Father’s Day is traditionally celebrated on the third Sunday in June each year. On this day it’s a lovely time to step back and reflect and mark the role fathers play in the lives of their children.
It can be a bit of a challenge sometimes to work out how to best mark the day, especially if your little one is too small to really understand what is going on!
Realistically, the responsibility of celebrating Father’s Day is going to fall to you in the first few years of your little one’s life. Planning ahead for Father’s Day can go a long way to making it a memorable one for the man in your life and the apple of your little one’s eye.
How do I celebrate Father’s Day?
The key influence on how you celebrate the day is how old your child or children are. The day is meant to be special for their father, but you also need to ensure that your child’s routines are not disrupted too much. Coping with a toddler meltdown of epic proportions can make Father’s Day memorable, but probably not for the right reasons!
6 tips for celebrating Father’s Day
Keep it simple. Think about what a practical gift would be that won’t require huge efforts on your part. For most fathers, getting a day where they can sleep in is a gift that is greatly appreciated. Otherwise prepare a special breakfast for him with your children that they can all help put together.
Keep it in the family. Plan an outing as a family unit to somewhere fairly local that you know everyone will enjoy. It might be the local park or museum where you can feed the ducks and kick a ball round together. Avoid long travel so that your little one doesn’t get overtired.
Father’s Day is a great day to acknowledge the role dad plays in the family. Focus on the positive contributions he makes and recognise them with him.
Get snap happy in the lead up to Father’s Day. Get the camera out and snap dad with his little one as often as possible. You can then compile these photos into an album or a digital frame to mark the day.
Father’s Day gifts shouldn’t break the bank. Doing a little craft activity with your little one is a lovely way to spend time together. It also gives your child a sense of ownership and pride that they made something special for Dad on Father’s Day. This is something that should be encouraged.
End Father’s Day on a positive note. If possible, make sure your child isn’t overtired at the end of the day and goes off to bed having showered Dad in kisses and cuddles.
Celebrating Father’s Day when you are pregnant
Baby has yet to make an appearance but you’d still like to mark the day in a special way. The lovely thing about this is that you can pick and choose where and when you might like to go on an outing together, without having to consider the needs of your little one just yet.
This is a great time to do something he enjoys, for instance, see a movie he has mentioned previously or go out for a meal at his favourite restaurant.
Suggested gift ideas
There are lots of cute and creative ideas you can get, including cufflinks that have your ultrasound pictures of baby printed on them. Other suggestions are matching jerseys for his favourite team, one his size and one for a baby. It’s a lovely way to remind him on the day of the activities they will be able to do together in the future.
Celebrating Father’s Day with a 0-1 year old
Keep any planned outings for the day close to home so that the day is a positive one for everyone involved. A practical idea is to schedule a catch-up with the other fathers in your life and celebrate together.
Suggested gift ideas
Dad’s name collage: this is a beautiful colourful activity you can do with your little one that doesn’t take too much time and is visually very appealing.
A large sheet of cardboard (or paper)
Multiple pieces of coloured paper
On the sheet cardboard write “daddy” with a glue stick.
Let your child tear up bits of coloured paper – and get them to cover the sheet of cardboard with the pieces of coloured paper (or anything small enough that can be stuck onto cardboard).
When they have finished covering the sheet of cardboard – lift it up and let all the extra bits fall off and the name “daddy” will appear.
Celebrating Father’s day with a 1-3 year old
Plan any activities around your little one’s nap-time to avoid anyone getting over-tired. Activities that might be enjoyed on the day by the family are a picnic or a braai. Make sure to plan what you’ll need for the outing in advance and have it all packed and organised the night before the big day out.
Suggested gift ideas
Cards: Making a card to mark the day is a great place to start.
Father’s Day photo frame: together you can make a photo frame and pop in a picture of your little one.
Paint and brushes
Two pieces of firm cardboard (One for the frame and the other to hold the photo in place. Note – your second piece of cardboard needs to be larger than the photo itself.)
A piece of string or an attachable magnet.
Decide on the size of your photo and frame and cut them both to size.
Centre your photo on one piece of cardboard and draw around the outline.
Cut out the outlined centre of the frame using scissors or a knife just inside the outline of the photo (you need to do this so there is some overlap).
Decorate the frame however you choose. You can paint a colourful background and place handprints, painted pasta shells or crafty bits all around. Let your child’s imagination run wild!
Once it’s dry, turn the frame over and fix the second piece of cardboard to the back of the frame with sticky tape or glue on three sides. Leave the topside open so that you can slide alternative photos in and out.
Fix the piece of string or magnet into place and your photo is ready to go.
What if celebrating Father’s Day isn’t straightforward?
For some families Father’s Day can be a challenging affair. This could be because your partner is often away for work and therefore isn’t able to celebrate the day with you as a family. Alternatively, if you and the father of your child are no longer together, Father’s Day can be painful for a variety of reasons.
When this is the case, the physical or emotional reasons that you can’t celebrate Father’s Day can be difficult for you to process. If your little one is too small to understand what is going on, this can make it easier. Remember to take some time for yourself. For your partner who works away you can always send a card, or Skype with them on Father’s Day to acknowledge the day itself. You can set aside time when they are back home to celebrate Father’s Day as a family then.
If you are separated from your partner for other reasons and, if it is appropriate for you, try to ensure your child has some contact with their dad on the day.
If your child has limited contact with their father, it may be a good idea for them to spend some time on the day with a male role model in their life, like a grandfather or an uncle. If, however, you do not have access to your child on this day, you should ensure that you have plans of your own. This may help with some of the painful, emotional aspects the day may create for you.
The importance of thinking about Dad on Father’s Day.
The key to making Father’s Day special is thinking about meaningful ways to celebrate it that are suitable for him. When it comes to gifts you might also want to get him a gift from you, as well as the gift that comes from baby. If he enjoys cooking, keep an eye out for a cookbook he might enjoy. Alternatively, if he is interested in a particular sport, then get him something that might be useful for it.
Usually, though, it is the gifts that you and your child hand-make for him for Father’s Day that will be appreciated the most.
In addition, another suggestion for making Father’s Day special for him is by making the time to cook his favourite dinner. It is important not to get too overtired or stressed when organising these things, particularly if his ideal meal is a complicated one. So shop for the ingredients in the week before or, alternatively, check if a local restaurant can make it instead!
A little forward-planning and thought can go a long way to making it a special occasion for the whole family. These suggestions will help in making the third Sunday in June a happy Father’s Day for everyone involved.