Last month, I shared what mothers were telling me they wanted for Mother’s Day and this month, it’s dad’s turn. So, let me start off by sharing what dads really want for Father’s Day—no, not a funny t-shirt or necktie, but gifts that cost very little but are essentially priceless!

Activities as a gift

First, while dads certainly will be thrilled to sleep in, have breakfast in bed, or control of the remote control for the entire day, what they really hope for is that the rest of the family will pause to celebrate dad’s skills as a parent. That’s right, his parenting skills.

For example, while you might think dad would want some time to himself on Father’s Day to play some golf, you might also plan family activities that both dad and your children will enjoy. This could be a trip to the beach or if golf is dad’s passion, the driving range or mini-golf is a place where everyone can have fun.

Give dad a day when he can say “no” the first time and that will end the discussion. This would probably be a treat for the big guy.

Homemade gifts

Dads do love getting gifts, but they love it best when the gifts and cards are homemade and reflect the fun times dads and their families have together.  A great idea is to make him a certificate that says “World’s Greatest Dad.” Frame it and he will be more apt to want to save that gift, more than anything purchased at a store.

A meal with Dad

Finally, perhaps over a meal of dad’s favorite foods or out at his favorite restaurant, gather the family (including the in-laws). Have everyone tell dad why he is so special and what makes him a great dad. Do this especially if he is as aware and involved in his children’s health and wellbeing as his partner. His ability to balance work and family has earned him this very special Father’s Day.

Hopefully, gifts like these will make dad realize the best gift of all is the family that surrounds him. At the same time, the family will realize that Father’s Day is an occasion that should be celebrated not just on June 16, but every day of the year.

Lewis First, MD, is chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.  You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with Kids video archives at

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