49 Small, Nice Things to Do for Dad This Father’s Day

A few suggestions for making his day.

by Fatherly
Originally Published: 
A father and son at a barbecue on Father's day

Being a father is its own reward. But, you know, sometimes other rewards are nice, too. That’s why we’ve put together this list of small, nice things you can do for dads this Father’s Day. We’re not talking about spending money (although, if you want to get a little something, check out these gifts for dad). Rather, we mean finding little things to do for dad for Father’s Day that make the celebration all the better. Like giving him a little bit of extra sleep. Or buying the fancy lunch meats he loves but enjoys sparingly because he’s watching his cholesterol. Or setting up a ridiculous roughhousing ring so we can have fun flinging the kids around. Things like that. Father’s Day means different things to different dads, but we think there’s something on this list that nearly every father will appreciate — on this day, or whenever. Because it’s the little things that matter.

49 Small, Nice Things to Do for Dad This Father’s Day

  1. Let him sleep in. Late. Like, until 830am or even 9am if you’re feeling generous.
  2. After he wakes, bring him some coffee and give him 15 minutes to mindlessly scroll through his phone
  3. No to-do lists for the entire day.
  4. Does he want to watch the ball game? A cooking show? Burn through a few back episodes of Stranger Things? Maybe he just wants to play video games. Whatever it is, give him an hour of straight TV time.
  5. Let him pick the menu for dinner.
  6. Have a six-pack of his favorite beer waiting in the fridge. If he doesn’t dig beer, sub in wine, ice cream, cheese, soda, or whatever his thing is.
  7. Get the steak even if you don’t care for the steak.
  8. Get him new soap that smells nice. Even manly men love a new bar of soap.
  9. Buy him new underwear. He likely won’t buy it himself and probably needs it. It does not, however, count as a real gift. Just a thoughtful purchase.
  10. Give him a bouquet of flowers. It’s wonderful to get flowers and men rarely do. If the kids picked them, all the better.
  11. Does he want to grill? Get the good meats. And spice rubs.
  12. Clean his laptop. Chances are it is pockmarked with filth.
  13. Does he love roughhousing with the kids? Set up a wrestling room. Put mattresses on the floor. Arrange the pillows into a ring. Let them go nuts.
  14. Show him an old photo of the two of you doing something memorable. Reminisce.
  15. Just find a way to break up the routine of a normal Sunday — a day trip, a special visitor, breakfast ordered in from somewhere great.
  16. Send him a nude. The longer you’ve been married, the more risqué.
  17. Does he regularly do the dishes? Take him off dish duty for the entire day. In fact, do the one chore that he normally does.
  18. Order in his favorite take-out after the kids have gone to bed so he doesn’t have to share.
  19. Accomplish Sunday’s chores on Saturday so that he can truly have a day without any unfinished tasks lingering in the back of his mind.
  20. Work out the knots in his back. Like really get in there. Whatever you think is too hard, probably isn’t hard enough.
  21. Breakfast in bed? Eh. How about lunch on the couch?
  22. Speaking of lunch: Go big. Get that crusty bread, those nice lunch meats, the best pickles, the fanciest aioli.
  23. Have the kids draw a superhero comic starring dad. Have them give him cool powers that match his everyday heroics, like his ability to find monsters under the bed or make amazing mac and cheese.
  24. What was the thing he used to love to do before you had kids? Make future plans to do it.
  25. Does he have to go to work today? Put something small, but touching, in his work bag or beside his laptop. Could be a nice note. Could be a drawing of a walrus wearing a funny hat.
  26. Take out the trash — or at least bring in the garage since it’s likely not trash day. Feels like a weird thing, but it’s hard to have a special day when garbage is just laying around.
  27. If he leaves the house and then comes back, have the kids run up to him and greet him with big hugs. Few things are better than having your kids be excited about your arrival.
  28. Go running with him. Or to the driving range. Whatever his exercise thing is, do it with him.
  29. Does he like the occasional cigar? Get him a nice one of his choosing and, this is the real gift, the time to smoke it in the yard.
  30. Write a nice note telling him how much you love him, and why he’s such a great dad. Be sappy. It works.
  31. Bathroom-block the kids so he can poop in peace.
  32. Speaking of the bathroom. No “are you done?” knocks, either. Let him linger.
  33. Wear that outfit you know he likes. Yeah, that one.
  34. Help the kids make him dinner.
  35. Don’t just tell him he’s sexy. Be specific about it. As in “It’s so sexy when…”
  36. Invite his friends for a Zoom call. Chances are, he wants to see them. Don’t worry about it being a surprise. In fact, tell him a few days in advance so he can look forward to it.
  37. Do that sex thing he likes.
  38. Just show appreciation for his hard work — either at work or at home. And do it in front of someone else.
  39. Take a family drive to a place nearby that he’s wanted to visit but everyone else thinks will be boring.
  40. Did he just finish a workout? Surprise him with a delicious smoothie.
  41. If he’s into public displays of affection, post something on social media about how great a dad he is along with your favorite photo of him. Tag him in it. Rack up all the likes.
  42. Does he hate public displays of affection and get uncomfortable when you post about him on social media? Don’t post anything on social media all day. In fact, put your phone in a shoebox.
  43. Give him a framed picture of him and the kids that you love. Tell him why you love it so much.
  44. Open up a nice, special-occasion bottle of wine. Or Scotch.
  45. Pick up the snack he loves but never buys because he knows it’s terrible for him. Even if it’s a tub of cheese balls. Even if it’s a bag of little chocolate donuts. Even if it’s pork rinds, which are gross.
  46. Let. Him. Nap. For at least an hour. If he snores, let him snore. If he falls asleep watching TV with the kids, take them somewhere else so he can nap in peace.
  47. Even if you’ve stream-cheated and watched ahead on that Really Cool Show You’re Both Into, don’t tell him and just enjoy the re-watch.
  48. Don’t talk about money or planning for the entire day. No budgeting talk. No future plans talk.
  49. Just tell him that you love him, and make him feel that he’s appreciated in whatever way feels right.

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