When men look back on their childhood, often the moments that are most memorable are the ones between father and son. The relationship a boy has with his father greatly shapes the man he will eventually become, so it’s important to develop a tradition of doing father/son activities that will cement this bond. While it may not be easy to sustain these traditions as we grow-up, at the very least, we’ll have the memories to carry with us.
Below is a list of activities you can do with your son or father (or even both) to strengthen the paternal bond.
Embracing the great outdoors with your son will provide countless education opportunities and be conducive for developing a healthy father-son relationship. Your son will learn self-reliance as well as develop an appreciation for nature and the wildlife – something that’s lost on many young people today.
Play video games
This activity isn’t the first thing that comes to mind but if it’s something your son enjoys, why not spend some time doing something you know he already loves? Plus, playing video games with him means you can also monitor the sort of games he plays and set some boundaries around the amount of time he spends on them.
What you play or how you play it isn’t so important - simply spending time with your son in a comfortable and fun environment is bound to bring you closer together. Just make sure you mix it up with some of the more active pursuits.
Take a road trip with your son. It can be as simple as a day trip to the country or beach, or a long-haul road trip that takes you from one end of the country to the other. Bring a fantastic father/son road trip soundtrack and make sure you leave all gaming gadgets at home and you’ll be set. Sitting in a car for hours provides more than enough time to talk and connect with your son. Not to mention the adventures you’ll come across along the way that will only bring you closer together.
Go to a sporting event
Instead of watching the game at home, take your son to the real thing so he can experience the atmosphere and rush that comes from watching a live match. There’s nothing like watching sports to bring men together, or in this case, father and son. Buy him a pie and jersey and he’ll remember that day for the rest of his life.
Provided you’ve already taught him how to ride a bike, go cycling along a bike trail. Hitting a bike trail means it’ll be safer away from traffic and you’ll be relaxing with your son at the same time. Not only is this a healthy activity and you’ll BOTH be exercising but it might even become a healthy habit that you do together regularly.
Doing Household Maintenance
Chances are you’ll be doing odd jobs around the house anyway, so you might as well get your son involved so you can show him how things work, how they’re maintained and repaired. Think car maintenance, gardening and general house maintenance. This will help him learn the responsibility and value of a man maintaining his own home, plus, when he gets older, he’ll be able to take on light tasks by himself.
Historically, a father and son fishing is an iconic image of paternal bonding. Fishing may no longer be as popular as it used to be but there’s no denying it’s a great way to connect and strengthen your relationship. Teaching your son how to rig a line or make his first cast will make great memories but it’s the traits like patience and gratitude for where our food comes from that will play an invaluable part in molding him into a man.
Teaching your son how to catch a ball is where it starts but there’s no reason why you can’t extend it further and actually play a sport with him. Teach by example and he’ll learn sportsmanship, coordination, discipline and teamwork – all important lessons for a man. Let your son choose which sport he wants to play instead of forcing one upon him and as long as you remember it’s not about you - it’s about him, it’ll be an enjoyable experience for the both of you.
Building something like a go-kart or tree house is definitely conducive to strengthening the paternal bond. It’s a long-term project, which means it’ll become something that is sacred to the both of you. When you build something from scratch, it’ll give you an opportunity to show your son how to cut and sand wood as well as paint. While no longer mandatory in a world where we can hire specialists, these are still skills that your son can call upon at different stages of his life.
Like building something, making models – be it aircrafts, trains or a Transformer – can be long-term projects that you can keep coming back to with your son. This is an ideal way to engage him outside of computer games and is a perfect pastime for rainy days. He’ll develop a keen eye for details, which he’ll thank you for when he’s older.
There are many more father/son activities that you can do to strengthen your bond with your son – and there’s certainly no reason why you can’t do any of the above activities with your father or even your brother. The key lies in setting the time aside to do it, and then doing it.
Do you have any other ideas for father/son activities? What father/son bonding activities were the most memorable for you? Feel free to share them with us by commenting below.