My world is ruled by women! I have a lovely wife and 3 wonderful girls. So, how does one spend quality floor time with girls? I can’t say that I dress up as a princess (even if my girls would want it I don’t think I would fit in a yellow Belle dress). What is “floor time”? Basically it is a time that you spend with your child where you are truly down at their level, on the floor doing activities that they want to do. This is where you don’t structure the interaction with them and truly let them lead. It can become a bit chaotic at times and be prepared to do anything and leave a wake of disaster (e.g., destroyed rooms, for example).
While I wouldn’t trade my girls for ANYTHING in the world, sometimes it’s hard for a dad to find ways to interact and connect with his girls. So what did I do? I invented the “Daddy Spa” and don’t regret it the least! Let’s face it, girls love dressing up, putting on make-up and generally taking care of “people,” whether they be dolls or Webkinz or just each other. My girls are no different. I just integrated “Dad” into the mix.
Here’s how I do Daddy Spa:
- Give your girls a heads up – “Time for Daddy Spa” gets them going in terms of prepping the “spa”. This is good for them to set up some structure and let them be the leader and controller of the environment.
- Environment – their room (or yours) is great. My recommendation, a bed or the floor with LOTS of pillows. My girls close the shades, dim the lights and put on a sound machine of ocean waves in the background
- “Spa Activities” – there can be many, here are a few that we have found to be successful:
- Back scratch – this is an obvious one. Teach them to scratch your back lightly (they have a tendency to dig in their nails). 2 girl teams work great where they work like a sawing action back and forth
- Hair brushing – this is a super one for littler girls. Give them a brush and let them go crazy creating new hairstyles. Water lets them mold your hair without any “damage”. Sometimes I even allow gel or de-tangler to be used as a “hair product”
- Bandaging – sometimes the Daddy Spa turns into a hospital room. Just go with it. Toilet paper and scotch tape is a great way to create casts or large bandages
- Nail polish – Okay, I WON’T let them put on actual nail polish so I came up with a good alternative. Grab a bunch of Q-tips and some small glasses of water. They can dip the Q-tips into the water and “paint” finger and toenails…and they can do this over and over again.
- Makeup – along the lines of nail polish, you can use the Q-tip/water combo to apply eye-shadow, blush, lipstick, you name it!
- Back rubs – this is where things can get a bit crazy. Let them pound away (it actually feels pretty good most of the time)
- Back walks – if you are on the ground for your Daddy Spa, let the kids walk on your back. Be careful with this one, sometimes it is hard for them to keep balance and be sure you don’t let your bigger kids do this, it sometimes hurts! Be sure that if they do this, they have a safe place to fall off without smacking into things.
- “Fart-age” – this is actually a word that is a combo of “fart” and “massage” in terms of the word pronunciation. This is something that is guaranteed to get tons of laughs and will most likely end the restful, peacefulness of the Daddy Spa. This is not for the weak of heart (grin). All kids know how to make farting noises by pressing their mouths to their arm or something. In this case, just replace the arm with your back (ewww, right?). Well, they love it and will most likely only want to do this activity in the future so use it carefully!
- Clean up – well, they never really do it, it’s usually up to you. But still, if you work with them, it shows how to complete the activity and re-enforces the importance of clean up
Believe it or not, my 4th grader still enjoys participating in the Daddy Spa and the younger ones just love it. Try it out and let me know how it goes! And if you have any new “activities” for the spa that are real winner, post a comment. It’s a great way for you to spend some good time with your kids and even come out more relaxed in the process!
HTD says: Give “Daddy Spa” a try! It does wonders after a long day at work and helps you re-connect with your kids!