When our kids get older, it becomes harder and harder to connect with them. But as parents, it’s especially important for us to continue to put in the extra effort it takes to cultivate relationships with our tweens and teens. Check out my top ten ideas for engaging your teen in activities you’ll both enjoy:
Learn a new skill as a team. Decide together what you’d like to learn and go for it. Cooking, photography, music, and art classes are regular offerings in most communities. Or learn how to kayak, play golf, or tennis. Really feeling adventurous? Learn a foreign language together!
Play a game. Sure traditional board games are great, but teens are hooked on their electronics and there are lots of fun games that you can enjoy with them. For instance, play a game of ‘Words With Friends’ on your smart phones. Start a two player game on a tablet. Even see what those video games of theirs are all about. I promise, it will be fun!
Complete a project. If you’re like me, then you probably have a lot of projects around your house that need completing! Whether you wash the cars, paint a room, or work in the yard together, there’s a lot of satisfaction (and bonding) that comes from finishing a project together. Or pick a DIY Pinterest inspired activity or craft and work with your teen to get it completed.
Share your hobbies. Think about the things you like to do. Now share those interests with your kids. It could be taking them to your painting class, letting them make a scrapbook with you, or bringing them along to set up your fantasy football team.
Learn about their hobbies too. Have them play some of their favorite music for you and tell you about why they like it. Watch a movie they love together. Then let them tell you about their other interests and see where you can find common ground.
Have them teach you. Are you lost when it comes to social media? When someone asks you to upload or download something do you even know what they are talking about? Well, guess what? You teen knows all these things. Have them give you some tutorials. You’ll know more and be impressed with how technologically savvy they are!
Plan a trip. Get your teens help planning your next family vacation or a day trip for just the two of you. They can get involved with finding a hotel room, getting directions, scheduling activities, and learning about the place you’ll be visiting.
Schedule a date. Get their opinion on what they’d like to do and schedule some time together to make it happen. And don’t worry, your date doesn’t have to cost a lot! Get creative and look at what’s being offered in your community that you can both enjoy. Or take your hammocks to the park and just relax.
Get moving. A great way to connect with your teen is to exercise together. You can go for a walk, run, or bike ride or work out together at the gym. Participating in an organized race will also be an experience you will both enjoy, such as a 5K, color (see picture!) run, or mud run.
Volunteer. Last but not least, volunteer your time together. From mission trips to a morning at the local food pantry, there are ample opportunities for you and your teen to help others. Look at the options in your community and decide together where you’d like to help.
What do you and your teen like to do together? For more tips on this topic, check out my post Quality Time With Teens.