Bonding with my kids was very easy when they were little. Once they began to reach the tween age and then (eek!) teenagers, it became much harder. I even have one who is done being a teen—and no, it has not gotten any easier. How do you keep bonding with your children as they get older and you have less in common? Here are the 5 ways that I engage with my kids—maybe it will work for you too!
Top 5 ways to engage your teen
- Pokémon Go: My kids have joined this craze that is sweeping the nation. I am not very good at it but they love to try to teach me to be a better Pokémon master. We all get exercise as we try to capture the Pokémon we do not have yet. It is a great way to bond with my kids and for them to laugh along with me as we learn more about the new city we live in. Would I choose to play Pokémon Go by myself? Heck no! But when I go and play with my teens we really have a good time!
- Play Video Games: My teens love to play video games. They usually are playing and laughing and having a great time with their online friends. But if I sit next to them and ask them to explain the game to me they really love to bring me into their world. And when I try to play, laughter often ensues. I am terrible at video games and if I can get the grouchy teens to laugh at me as I play their games terribly I call it another win!
- Cooking: I have always encouraged my kids to cook with me. Whatever I did must work because my oldest son became a chef. When your kids are hungry you should tell them to look in a cookbook or look online and find a good recipe to make for the family. Yes, your kitchen will look like a tornado hit it. Your children will be so proud to serve what they made to their family members. Whatever kids make they are more likely to eat. Cooking is a great way to bond in the kitchen as well. We talk about the ingredients, the steps to make the recipe, and how good it smells and how quickly we will eat it all.
- Reading: I love to read. Unfortunately I only passed the reading gene down to 1 of my 5 kids. I love to cuddle with them and get them interested in a book. More often than not, they will grab the book away from me after the first chapter or two and say, “hey, I want to read this book by myself”. I then pat myself on the back and say, good job mom! Choosing the right book is key. Teens often love to read animated or comic type books. Maybe they might even enjoy reading on a Kindle or electronic device better than holding a book. Whatever way you can get them to read is awesome!
- Watch TV: This suggestion is pretty obvious. What I want you to do is ask your teen what their favorite TV show is right now. Then ask them if you can watch the first episode with them so they can explain the show to you and again, feel like an expert. Watching together will bring you closer and give you lots to talk about as well. Show you are interested in your teens and you might be surprised how much they will give back to you. You might hate some of the TV shows they love (I know I do) but it is worth it to engage and get involved in your kids’ lives.
My best tip for you is to pay attention to what your kids like to do and then try to get involved in that same activity. Ask them to teach you more about it. Your kids will love to feel like the expert and it will hopefully bring you in closer as you learn to embrace their activities.