December 01, 2020

The holidays are upon us and with them comes a list of boxes to check off. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the things that need to get done and miss important moments. While the boxes do need to get checked, there is a more important priority this holiday season. It’s not just about showing up for holidays as a father. Here are a few things kids need from dad during the holidays to make sure it is quality time.

Things Kids Need From Dad During the Holidays

Quality Time

During the holidays it can be easy to show up to the big moments and still miss them. While giving gifts and eating family meals can be important, they are not the real focus. Instead, your family is interested in quality time with you. Quality time is the time spent making memories that children will take with them into adulthood. Here are a few holiday quality time ideas.

  • Family Movie Night - If you are looking for a way to spend some quality time with your family, plan a family movie night. Put together some of your favorite holiday snacks, pull out your cozy blankets, and enjoy a movie together. You can go as silly or serious as your family wants to. Add some fun by doing a sing-along or watching a movie you know your family can laugh a lot watching.
  • Take a Family Hike - Hiking together can be a fantastic way to spend some quality time together disconnected from devices and the rest of the world. Pack a hiking bag with some of your favorite snacks and water bottles and head out on the trail together. (Make sure to check closings and weather notifications before going out as weather can change trail openings.)
  • Have a Backyard Picnic - Sometimes the best way to make memories with your children during the holidays is to find small moments to sneak away with them to spend time together. Pack up a lunch bag with some of your holiday favorites and have a backyard picnic with your children. Take some time to laugh together and make some fun memories.


During the holidays it can be easy to focus on the gifts and expectations of everyone in the household. While these gifts may make your children smile, they may pale in comparison to what your children need most this season. Your children need your presence in their special holiday moments. This means setting aside some of the obligations to make time to spend with them. Here are a few ways to focus on being present this holiday season.

  • Say No - There will be many obligations that will demand your attention this holiday season. It is ok to say no to things that will steal your presence from your children. Try to choose times when you can say no to something so you can say yes to your children.
  • Schedule It In - Not every dad is wired to see the moments that require their presence most. This doesn’t make you less of a dad. It just means you will need to be deliberate and schedule it in. Make a point of scheduling important holiday moments on your calendar, such as school shows, family dinner, or a drive to see holiday lights.
  • Ask Your Children What Matters Most to Them - Children have a better sense of what they want most than you might realize. It can help to ask, “I am making a point of being there for you and I need to know what things are most important to you this holiday season.” Most children will share the things they really want to do with you and you can choose which ones are realistic for your situation. 


The holiday season can get stressful and overwhelming. Things don’t always go to plan and there are many social situations that can get stressful. Making memories in the middle of the holiday season can be stressful. During those times, kids need their dad to bring peace to the chaos. Here are a few ways to help your kids find peace during the holidays.

  • Stop Before Reacting - During the holidays, things happen that aren’t the most exciting. While it can be frustrating, it can also be a great opportunity to bring peace to the chaos. Take a minute to stop in the middle of a difficult situation and catch your breath. This will help to calm your children as they also face situations that can be stressful.
  • Add Calm Moments - The holidays can be packed with a long list of items that need to get done. While those can be special, they can also be incredibly overwhelming. It can help to schedule in calm moments where there isn’t a to-do list or requirement. Add some time to your holiday plans to relax and have fewer requirements for the day.
  • Teach Them Through Your Reactions - How you react to a situation during the holidays can teach your child how to handle stress. Finding peace in the middle of the holidays can help your children to follow suit. When you are able to react without losing your cool, you will teach your children how to react in a peaceful way as well. 


With everything on the to-do list, it can be hard to schedule in fun. However, making time to laugh together and have fun can be a game-changer. Make sure to add in moments to have fun laughing together. This might be a simple activity or something that is a family tradition. The goal is to find ways to laugh and have fun together. Here are a few holiday fun ideas.

    • Say Yes! - Kids will ask to do some of the silliest and most insane things sometimes. While it can be tempting to say no to these, pick a few items this holiday season to say yes to. It could change everything and give you more opportunities to laugh together.
    • Play With Their Gifts With Them - Take some time to play with their gifts with them after they open them. Not only can you give incredible gifts but you can have fun engaging with your children by playing with their gifts with them. And make a point to allow them to show you how they want to play with their new toys, rather than you dictating. This is a great way to add excitement and fun to the holidays.
    • Unplug From the Outside World - One of the best ways to have fun with the kids this season is to unplug from the world so that you can focus on family. Pick certain times within your schedule to turn off the phone and spend time together. It could be a game-changer for your holiday season.

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