If your daughter is young and attends school:

  • Sign up to help regularly in her classroom.
  • Volunteer to drive for and/or chaperone her field trips.
  • Stay during her after-school lesson or sports practice, watching her, rather than stopping by to pick her up later. (Even if this is just once in awhile, it will make an impact on her.)

If your daughter is older and/or driving by now or living on her own:

  • Buy tickets to a play, concert, or special attraction that the two of you can attend together.
  • Schedule a weekly or monthly lunch with her (even if she's still living at home).
  • Take her shopping for her or her children.
  • Suggest a book or Bible study the two of you can go through together (even if over the phone).
  • Talk weekly via phone if she is living far away and text her often just to tell her you're thinking of her (whether she lives with you or not).

2. Listen for what's important to her and join her there. Is she often talking about something in particular? That means it's important to her. Ask her questions about it, which will show your interest, but avoid the tendency to give your opinion or criticize quickly.

3. Learn how to draw her heart closer to yours. Become a student of your daughter's. Study her. Learn what resonates with her heart and invest in it. Pick up on the little things she likes and start incorporating them into your day or week. Whatever takes time and is spent on her will translate to her that she is important to you.

4. Lose the Phone. I have to say it: Put down the phone. I have regretted many times taking a call when my daughter was talking to me and realizing later, after seeing the look on her face, that she felt she had been "bumped" by someone else I appeared to consider more important than her . If you are expecting a call during time you are spending with your daughter, tell her ahead of time and ask "do you mind if I take this call?" just like you would if you were having a conversation with a friend or co-worker. It will help her to see that she's not really being pushed aside for someone else more important. Better yet, leave the phone at home, turned off, or on silent.

For more ways to give your daughter the gift of your time, download my free article "Suggestions for Mother-Daughter Memory Making." 

Cindi McMenamin is a national women's conference and retreat speaker and the author of a dozen books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 100,000 copies sold), When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, and When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, upon which this article is based. For more on her books and ministry, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Publication date: September 10, 2013