Celebrating Your First Father’s Day after a Divorce

father and daughter hugging

Guest blog post by Amanda Moore

Adjusting to a holiday like Father’s Day after divorce or separation can be tricky. Whatever the circumstances were before, they’re likely to have changed.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to spend some quality time with your kids on Fathers’ Day. If it happens to not be your weekend for visitation, perhaps you can ask your ex for extra time or to switch.

Choosing Activities

Chances are, you and the kids already have some activities you like to do. But if you want to try some new activities, there are some that are more conducive to talking and bonding than, say, watching a movie where everyone has to be quiet. Bowling is a great family activity where you can be active and chat at the same time. Every skill level can be accommodated. If you’re new to bowling yourself, you can read about how to teach your kids ahead of time.

If you enjoy golf, the driving range can also be a good option. Just make sure to only allot about an hour due to shorter attention spans, bring along child-sized clubs, and provide water, shade, snacks, and perhaps an alternate activity if the kids are young and might get bored.

Or, if you have smaller kids who definitely won’t enjoy bowling or golf, just going to the local park will create memories. Make sure you’re not hanging around looking at your phone but actually playing with the kids. Push them on the swings. Pretend to be a monster or superhero with them. Or play a game like:

  • Freeze tag
  • The ground is lava
  • Make a scavenger hunt.

Take the day to finally teach them how to ride a bike or pitch a ball or whatever you want. Bring a picnic that you make (simple sandwiches will do, but you could stretch yourself if you wish) or just pick up their favorite fast food treat– it is a holiday, after all.

Eating Out

Most people don’t want to cook and clean up on Father’s Day. It can be hard to find a restaurant where both adults and kids have a good time. There are video game places like Dave & Busters where you can eat dinner and then bond over gaming. Or you can pick a local spot that has something unique, like a campfire where you can grill steak or roast marshmallows.

Buying Gifts for Dad

If you’re someone who’s reading this to find out how to help someone celebrate, here are a few gifts ideas. You could think about what kinds of things Dad enjoys doing or perhaps has mentioned wanting to do. Things like:

  • Skydiving
  • Sail boat lessons
  • Fishing

for the adventure seeker are fun and might be activities Dad wouldn’t splurge on for himself; you can usually find gift certificate deals, too. Along those lines, renting an exotic car or motorcycle could be a dream gift.

For more techie Dads, get him a gadget like a security camera or a sophisticated drone that’s controlled with hand gestures. Tickets to sporting events or brewery tours could be good choices if Dad is a sports fan.

And if you’re a dad, it’s okay to treat yourself to one of these things on Father’s Day, too.

Staying in Touch

When your kids aren’t in the same city as you and you can’t physically be together, Father’s Day will naturally be more difficult. But there are some ways you can spend virtual time together. You can chat on Skype or Facetime or any similar app that you probably already have on your phone.

You can also use one of many new apps that allow you to stream movies or video with others and chat in real time, making all the Dad jokes you want. It really helps you to feel like you’re almost there physically.

Above all, keeping a positive attitude is the key to having a great Father’s Day. No matter what, remember that it’s about being thankful for the small humans that made you a father. Be gracious to your ex, spend quality time with your children, and do the things that make you feel happy.