Five ways to connect with your tweens
The transition from child to teenager can be a tricky time for everyone in the family. Here are five ways you can still spend quality time with them.
Being a tween is a tricky time. Pulled between the worlds of childhood and becoming a teenager, it can be hard to know where you fit, and where the boundaries between the two worlds exist.
Parenting a tween can also be tricky. The things they used to love as younger children no longer hold interest, and it can be hard to keep up with their new independence and desire for all things grown up.
And that’s without adding in any of the biological stuff like hormones that start to kick in around this age…
All of this means that keeping that connection between parent and child is super important. It’s important at any age, but as you navigate these uncertain waters, having a strong bond will help you both make it through.
But how can you stay connected? Especially when it seems that everything you suggest is now boring, and your tween seems more interested in their tech devices than anything you may have to offer.
It doesn’t have to be hard. We’ve put together a few things that you can your tween can share, and hopefully will give you an opportunity to keep that connection strong.
1. In the kitchen
Whether it’s baking, having fun icing cupcakes, trying a new recipe, or teaching your tween the basics of preparing a family meal, spending time together in the kitchen gives you lots of opportunity to chat about the big, and small things of your day.
Even just giving them a job, such as peeling the carrots for the evening meal, which shouldn’t take more than ten minutes, opens the door. Don’t underestimate these small moments – they are the things that can build and become the big ones.
If you’re looking for ways to get started, this article has some great tips.
2. Book worm
Try and pick a novel that you loved as a young adult (or check out some of the amazing new talent out there) and take it turns to read a chapter each night out loud. It will give you a shared topic to discuss, and while it’s not a huge time investment, it’s focused time that you’re spending together.
And once you start discussing the characters, it’s very easy to start jumping into the parallels (or not) that you can spot in your own world.
3. Craft corner
That’s one big benefit of a tween though… longer attention spans and not quite as messy as a toddler. It makes the whole process one we can enjoy much more together, and quick little activities, such as creating a comic strip about our day, or settling in for some colouring (find out more about the benefits of colouring here) together are great ways to grab her interest.
4. Get tech
Apart from the benefits of setting a good example around privacy, positive online behaviours and doing a tiny bit of checking up on them (not that I’d admit that to her) – it’s given us a common thing to discuss.
And she really values the time we spend together, with me learning what’s important in her world, instead of always trying to tell her what’s important in mine.
Check out this article about the time I dove into the world of Pokemon Go with her for more.
5. Gardening good
While I’ve certainly no green thumb, there’s still something satisfying about getting outside and into the garden. Depending how old your tween is, the lure of being allowed to play with dirt, or maybe push a mower around, is often enough to spark their interest.
You don’t need to start a major landscaping project… We’ve cultivated a small succulent garden, and tried growing veggies (which unfortunately our Chihuahua decided needed to go); it’s the time spent outside together, doing fairly mindless things, that’s been the biggest benefit.
Finally, just remember it’s the small moments. Grab those seconds when you can… driving in the car on the way home from school, unpacking the dishwasher, or making the school lunches together. Those small moments, even just ten minutes a day, can make all the difference.