Daddy-Daughter Dates: Benefits and Ideas

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It’s that season again… That’s right, Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away.

I know some people boycott that “greeting card holiday,” and others see it as one more chance to show their love. To each his own, I suppose. But I also believe a lot of good things happen during February because there are father-daughter dances taking place all over the country. They are often fantastic events, and a lot of fun.

This week I heard about the annual Father-Daughter Dance in Valdosta, Georgia. It’s the biggest one in the country, and maybe the world. This is their 18th year holding the city-wide event, and they expect 5,200 to attend! They’ve had to offer four different sessions over two evenings just to accommodate all the dads and daughters.

How to Be a Daddy-Daughter Dates: Benefits and IdeasAnd it’s spreading; based on the popularity of the Valdosta event, similar things are happening in cities around that region—and they’ll share their insights if you’d like to start an event in your area.

Now, let me repeat: to each his own. Maybe the dancing thing isn’t for you and your daughter, or maybe the event in your area doesn’t work into your schedule. But I do want to reinforce the great value of taking your daughter on dates.

For one thing, it’s just fun to go out one-on-one with your daughter. Also, when you’re out together doing something she enjoys, chances are it will be easier for her to open up and share ideas or just talk about what’s going on in her life.

And one of the biggest reasons for these dates is modeling. Your girls will probably have to sift through a lot of questionable characters before she finds a good one to spend time with—and even the good ones sometimes have lapses as they mature and learn about relationships.

As a father, you need to prepare your daughter for that, and daddy-daughter dates can play an important role. Even if your daughter is still years away from a serious relationship, you can start setting an example for how she should expect to be treated by a man.

Every so often—at least once or twice a year—you need to dress up, buy flowers, book dinner reservations at someplace semi-fancy and make it a “date”—whether it’s a formal February event or something you arrange.

Some other ideas for daddy-daughter time:

  • Hang out together at the local bookstore coffeehouse.
  • Movies and sports events can work for dates, but make sure you go for ice cream afterward, or do something else that gives you plenty of time to talk.
  • Do something physical, like riding bikes, golf, rollerblading, or racquetball.
  • Go for a drive around town and see the sights and watch people.
  • Even shopping can be fun—and can bring up opportunities to talk about modesty.

If none of this sounds thrilling to you, please remember, dad: It’s not about you. This is an opportunity to invest yourself in your daughter, and remind her that she’s highly valued and loved. And if things are tense with her at home, then you both might need a reminder that you can laugh and have fun together.

What’s the best date you’ve had with your daughter? Tell us about it—and post a photo—either below or on our Facebook page.

A Few MORE Action Points for Dads on the Journey

  • Make sure you take photos—either before you leave or while you’re doing something fun.
  • Be tourists in your own city.
  • Get 80+ more great date ideas in this book by Rob Teigen.
  • If you’re married, of course plan something romantic for your bride also. Having a daddy-daughter date if you haven’t gone out with your wife in six months would not be cool.


Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who lives out loving, coaching and modeling for my children.


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  1. When each of my daughters turned 5 they got to go on monthly “Daddy/Daughter Dates.” Usually it was a trip to McDonalds and as they were in elementary school it was breakfast at Bob Evans before school. It was not always super fancy but special time together. I recall once when they were both in High School, one a Senior the other a Freshman they came to me and asked me to take them both out to dinner and to the play. Now they are married to wonderful, godly men that my wife and I dearly love. I believe those investments in time and relationship building when they were younger set the stage for them to be led to the men God has given them for life partners.

    Let me add that when my son came along, we didn’t call them “dates” because, “That’s just too weird Dad.” But we had our times together as well. Now he too is a young adult just starting his post college career. The level of adult relationship we have is amazing. I encourage every Dad, don’t be too busy to invest time in your children’s lives. It does not have to be “over the top.” They simply want time and focused attention from you.

    • Drew Soleyn says:

      I couldn’t agree more. The time and energy put into our children is the most important investment we can make. I have twin girls about to celebrate their first birthday and it’s been the greatest joy to see them develop to this stage. I will heed your advice, and the continual reminders from as our family grows.

  2. I would like to see some more tips about how to get a fathers interest in interaction with his child when he hasnt been active in their life most of their life. Whether the child is grown or still a young child!

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