5 Dads on Playing Princesses

  by Chris Horst

At dadcraft, we believe we’re in this together as dads. Fathering can be isolating, so there’s great benefit to helping each other out as fellow dads on this journey. As a father of two boys, I’ve always been awed watching the sometimes different universes fathers of girls occupy. It’s not quite like watching The Discovery Channel profile other species, but it’s close. Of particular intrigue to me has been this phenomena of “princesses”—a magical world of pinks, tiaras, and tutus. To help you navigate this world, five dads share their time-tested advice:

From fellow dad, Daniel, father of four girls (Wichita, KS):

Fully embrace the princesses. Learn the idiosyncrasies that make each princess different. As an example, when my 3-year-old draws crayon globs of pink and blue stick figures, I not only tell her that her princesses are beautiful, but—to her utmost delight—I call them by name. In the years leading up to parenthood did I foresee my need to appreciate Disney princessology? Not so much. But I can see now that sharing in my daughters’ passions has added pleasure and joy to our relationships.

Blast the princess music. Be the Beast, dancing in a sport coat and basketball shorts because for that day—at that moment—you are the object of their affection. In my mind and experience, there is little the world has to offer that’s richer than this kind of love.

From fellow dad, Jeff, father of four girls (Denver, CO):

Let it go. Sit down, let them stick hair binders on your head, and make sure to pick the toe nail polish color well. When you’re at the gym next, you’ll definitely have some explaining to do…but it’s well worth it. You’ll be the “cool dad” to your daughter’s friends for weeks to come.

Then, clearly explain what a real princess is. No, Barbie is not a real princess. Neither is Princess Sofia. A princess dresses modestly, shares her toys, respects her daddy—the king— and doesn’t date until she’s thirty.

Finally, treasure the moment. Remember that before you know it, your little princess will be wearing a wedding gown of her own and you’ll be giving her away to her prince. So while she’s still inviting you to dance with her, dance away.

From fellow dad, Darren, father of one girl (Millville, NJ):

When you throw a princess birthday party, it will likely consist of a lot of little girls and their moms. As dads, we have to bring the energy. And by energy, I mean bring lots of coffee. At my daughter’s party, I brought two carafes of coffee and some pastry platters to keep the party going. The few fathers that came appreciated the coffee, which allowed us to embrace the realities of being a father of girls.

Speaking of parties, birthday parties have a tendency to break the bank, and a princess party certainly does not come cheap. But, once you decide to move forward, don’t let the cost affect your thoughts toward the party. Embrace the experience as a memory that won’t soon be forgotten. It is these experiences, not money, that bring real wealth into our lives.

From fellow dad, Andy, father of two girls (Bloomington, IN):

I grew up with three brothers, so playing princesses wasn’t something I had experienced. But I’ve learned on-the-fly.

My advice? Turn anything into a costume. Lace and gowns—of course. But if you can’t get those, or don’t want to buy a costume, then try tin foil!  Little girls love anything that resembles a gown or jewelry. Some newspaper wrapped in tin foil makes a great princess hat. Paper towel roll plus + tin foil? You’ve got the princess wand! Girl dads have to be resourceful.

From dadcraft founding partner, Eric Brown, father of one girl (Chattanooga, TN):

Every morning around 6:30am I feel her presence in the room. She’s silent because she thinks I’m asleep. I peak one eye open and give myself away. Without hesitation she proclaims, “Morning, Daddy! Princess dress?”

This is her morning routine, which is now my morning routine. We walk to her room and she picks between Belle, Elsa, Anna, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella dresses.  She twirls and I tell her she looks beautiful. She giggles and says, “Fank you.” Her day begins.

My mother’s favorite quote is, “We don’t remember days, we remember moments.” I’m learning these moments and routines with my daughter will forever shape her. My role is to show up everyday and help her pick out the princess dress. It might be the most important thing I do today.


Postcript: If you want to help your little princess(es) expand their palate, these movies are a few of our favorites.

Picture by Jorge Barahona; used via Unsplash license. Amazon links are affiliate links.