked out the 3rd of every month as our “date night”.  Realistically, I have not ever been consistent with making that day for each of the kids every month.  But, it did cause me to try to get time with them each month as close to that date as possible.  I might miss a month or two but it was on my calendar and in front of me regularly.

Sometimes we would go out to dinner (this was/is the most common date event).  We’ve been bowling, putt-putt golfing, walking, riding in the car, breakfast, coffee house times, etc.  The key is not the “what” but the fact that I make time to be with them.  During our “date” times, I simply try to engage them in discussions that may not always come up in everyday discussions.  I might press into their friendships, guy/girl relationships, spiritual activity or questions, frustrations they might be going through at home, school or with friends or any other number of things that are on their mind.  Specifically, I really try to listen.  I’m not very good at just listening without offering “dadsdom (wisdom from dad)”.  But I do try.  Sometimes, we don’t talk about anything of real importance.  We end up just hangin out together.  That’s fun too.

Spending time with your children individually is one of those investments in life that will NEVER come back void.  It communicates your love to them and that you value them as individuals.  If you’ve never consistently set up times to “date” your children, it’s not too late.  In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve dated my children so I’m going to do the same.  Put a time on your calendar and surprise them with a nice evening at their favorite restaurant or doing their favorite activity.  Call them on the phone or send them an invitation.  Make it fun and they’ll not only appreciate it but they will remember it the rest of their lives!

SHARE:  What ways have you made an effort to “date” your children regularly?  What’s worked?  What benefits have you experieced by spending quality time with your children?


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3 Responses to “Dating Dads”

  1. simon Says:

    Thanks Jeff for this article. I’ve enjoyed ‘dating’ my 3 kids too… And all 3 of them always look fwd to it, and can’t wait for their turn. We call it ‘hang-out time’.

    My wife and I both try to have such times monthly. But you are right, realistically it doesn’t happen as consistent as we’d like it. =)

    Besides the more special times, like taking them out, watching a movie etc. I’ve tried to use daily mundane type events to turn it into a meaningful Dad & Son or Dad & Daughter times. Sometimes, I just need to go run an errand, and instead of doing it alone (which can be more convenient), I intentionally ask one of them if they’d like to come along.

    There’s this one time I asked my boy (9 yrs old) to come along with me to the car workshop, to get my car tires fixed. And as we went about the errand we chatted and got ‘updated’ with each other. I would try to find opportunities to talk about spiritual or life lessons that we can observe & learn from everyday life. After the tires got fixed, we got a little snack & drink and sat at the nearby park and talked some more. It was a short, simple ‘date’, but nonetheless meaningful.

    What’s great about such times is that we get to model as parents everyday stuff (like bargaining for better prices, relating to the workers, taking care & stewarding of God’s blessings etc.) For me, it helps me learn to enjoy my kids, as God’s gifts, and also gives me the tangible real-life opportunities to intentionally speak into their little lives. =)

  2. Jeff Abramovitz Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Simon. Good stuff. I like the thought of just doing life with your children as well. I’ve done that (again, not as often as i would like to) and found that to be another way to invest in spiritual and life discussions that sometimes come up out of the blue. Time is the critical factor in all of this! Way to go, dad!

  3. J.R. Duren Says:


    Relevant Magazine published an excerpt of my book. You tweeted it, and I wanted to say thanks for doing that! I really appreciate it.


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