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7 Rules for Father’s Day from real dads

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

What dads wish you knew

What are some rules dads wish we knew to make their Father’s Day awesome? We asked real dads their list of dos and don’ts for Father’s Day — and their answers will pleasantly surprise you.

Yes, a new putter may put a smile on his face, however most dads agree that what makes them happiest is actually something that doesn’t have a price tag at all.

Rule #1: Give dad the weekend off

Treion Muller knows a thing or two about rules for dads — as he literally wrote the book on it, called Dad Rules: A Simple Manual for a Complex Job. What is his top rule for Father’s Day?

"Give him the whole weekend off, not just Sunday. If he is like most dads he has likely come to believe in Dad Rule #15, Weekends are for children. And as such, he usually spends his weekends watching soccer games and doing chores around the house. He may still choose to do these things when asked, but give him the option to go fishing, or catch a baseball game or go biking. Remind him of what he used to like to do," says Muller.

Rule #2: Let him have his "Lucky Day"

Jack Forman, popular host of Live from the Monkey House on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live, says their family celebrates big occasions by letting the person of honor have a "Lucky Day."

"The rest of the family stands by with 100 percent flexibility while the person of honor decides what kind of adventure we'll go on," he says. "That could be an unexpected road trip to a mountain, a trip to a toy store, a special meal, a trip to the drum store or anything else that can be conceived. Ideally, it ends up being several things, with spontaneous diversions along the way. The beautiful thing about this tradition is everyone gets the payoff, and the celebrated person gets to be the executive director for the day. The only rule is the answer from the rest of the family has to be 'yes!'"

Guess what? He may decide he wants to do absolutely nothing that day but drink beer and watch sports — but let him (and don’t nag).

Rule #3: Ditch the generic Father’s Day cards

Ditch the store-bought Father's Day cards and give him something that is meaningful on Father's Day. Parenting expert, Daddy & Co founder and father of seven Daddy Nickell says he loves having his kids write stories to him on Father’s Day. "Have your kids write short stories highlighting why their dads are special and their favorite daddy-and-me moments. Once they are all finished, have the kids read the stories out loud to their proud papas at Father's Day dinner."

Rule #4: Let him decide his Father’s Day plans (but ask early)

In general, most men don’t like to plan ahead, however they will be glad they did plan once Father’s Day arrives. "Ask him now what he'd like to do, eat, get. Don't assume, and don't accept his likely 'I don't know' or 'I don't care' response. He does know and he does care if he had enough time to think about it. But start the process now," suggests Muller.

Rule #5: Know the plans aren't set in stone

Yes, we know that on most days you are the "keeper of the schedule" and have the family shuttling from baseball game to birthday parties, however on Father’s Day, try to take a more relaxed stance on the planned activities.

"In our house, there are really no rules to Father’s Day — just the way I like it," says entrepreneur and father of two Darren Magarro. "The most important thing for me on Father’s Day is to be with my family. I really enjoy the down time and don’t ask for anything other than a few cold beers, grilling and time to enjoy everyone without the worry of needing to be somewhere or previous engagements."

Rule #6: The best gift of all? Reassurance that he is a good dad

Michael R. Ivy says that even though fancy ties and sheep-lined slippers are nice, there is only one thing that he really wants for Father’s Day. "Ask most dads and they will tell you, we do not need gifts or huge expensive outings — all we need is them," he says.

"Come see me, give me a hug, sit and talk to me about your life and tell me you love me. That's all I need, the reassurance that I did a good job of being a dad, because as a dad I worry constantly that I am a failure. I did not make enough money, I couldn't pay for your college, I couldn't buy each of you a car, I never became a rock star or famous writer. No, instead I went to work every day, took care of myriad patients and enjoyed my career as a nurse. No, I never became rich, but I also was never poor because I had my family. Thank you for believing in me and being there for me."

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