It can be difficult to find ways to give teens positive attention. Now that they’ve outgrown a lot of childhood activities, it may be more difficult to find family activities they're interested in.
The teen years are also the time when young people begin to spend more time with friends than family. And without a concerted effort to create quality family time, many teens begin to drift apart from their parents.
Although it’s developmentally normal for teens to become increasingly independent, it is essential to invest your energy into maintaining a good relationship—even when you have trouble communicating.
Rather than emphasize the quantity of time you spend together, focus on creating quality time together. Here are 10 ways to create quality time to spend with your teen, even if it's just a few minutes each day.
1. Turn off the Electronics
If you’re like most families these days, electronics are likely to get in the way of face-to-face communication. Set limits on screen time for the entire family. And establish a household rule that says electronics need to be shut off at certain times.
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Set aside a “no electronics” time at least once a week. Even if it’s just for an hour, shut off all TVs, computers and cell phones and see what happens. It’s likely you’ll have a much better chance at getting your teen to talk to you.
2. Eat Dinner Together
Eating dinner—or at least one meal per day together—can create an opportunity to talk to your teen. During meal times, shut off the electronics and focus on the conversation. It can be the best way to find out about your teen’s day.
3. Step Into Your Teen’s World
It’s likely that your teen enjoys things you know nothing about. Be willing to step into your teen’s world, even when it’s not something you particularly enjoy.
For example, if your teen enjoys video games, try playing a game together. Let your teen teach you about it or show you something new.
4. Do Something Active
Sometimes teens aren’t much for just sitting and talking. But, if you get them to play catch or do something that gets you moving, it can lead to more natural conversations.
5. Do Something Nice for Others Together
There’s something about doing a good deed that really helps improve a relationship. Whether you make a meal for a neighbor or volunteer for a community service project, it can do wonders for your relationship. It can give you time to talk and can also help your teen see the value in helping others.
6. Go for a Drive Together
Car rides can be an excellent way to strike up a conversation. One of the good things about riding in a car is that you don’t have to make eye contact. This can help many teens feel more comfortable bringing up uncomfortable subjects.
7. Go for a Walk
Not only does going for a walk give you an added health benefit, but it can also be a good way to spend quality time with your teen. A stroll around the neighborhood gets you away from all the distractions at home and it can give you a chance to talk privately.
8. Do a Project Together
Although many teens might complain about having to get involved in a project, they often enjoy it once they get started. Whether you’re washing your car or painting a room, invite your teen to get involved.
9. Teach Your Teen Something New
Show your child how to do something new. Whether you can pass on your cooking skills or you can help your teen learn Chinese, offer to help your teen learning something new.
Don’t force it if your teen isn’t interested. However, you will often find they’re very interested in understanding how you do the things you do.
10. Schedule a Family Night
Set aside time for the entire family to spend time together. Whether you choose to play board games once a month or watch a movie once a week, make it a tradition. This can be important toward building a quality relationship with your teen.