1. Take him to your favorite restaurant
Not McDonald’s. Not Burger King. Take him to a real, grown-up sit-down place and share a meal. Trust me: he already knows that this is where you take important people.
2. Let him stay up past his bedtime
And do something together. Stare at the stars. Make fudge. Build a model. Being up with Mom or Dad alone in the dark is a powerful memory.
3. Play Risk with him
Or Monopoly. You know – the kind of game you never have time to play. Just get out the dice and roll.
4. Hug & kiss him
All boys need to be hugged and kissed. Even (or maybe especially) the ones who tell you they don’t.
5. Make his favorite meal
For no apparent reason. He’ll know and appreciate it.
6. Play cars—or dinos or whatever—with him
It’s so hard to find the time to get down on the floor, and so hard to put away your grown-up-sized worries and concerns, but nothing means as much to a boy as playing with him.
7. Don’t complain the next time he comes home muddy
8. Watch his favorite movie with him
Pop some popcorn and settle in. His taste in movies probably isn’t exactly the same as yours, but who knows? You might realize you like foreign films.
9. Introduce him to your hobby
Golf, knitting, rock climbing—whatever you do, he knows it’s important to you. Show him the ropes and invite him into your world.
10. Ask him where he’d like to go. Take him.
But feel free to set boundaries. You might be surprised at where he wants to go.
11. Listen to him
Really listen to him the next time he starts talking about his passion. Ask questions. Challenge him. Show genuine interest.
12. Read him your favorite book.
You know, the one you loved when you were a kid. Tell him why you loved it and read out loud, with enthusiasm. He just may see you in a whole new light.
13. Let him help you
Do laundry. Fix the car. You’ll get to spend time together and he’ll learn new skills.
14. Talk calmly, even when he frustrates you
Again—straight from the mouth of my eight-year-old. Keeping a level head shows your son that you respect and value him as a person.
Originally appeared at Blogging ‘Bout Boys
Also read: This is What Real Fatherhood Looks Like
Lead image courtesy of Flickr/popofatticus