One of the most important things a dad can do is invest time in taking his little girl out on “dates.” The best part is that daddy-daughter dates do a lot more than simply contribute to quality time and bonding—which is important. But they also serve to set the stage for how your daughter will be treated one day by other men. The way fathers act toward their daughters sets the bar for how she’ll expect her future boyfriends and her future husband to treat her.
Dating your daughter will shape her for the way she dates for marriage. Is she used to a guy holding the door for her? Does she appreciate chivalry? Does she expect a man to listen to her and respect her? That’s all up to Dad…
Of course, no father will get this right every day, every time—they’re human, they sin. They get short tempers and grow frustrated and need time alone. But overall, fathers should be aware of their crucial influence and invest time in teaching their daughters—by example—how others should behave toward them.
Being a woman is tough. Society is convincing women that being feminine equates to being fragile, and they need to be more like a man to succeed or be respected. Yet at the same time, today’s culture objectifies women and seems to grow consistently more sex-obsessed. Daughters need heroic, godly instruction from their dads now more than ever—for such a time as this.
Here are 15 daddy-daughter date ideas for your family to try.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/digitalskillet
1. Movie Night Out
Girls love to be taken to the movies. No matter what age your daughter is, she’s going to enjoy settling into a reclining theater chair with a big tub of buttery popcorn in her lap, watching a movie on a giant screen and laughing with dad. This affordable date night out will be something your daughter cherishes for a long time and will be eager to repeat.
2. Fine Dining Experience
Again, no matter how old your child is, they’ll love feeling grown up and having your full attention across a linen tablecloth set with multiple utensils and a centerpiece of flowers. This type of special night out will not only provide quality time and conversation but will also give Dad plenty of opportunities to demonstrate chivalry.
3. Movie Night In
Sometimes, the best dates happen right inside the house. Send Mom or any other kids out for the evening and take some quality time to lounge in the living room with your daughter. Let her put on her favorite movie and together, savor a thick-crust pizza and some chocolate chip cookies. Bonding at its best! (And affordable for tight budgets!)
4. Shopping Day
Most girls, no matter their age, love to shop—and shopping with dad is most likely an experience they don’t get very often. Resist the temptation to disengage on your phone, and really pay attention to what your daughter likes. Take the opportunity to talk about modesty and other hard topics as you view clothing and jewelry and learn what her tastes are. Even better, give her a budget to spend on any item she chooses, and watch her light up.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Fizkes
5. Picnic or Park Date
Getting outside together is a great way to spend quality time and work in a day-date. Having a picnic at the park, strolling a nature reserve, taking a short hike, or playing on the playground are great ways to connect and spur conversation. Take the time to swing with your little girl or toast your teenager with sparkling cider while sprawling on a checkered blanket. Get out of your comfort zone—and the AC!—and enjoy some fresh air together.
6. Renovation Date
Has your daughter been begging to paint her bedroom walls pink or purple? Make it happen. Consider a “project date” and run to the local hardware store for a gallon of her choice. Buy two rollers and a few drop-cloths and get to work—together. Not only is this quality time, but there’s plenty of opportunity to teach tangible life skills as well. (Which dads love to do!)
7. Concert Date
Everyone loves music. If there’s a local concert coming up, score tickets early and surprise your daughter with a date to hear her favorite band—or introduce her to your own! Getting dressed up for a music-night-out will be especially fun for teenagers and their fathers. Some cities even offer free music in the park outings. Keep an eye out in your community for musical events and take advantage—your daughter will love it.
8. Bowling or Skating Date
Taking your daughter to a bowling alley or skating rink can be a chance to laugh, make fun of yourselves, and eat your weight in nachos! Most of these types of places have arcades attached, which lends even more opportunity for fun and prizes. Consider this cheap, hilarious outing to create special memories to last a lifetime.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Hakase_
9. Late-night Ice Cream Run
Dates don’t have to take a lot of time. If your schedule or family dynamic doesn’t currently allow for entire days or evenings out with your daughter, don’t worry—an impulsive, late-night run to grab ice cream can be just as effective. These are the spontaneous moments that your daughter will store in her memory bank for years to come.
10. Outdoor Adventure
If you live in an area conducive to it, take your daughter on an outdoor adventure. Maybe hike a beautiful state park, rent a kayak or a canoe, take off on a jet ski, or visit an amusement park. Getting to know your daughter outdoors can be a great way to build memories and connect on a different level—especially if that involves getting outside of comfort zones and being daring together!
11. Thrift Shop Searching
A fun and unique way to connect with your daughter is to go thrift-store hopping. Give her a small allowance to spend, and challenge her to buy something cheap and unappealing, then restore it into something lovely. Use the opportunity to talk about how God can take our broken and rusted parts and redeem us into holy vessels for His glory. On top of that, it’s fun for her to see vintage items that you, your parents or grandparents used in their childhoods!
12. Artsy Date
Girls of all ages love artistic ventures! Take your daughter on a creative date that involves painting, pottery, or something else artsy. If your local community doesn’t offer classes in these areas, hit up a hobby store like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, and buy your own supplies. Not only will you have fun figuring it out together, you’ll create a tangible memory to come home and display.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Deepak Sethi
13. Teach Each Other Something Date
As parents, we tend to focus on all the things we desperately want to teach our children, often forgetting that they can teach us as well. Find something your child is interested in and spend some time together letting them teach you. Maybe you’ll show your teen daughter how to change a tire or fix a leaky toilet, while she shows you how to upload a video on YouTube, win the latest video game—or how to recover those photos you thought lost on your computer!
14. Dreamers Date
A memorable way to get to know your daughter better is to take her on a dreamer’s date. Window shop for expensive items and pricey boutique dresses that you would never actually purchase. Find out her favorite things. Ask her questions like “what would you do if you could do anything without failing?” “What would you want to buy if money were no object?” Get her to describe some of her dreams to you—about her career hopes, her future husband, what her wedding will look like, etc. Just walk, look, and dream together. (Then maybe grab a candy bar, because a girl’s got to have something!)
15. Tea Party Time
If you’re the father of a younger girl, you can bet at some point in your life, you’ll be invited to a tea party. Next time she asks, say yes—or even better, create one just for her. Pull up those tiny chairs, fluff up the stuffed animals in their best party skirts, and bring on the cookies and Kool-Aid. She’ll be thrilled—and it’s an opportunity to talk about manners and chivalry and tell her how beautiful she looks.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/LightFieldStudios
Originally published Monday, 04 October 2021.