Many parents find themselves struggling to connect with their teens. The life of a teen is busy; filled with school, sports and friends. Teens often become disconnected from their family units as their focus shifts more towards their friends and activities. Remember, this is totally normal teenage behavior. When this inevitably occurs, here are 15 things you can do to spend a little extra bonding time with your teen.
Cook Dinner Together
Break out the cookbooks and let them pick a recipe for the night. Working in the kitchen allows you to spend quality time together and teaches them valuable life skills. You’re the sous chef tonight, so let them take the lead! It’s more fun for them and worse case, you end up ordering pizza and have a good laugh.
Choose an activity that you’re both interested in and make it a date. Get those endorphins flowing by playing tennis, kicking around a soccer ball, or trying something new together like signing up for a boxing class to learn some new moves.
Shopping together allows you to learn about your teens’ evolving styles and interests. Be clear about the amount of money you’re willing to spend, but let them take the reins about what stores to hit. You’re encouraging them to share their interests and spending time together doing so.
Have a Family Game Night
Has anyone ever actually finished a game of monopoly? That’s up for debate, but either way breaking out the board games, or whatever game of choice, is a fun and free way to spend some quality time together as a family. Get your teens even more engaged by raising the stakes, the winner gets out of trash duty for the week!
No matter your age, it’s hard not to have fun go-karting. This is a fun, engaging way to spend a little extra time with that teen of yours. Major brownie points for you if you let them invite a few friends to tag along.
Go For a Hike
Hiking may not be every teen’s ideal activity, but it’s a great way to spend time together and give you a chance to talk about what’s going on in their lives. Teens spend so much time in front of a screen, it’s valuable to take a break and be reminded of the beauty in the world around them.
Learn a New Skill Together
It’s easy to think parents just know how to do everything but that’s not the case. Learning a new skill together lets you connect over a shared experience. Encourage your teen to take the lead on choosing something they’re interested in.
Plant a Garden
Head to your local garden shop and have your teen pick out a handful of seeds they want to plant. Work together to plant and tender those seeds and hopefully, in a few months you’ll have some ingredients to use in those homemade dinners you’re cooking together!
Explore a New City
Exploring new places doesn’t have to cost a ton of money, chances are the next town over has a few hidden gems. You’ll have plenty of time to talk and connect while you spend the afternoon walking around downtown and finding the best ice cream shop.
You may be past the stage of tucking them in, but make an effort to say goodnight each night.
This small gesture reminds your teen you’re always there. Linger an extra minute and they may start opening up their exciting weekend plans. Just be sure to knock before entering!
Community service is probably not on the top of your teen’s list but it’s important for them to experience it. This exposes them to the areas of the community that are less fortunate and teaches them compassion. Doing it together is a reminder to be thankful for the life they have while being of service to others.
Listen to Their Favorite Artist
Instead of listening to their headphones every time, you’re in the car, give your teen control of the music. Encourage them to show you some of the songs that are on their go-to playlist. Music is huge for teens, chances are they’ll enjoy showing you their favorites and appreciate your interest.
Trace Your Family Tree
It’s easier now than ever to learn about where you came from. There are plenty of websites that let you trace your genealogy and learn about your family history. You and your teen can bond over the crazy antics of great-great-grandpa Paul.
Choose a Show to Watch as a Family
Streaming services provide endless choices for shows to watch as a family. Introduce your kids to the shows you watched as a teen and watch them giggle about how different things were back in the day.
As your teen grows so does their taste and style. Chances are they’re going to be itching to spruce up that childhood bedroom. Redoing their room together is a fantastic way to get some quality time in while doing something they will appreciate and enjoy for years to come.
Whatever you do, be sure to relax and have fun. True bonding comes from the time you spend together making memories. It is one of the best investments that you can make with your teenager. Good luck, you got this!