50 Small, Nice Things to Do For Dads Just Because

Being a father is its own reward. But, if we’re being honest, sometimes other rewards are nice, too

by Fatherly

Being a father is, of course, its own reward. But, every now and then, sometimes other rewards are nice, too. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 50 small, nice things to do for husbands and fathers just because. These things don’t cost much. They’re little gestures one can make the daily grind better. Like allowing him to sleep a little bit longer. Or buying some good meats for the grill that he won’t splurge on. Or surprising him at the office. Will all of these items appeal to every dad? No. But there’s something on here that nearly every father will appreciate. Because at the end of the day, it’s the little things that matter.

  1. Plan one-on-one time with each member of the family so he can have ‘daddy-daughter’ day; ‘daddy-son’ day; and one-on-one time with his love. Then have a big ol’ family dinner.
  2. Buy a Lego set specifically for him to build with the kids.
  3. Transform your living room into a blanketed, pillowed wrestling ring. Dress the kids in costume and bring dad in for the roughhousing ‘main event.’
  4. Upgrade his toiletries. It can make a real difference and help with confidence. And it may not be something he feels comfortable doing (or spending money on) if left to his own devices.
  5. Make dad a piece of kid art. Have the kids go through drafts. Skip the lazy ones, the ones where mom is actually in the center, or the ones about the dog. Find the dad one. Then frame it and give it to him.
  6. Maybe try that sex thing he always wants to try.
  7. Buy him a video game that the whole family can play. Play it. Get another video game he can play on his own at night.
  8. Is he a beer man? A whiskey guy? Pick up a six-pack or a bottle of his favorite and bust it out after dinner.
  9. Take his bike into the shop for a post-winter tune-up and surprise him with a clean, ready-to-go ride.
  10. Write a nice note telling him how much you appreciate him, and why he’s such a great dad. Be sappy. It works.
  11. Bathroom-block the kids so he can poop in peace.
  12. 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.
  13. Flirt. There’s a generally cultural belief that men are confident about themselves and their bodies. Many are (these people are called assholes), but most aren’t. Be complimentary. Pretend they impress you even if they don’t. Remember that disappointment and realism are vicious cycles.
  14. Ask for help. You may not need it. You may not want it. Ask for help anyway. Many men are taught that their personal value is a product of their accumulated skills. It’s nice to take a moment and notice those skills, especially if they are unexpected or traditionally associated with women.
  15. Plan a hike. Every facet of it. Tell dad to put on his hiking clothes and go.
  16. Buy him new socks or underwear. This is actually a gift for you as well. Men are weird about this stuff and it can make a difference. Do it on Amazon. Low stress, high reward.
  17. Let them buy you something nice without bringing up the money. Failing to provide is a hugely sensitive area for a lot of men. Feeling economically adequate is… great. If and when they try to do something generous that isn’t going to bankrupt the family, don’t bring up money.
  18. Surprise him with a few sexts throughout the day to build up sexual tension. Yeah, it’ll be nice for him to anticipate sex. But, more so, men want to be wanted and desired so it’s always nice to receive random notes that check that emotional need.
  19. Going to the store? 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.
  20. Invite his friends over. 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.
  21. Next time you’re out with friends or co-workers, make it a point to show appreciation for him. You don’t have to be overly showy. Just mention it when the conversation allows. A compliment can mean more when it’s not done in secret.
  22. Does he love to grill? Go to the butcher and get the good meats.
  23. Does he have a tough stretch at work coming up? Surprise him something, big or small, to look forward to: a dinner reservation, tickets to a concert, a day trip somewhere. Anticipation helps steady the mind.
  24. Order takeout from the place he loves. Let him pick the bulk of the order. Yes, even if it’s that spicy chicken that you think smells like feet.
  25. Does he have a work trip or is he simply coming home after a long day? Make it a point to psych the kids for his arrival. Make his homecoming an event and have them run up and hug him. Few things are better than having your kids be excited about seeing you.
  26. Is bath-time his forte? Does he shine during story time? Whatever it is, set everything else up so all he has to worry about is hanging with the kids.
  27. Leave him alone. Give him some time to just be himself.
  28. Schedule a binge watch of a show you hate and he loves.
  29. Rub his back or, better yet, the top of his head. Men love that.
  30. Is there a task on his seemingly endless to-do list he hasn’t been able to get to? A shelf that needs to be fixed or an air conditioner that needs to be installed? Tackle it and surprise him with a job well done.
  31. Is he a music guy? Find a cheap copy of his favorite record and frame it.
  32. Message that friend he lost in the “kid purge” and set up a dudes’ day/night for them.
  33. Go on Amazon and find a book that you think he might like. Something inexpensive. Maybe it’s a cookbook. Maybe it’s a comic book. Maybe it’s a motorcycle art book. Whatever it is, just order it and when it arrives simply say “Oh, I saw this and thought you would like it.”
  34. Does he meal prep for the week on Sunday or do some other regular chore that takes up a good part of the day? Take it off his plate so he can spend some more time with the kids without the stress of a task hanging over him.
  35. Go running with him. Or to the driving range. Whatever his exercise thing is, do it with him.
  36. Does he have to go to work today? Put something small, but touching in his work bag. Could be a nice note. Could be a drawing of crab wearing a funny hat.
  37. Don’t just tell him he’s sexy. Be specific about it. As in “It’s so sexy when…”
  38. Does he want to watch the ball game? A few old episodes of Seinfeld? Play a round or two of Fortnite? Whatever it is, help him carve out an uninterrupted hour TV time.
  39. Wear that thing you know he likes. Yep, that’s the one.
  40. Vacuum the car. Clear all the juice boxes, wrappers, shards of Goldfish, and whatever other crap might be in the corners and crevices. Don’t tell him. Just let him open the door and not see chaos.
  41. Speaking of the car: Buy a bag of jelly beans or a snack he enjoys and put it in the cup holder.
  42. Give him a from-behind hug when he’s making dinner or doing the dishes. Burrow your nose into his neck. A brief, tender display of affection goes a long way.
  43. Plan an epic Nerf gun battle royal. Psych up the kids and give dad the best weapon so he has a fighting chance. Watch him run wild.
  44. If you have the opportunity — and know he won’t be in a meeting — swing by and visit him at work in the middle of the day.
  45. Buy some good coffee beans. Get up early and pour him a cup of coffee.
  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. Let him sleep in for 15 minutes longer. Or if he’s up, take care of the kids so he can have 15 peaceful minutes of scrolling through Instagram before the day begins.
  48. Make some time for him to exercise.
  49. Buy a nice pint of ice cream. Pull out the pint the next time you’re sitting on the couch, preparing for a Netflix binge. Let him take down the entire pint if he so desires.
  50. Tell him you love him. And that he’s doing a great job.