1. Play Together. When your daughter is young, start to play catch, shoot hoops, jump rope, or toss a Frisbee. Learn to snowboard, ride a bike together, or field goal kicks. Make fitness activities part of your father-daughter bonding. The most active girls have dads who are active with them!
2. Listen & Encourage: Focus on what your daughter thinks, believes, feels, dreams and does. Applaud her positive mental and physical sporting qualities. Help her develop her strengths. When you value your daughter for her true self, you give her the confidence to achieve her goals.
3. Educate Yourself: Learn about gender equity in sports. Applaud local programs if the girls are being treated fairly, educate yourself and advocate on the girls behalf if they are not.
4. Give the Gift of Sport. For birthdays and give your daughter new inline skates, a skimboard, a basketball, private coaching lessons, or her favorite female athlete’s jersey.
5. Take Her Out to a Ball Game: Take your daughter to professional and collegiate women’s sporting events. Support the athletes in the NCAA, WNBA, WTA, WPSL, etc. The girl power showcased might inspire her to set new goals.
6. Eat Well: Support healthy eating habits. Help your daughter build strong muscles and bones by providing her with a well-balanced diet. And lead by example – eat healthy meals and snacks yourself.
7. Watch TV Together: Make an effort to watch women’s sports on television together. Expose your daughter to new events and heroines while teaching yourself that there’s more to TV than Monday Night Football.
8. Get Involved. Volunteer to drive, coach, referee, or be a team parent. Show up at games. Bring snacks, organize team parties, and support your daughter’s athletic efforts whenever possible.
9. Support Positive Messages for Girls: Watch programs that portray smart savvy girls. Subscribe to healthy girl-edited magazines and visit online girl-run “’zines” and websites. Help make the word a better place by discouraging messages that exploit or degrade girls and women.
10. Show Your Support: Encourage your daughter’s endeavors. Respect her choices. When watching her games, be a cheerleader, not a coach. And check www.prettytough.com often for more tips and ways to engage your daughter in sports.
adapted from DadsandDaughters.org