Last week I missed posting an article for the first week since October. It was my birthday and we were on spring break. I thought it would be no big deal. Boy was I wrong!
First, I can’t believe how hard it was to make myself post again after missing just one week. If you are starting your own blog, please don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t take a week off. Even if you post something simple, post something.
Second, holy xxxx! What in the world is going on? We are all on self quarantine. Much of the world is on mandatory lock down. These times are crazy. I hope everyone is safe and healthy.
Life has given us lemons, let’s make lemonade. Here are 5 things dads can do with our daughters during the COVID-19 quarantine.
1. Teach her to drive.
I hope you didn’t hit your head when you passed out after reading that statement. I am serious. Hear me out.
Learning to drive can be very intimidating and even terrifying for girls. This is a perfect time to teach her in microdoses (small, strategic segments).
Usually we only have a Saturday afternoon to squeeze in all of the learning. Now we have the foreseeable future.
My oldest daughter is 12. We are lucky enough to have a ranch full of wide open spaces. I started teaching her out there about 6 months ago. She is doing great!
She beams with confidence and pride every time I let her take the wheel. You may not have several hundred acres to work with, but all you need is a car at this point.
Start simple. Teach her how to start it. Let her turn on the lights, use the turn signals and windshield wipers. Have her honk the horn. I am amazed at how much fun my daughter gets out of this simple act.
If you are ready to actually start moving, here are a few things I have learned along the way. Start out by helping her get a feel for the brake. For some reason, the first time she drives, she will think she must force the brake pedal through the floor in order to get the car to stop. It is inevitable. Whiplash is a distinct possibility:)
To help her learn a feel for the brake, I recommend this:
- Start on flat ground.
- Put the car in gear (let her do this even though you want to do it for her).
- Let her slowly let off the brake until the car is just rolling.
- Have her bring the car to a complete stop
- Repeat this a few times while only rolling. Leave the accelerator (gas pedal where I’m from) out of this step. Don’t even bother explaining how to gain speed. Just let her practice rolling and stopping. It will be better for both of you.
Once you are ready to actually gain some speed, find the widest, most open area you can. A neighborhood street is fine as long as there are not too many cars parked on the side. For some reason young drivers do not have any depth perception. They have no idea how close other objects actually are when learning to drive. It is amazing.
My daughter still stops so close to objects she can’t even open her door. When I ask her why, she shrugs and tells me she thought there was plenty of room.
This adventure has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done with my daughter. She has done exceptionally well. I have not feared for my life even once.
I love the way she lights up as soon as we pull inside the gate at our ranch because she knows she is about to get to drive. I love seeing the extra bounce in her step and the confidence she exudes. I can’t wait until my younger daughter gets old enough to start learning.
2. Teach her to use your hammer, drill, lawn mower, or whatever other working tools you might have.
My daughter wants to learn to mow so bad she can hardly stand it. Can you imagine that? She is begging me to mow the yard. I better take advantage of the opportunity while it lasts.
Using “daddy’s tools” is much like learning to drive for girls. It empowers them and builds their confidence. They find a great deal of pride knowing they can do the same thing the boys can.
Using (or just playing with) our tools also does something better. It brings our girls into our world. Bringing our daughter into our world will help us build the bonds that can make the difference in her life. Take advantage of these opportunities.
3. Teach her about money.
This may not build the confidence or daddy-daughter bond that activities #1 and #2 do, but it is just as important. It may be even more important.
Money skills are critical for overall life success. It doesn’t really matter if you only use cash or never use cash. Teach your daughter how to manage the platform you use. There are necessary skills to learn with both mediums.
Counting change is a lost art. Almost every time I use cash, I get the wrong change. Learning how to count money could save your daughter thousands in her lifetime.
Plastic (as it was called when I was growing up) brings its own challenges. Giving the server the card, or even just flashing your phone these days, is so mechanical. It is extremely easy to overspend if you do not know how to balance your account correctly and often.
If digital is your style, teach her how you prevent overspending each month. She may not be as fired up about learning about money, but the extra time these days is a perfect opportunity to create a solid foundation for her future financial success.
4. Research your family history together.
We all find it interesting to learn more about where we came from. Unfortunately, tracing a family history is time consuming. Lucky for us, time is one thing we have a lot of right now.
Being stuck at home, isolated from friends has created some unanticipated family time. Use this time to get online and find out more about where you both came from. You will probably find some interesting facts. You will absolutely love learning together.
Who knows, you might even find out about a rich uncle you never knew you had.
5. Have her teach you how to do something she enjoys.
Today’s world moves fast. It is hard for all of us to really keep up with our kids’ lives. We try our best to be involved parents. We go to all the games and recitals. We can name most or at least some of her friends.
We don’t mean for it to turn out this way, but the reality is most of this is superficial involvement. All of our daughters have talents and passions we know nothing about.
During your time together do not miss out on the opportunity to ask her to teach you how to do something she enjoys. She will probably resist at first, but don’t give up. Stay persistent. She will give in. This glimpse into her world is irreplaceable. You can thank me later.
Take advantage of these unique times.
We are living through events not experienced in our lifetime. For the vast majority of us, they have created numerous inconveniences. Luckily they have also created some unexpected time with our daughters. Don’t look back one day and wish you had done better with this time. Take full advantage of the time you have now!
Thank you for joining me on this journey to become a better father. Click here to get the Raising Strong Girls newsletter sent to your inbox for free each week.
P.S. – I would like to say thank you to my oldest daughter, Taylor, for helping me write this article. This is one of the things we did together in the car on the way out to the ranch so she could drive a little. Great Times!!