How can you spend more quality time with your teen?
Photo by Daria Tumanova on Unsplash
When you’re the parent of a younger child, you may find plenty of opportunities to spend quality time with them. For example, you can do mommy-and-me classes, crafts, baking, reading, or pretty much anything.
As your kids get older, it becomes more challenging to find ways to spend quality time with them. This is especially true for teenagers. Teenagers have busy schedules, and they’re also focused on spending time with their friends.
It’s easy to feel like you’re losing touch with your child during their teen years, but there are still ways you can maintain a strong relationship and spend quality time with them.
Spend time doing useful things together
There are a lot of important milestones in the teen years. One of the big ones is when your teenager starts learning to drive and then gets their license. This can be a great way to spend quality time with your teen. Work with them frequently as they learn to drive and be present and fully engaged with them during this time.
Not only is it a chance to bond, but if you help your teen learn the rules of the road and get ample practice behind the wheel, they’re going to be better prepared to drive on their own, and this can reduce the likelihood they’re involved in an accident.
Something else that’s important in your teen’s life is applying to colleges, so make this a bonding opportunity too. Talk with them about schools, help them prepare for the SAT or ACT, and plan to visit the campuses they’re interested in.
Your teen wants to feel like you’re interested in the things that are important to them.
Do volunteer work together
Teens often do volunteer work either because it’s part of a class they’re in or to put it on their college resume. You can go along with them when they volunteer, and it’ll be a great experience for both of you as well as a bonding opportunity.
Learn something new together
There are different ways you can learn a new skill with your teen. For example, maybe you take a cooking class or a dancing class together. Then you have not only the time that you’re spending in the actual class that you share, but you also have a common interest. If you’re not sure what type of class or skill to learn, ask your teen what they’re interested in.
It’s easy to feel a bit awkward when you’re spending one-on-one time with your teen because teens aren’t known for being the most forthcoming with a conversation. To combat this possible initial awkwardness, doing something active can help.
If you think you have a good idea for something you can do with your teen and they’re not interested, don’t try to force it.
Put yourself in your teen’s world
The teen years are a time when your child has their own life outside of the family in many ways.
This could include sports, social activities, and maybe even a part-time job.
Try and get involved in these different parts of your teen’s life as much as you can.
A lot of parents want to spend more time with their teens and be closer to them, but they forget to do something very important—ask their teen what it is they like and are interested in.
Set aside some time every day
Spending quality time with your teen doesn’t have to involve hours and hours of time or setting aside chunks of time for major outings. It can also be as simple as dedicating 15 to 20 minutes to talk with your teen every day. Make it part of your routine.
Maybe you do it at night before they go to bed, for example.
Finally, teens need guidance and they need boundaries, but they also don’t want to feel like they’re constantly being criticized. When you’re spending quality time together, don’t interrogate and don’t try to make everything a teachable moment.
There’s plenty of other time for that, and if your teen gets the feeling that quality time is just a code word for lectures and criticism, they’re not going to be interested. Let all that go when you’re enjoying time together.
Teens aren’t necessarily as tough as we might think, but it does require effort to connect with them on a regular basis. Start by asking your teen what he or she would like to do, rather than trying to guess and then go from there.