Strengthen That Bond! 10 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR TWEEN
by Michele Ranard
If you parent a tween, then you probably know how easily tweens can become TOO BUSY, even for you! It is an important time in your parenting to be intentional about ways to connect with them since they probably spend more time than ever with their peers. While their social life is important, the following tips may help strengthen bonds with family members.
1. Pull a Paula Deen.Trying out a new recipe is a great way to bond, whether your culinary attempts are a disaster or success. My own kids loved to help make yeast breads and bagels, and because of the rising time, they linger much longer than if we simply make waffles. BONUS: It is hard to be cranky when the whole house smells like heavenly fresh bread, and baking skills are a wonderful addition to their resume.
2. Make their peeps feel welcome. Truly this is one of the best ways to see more of your kids. Sometimes the presence of their friends loosens them up and better facilitates certain discussions than if you were alone, so do take advantage.
3. Catch a flick. Take turns choosing the film, it will give you an opportunity to share your favorite movies or actors they (and you) may otherwise never see.
4. Get nostalgic. Tweens and teens love to hear about funny things they said and did when they were little. The stories never get old and often trigger more stories and memories you may have forgotten.Share a few tales of your own childhood and tweenhood.Laugh your guts out.
5. Share favorite youTubes. My kids have introduced me to some of the most hilarious videos only kids their age could discover.Laughing together is sweet relief from all the inescapable daily nagging.
6. Dine together. Sometimes this can feel nearly impossible as you and your kids head in different directions for the gym, lessons, or sports, but it is important to carve out the time. It doesn’t have to be dinner.If everyone is available for a long leisurely Saturday morning breakfast, go for it. Think about allowing them to take turns choosing the restaurant and insist that everyone unplug all technology.
7. Inquire about highs and lows. Since adolescents are notorious for grunting and mono-syllabic responses, regularly ask them to report on their high (the best thing that happened all day) and their low (the worst). It is as healthy for them to reflect on these experiences as it is for you to be aware of them.
8. Create memories BETWEEN holidays. Do not wait for a holiday or birthday to be concerned about special moments. Light candles and play fun music on a Tuesday night when it’s just spaghetti on the menu. Bake something special on a random night, plating it creatively like a chic restaurant.Surprise them on a weeknight by announcing you’re all going bowling. Treat them to a one-on-one lunch at their favorite spot.
9. Think love notes. It can be difficult to find the right moment to express what is on your heart, but tweens need to know how much you cherish them. Take the time to record your gratitude for them and leave the message somewhere special like on their pillow. They may never mention it, but it will make a difference.
10. Be a road warrior. Sometimes the best way to re-connect with family is by putting some miles between you and where the daily grind happens.Even if it is a day trip, find ways to make the road trip more pleasant, and do set ground rules i.e. no arguing or discussing sore subjects like grades and school work.
In the blink of an eye, your tween will be a teen, and all of these tips are relevant to that stage of young adulthood as well!
Michele Ranard has two children, a master’s in counseling, and a blog at hellolovelychild.blogspot.com.