Are you looking for some ways to help you connect with your teen over the holiday break and beyond?
Here are seven test-driven ideas to get you started:
Cooking a meal or a favorite dish or dessert together is one fun shared activity that encourages conversation. Some families may choose to include an old family recipe as an opportunity to include family memories and talk about family heritage.
Depending on how you approach the cooking activity, it could be fun at the planning phase (deciding on what you want to cook) (deciding on who you want to enjoy the cooking products with and how – is it going to be a casual setting or a party-like affair), the doing stage (cooking), as well as the eating phase (yum – enjoying the products of your labor).
Finally, taking pictures of the final product(s) and of everyone enjoying them could be a way of remembering this special time spent together!
2. Watching a Movie
One could do this either at home or in the movie theater. If you’re doing it at home, you probably want to prepare some popcorn and other snacks to go along with the entertainment.
While I have enjoyed both variations with my kids, my experience has been is that the home version is more of a bonding experience than the movie theater for the simple reason that you are allowed to talk during the movie.
That said, sometimes you all want to go see the new movie that just came out and/or you need a change of pace and want to get out… and if that’s the case, go out to the movie theater! The important thing is to have fun in whatever way you would like 🙂
3. Playing a Board Game
Playing a board game can be another great activity to do with your teen. You get to have fun together and just chill. Some games that come to mind are: Apples to Apples, Clue, Cranium Wow, Scattergories, Scrabble and Scene It? Playing one or more of these will definitely bring the child in you out to play again!
4. Getting a Digital Tool Update
Get to know and understand the various electronic gadgets that your teen uses because they may take up a good portion of your teen’s day…
What’s the best way of learning how to use your teen’s favorite digital tools? Ask your teen! This gives your teen a chance to take on the role of an expert (for a change) and helps you connect in a whole different way.
This means also getting to know how to play a video game or what Second Life is if your teen happens to be interested in gaming. As Mike Langlois recommends, don’t just show interest in your teen’s gaming activity by observing him/her playing, but also ask for guidance on how one plays and then play the game with your teen.
5. Interactive Video Games/Arts & Crafts
There are various interactive video games on the Wii and other consoles that allow for a whole family to participate in a sport like bowling, tennis, golf and skiing.
Arts and crafts can be another fun option. This could include digital photography, making a vision board (step one: think about a goal you’d like to achieve; step two: cut out pictures/words from magazines that depict this objective; step three: glue the items that you feel most describe your goal onto a board and hang this up on display), building something from items you have at home or any type of project that appeals to you.
6. Going Down Memory Lane
This involves spending time together going through old photos of yourself and other family members, remembering and reflecting upon past vacation trips and activities and various landmark events in your lives such as graduations and plays. Warning: reflecting upon past family activities may spark laughter, nostalgia and heartwarming discussions…
7. Planning for Special Parent-Teen Time After Holiday Break
Finally, planning to have some special parent-teen time once a week (even if it’s just for half of an hour) on a regular basis after holiday break could be a lovely way to end your vacation time and to ensure that the special connection you have rekindled will continue throughout the year.
This could be a class that you take together at a local YMCA or it could be an activity that you plan to do at home such as playing a board game, cooking a meal or going out for ice cream.
It doesn’t really matter what the activity is; the important thing is that you will be spending some regular special time alone with your daughter/son. If it’s hard for you and your teen to decide on one activity that you both like, you could try taking turns picking the weekly activity 🙂
Happy Holidays and hoping you have a great time!
I hope that you found some of these suggestions helpful. Do you have a fun bonding experience you’d like to share and/or an additional activity to add to the list?
Acknowledgements: Susan Giurleo for inspiring me to write this post!