Hey Dads! If you want to see a great big smile on your little girl’s face, tell her you are taking her out for ice cream, or to the new Disney movie, or to a Whitecaps game, dressed as a fairy princess! These are just a few of the events enjoyed by the members of Daddy Daughter Time.
Todd Chance, creator of Daddy Daughter Time (DDT), has made it his mission to provide information, share tips, and plan events for fathers with daughters, this includes facilitating networking with others dads. Chance, the father of a 5-year-old daughter, states his basic goal to “get dads to spend more time with their daughters.”
The role of fathers in today’s society is changing. Although the media continues to perpetuate the image of dads as the lovable, bumbling parent, while mothers are shown as the glue that holds it all together, many dads are now practicing “intentional parenting,” trading hours at the office to purposefully spend time with their families. This is especially important in the area of raising daughters. Studies have proven that fathers are very influential in their daughter’s lives, especially true when it comes to self-esteem and decision-making. Meg Meeker, MD, who has specialized in pediatric and adolescent medicine, states, “To become a strong confident woman, a daughter needs her father’s attention, protection, courage, and wisdom.”
In West Michigan, it is easy for moms to find resources and support systems. A simple Google search reveals groups such as MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), Moms In Touch, MOMS (Mothers of Many Seasons), MOT (Mothers of Twins), and even such events as a “Mom-to-Mom” sale.
For dads, such resources barely exist.
Chance, facing a divorce, found himself raising his young daughter as a single father. “I was required to prepare three meals a day, know the ins and out of toileting and personal hygiene for a female, and to fix her hair in the morning,” he laughed, shaking his head. Other dads have faced the same issues, being a single parent or not. For example, five years ago there were rarely changing stations in the men’s room. “Men many times get the short end of the stick when it comes to raising kids.”
Chance began a blog about Daddies and Daughters to give fathers a resource on raising young girls. Dads “know they play a role on how her life will turn out,” states Chance. He found hundreds of fathers on the path of intentional parenting, working to play a vital role in the lives of their daughters.
The first DDT event was a free ice cream social at Jersey Junction in 2013. The daddy/daughter date night was a success! Another signature event was The Big Braid in which dads learned the basics of hair-styling and the girls got a mini-makeover. Princess Night at Fifth Third Ballpark drew flocks of princesses, and their daddies, to cheer on the Whitecaps in lovely gowns and tiaras. The need for dads to come together to share information and encourage one another was growing.
DDT began scheduling regular free events, one each month, for the first year. Chance, who was working with vendors to facilitate discounts, was paying for the excess out of his own pocket. As the project grew the blog became a Facebook page, and then a well-designed website. This year DDT received a sponsorship from the Bissell Corporation, allowing them to continue to expand. “We wanted the events to continue to be free or low-cost so as not to stop anyone from coming,” states Chance, “However, we have found that the cost is not the issue for many, it is the convenience of having an event planned for them in advance—all they have to do is register if it is something they are interested in attending.”
For the first time, DDT has a membership program which allows dads to choose individual monthly events they would like to attend or purchase a yearly membership with full access to the website, all events, and a monthly newsletter. The DDT website offers invaluable information such as a breakdown on every Disney princess (a daddy need-to-know), a list of monthly events and activities in Grand Rapids, books and resources for Dads, and at-home activities to do with your daughter. DDT is not limited to single fathers. It is open to all fathers who seek to show their daughters how special they are while networking with other men about being the best role model for their daughters.
Chance ends each event with a mission assignment for both dads and daughters. For dads, it is to spread the word about Daddy Daughter Time. For daughters, it is to thank their daddy, give them a hug, and tell them you love them. The big smiles and genuine hugs make it all worthwhile.
“Little girls learn by watching the example of their fathers,” states Chance. As the concept of intentional parenting takes hold, fathers are no longer driven to work 50-60 hours a week in order to spend valuable time with their families. It is Chance’s passion that fathers seek to raise their daughters with purpose and love. With time and wisdom, Chance hopes he will see DDT branching out to cities across America.
Coming events with DDT include:
February 20, 2016 – Sky Zone and Sundaes!
March 5, 2016 – DDT Chocolate Factory!
April 9, 2016 – Spring Fling Daddy/Daughter Dance at Noto’s Old World Dining
May 21, 2016 – DDT Night at the Movies – “Zootopia”
June 19, 2016 – Big Braid 4
(Times, dates, and events are subject to change. Please check website)
Daddy Daughter Time is continuing to search for sponsors. If you are interested in sponsorship or would like to explore membership with DDT, please visit the website DaddyDaughterTime.com.