In the hustle and bustle of life, we sometimes forget about our teenagers. Maybe it’s because you‘ve gotten so busy since they no longer need your undivided attention. Other times it’s because they’re not home much anymore, either!
- Maybe you have little ones at home, or even a new baby, and your time is not your own…
- Maybe you are employed at home and your time is just divided into too many segments…
- Or maybe you need to leave home for a job, and you find yourself just doing what “needs” to get done when you return at the end of the day.
In so very many situations, it’s possible to try and cram way too much stuff into your life and (sadly), it’s just easy to overlook one-on-one time with your teen.
But realize that the teen years are NOT the time to lay those precious one-on-one opportunities aside…
What to remember about dates with your teen
In another post I explained my take on the “quantity-vs-quality” issue, and what we need to remember about investing time in our kiddos. It’s important! And while I’m not trying to lay any (more) guilt than you already may be feeling for living a crowded life, here are some ideas for simple and easy-to-do activities that will make one-on-one time with them a bit more memorable.
Some of these may appear at first glance to be childish, and others may not be to you or your teen’s interest. Two things to remember here:
- Trying something new, or doing something you both used to do together when your teen was younger, can create brand new memories for you both. And
- Your attitude about whatever you do will make a huge difference. If you go into it expecting to have a good time, chances are your teen will “go along for the ride” too!
Oh, and don’t forget to turn OFF the cell phone…or at least mute it…
- look through old baby pictures
- fly a kite
- visit an elderly/sick neighbor/friend/family member
- take a walk/bike ride/swim/exercise together
- watch old home movies or pop in a DVD at home (don’t forget the popcorn!)
- go to a card store and find funny ones to share
- plan an old-fashioned picnic, with food, blanket and books or games…but leave the phone and hand-held devices at home!
- go to a playground together
- bake cookies (or another favorite dessert)… and eat them!
- go outside in the dark, lie on a blanket, look at the stars and catch fireflies
- plan and go on a scavenger hunt
- do a craft together (extra special if you take the time to scrounge up the supplies ahead of time…and together, of course!)
- go to a fast-food place, buy an ice cream cone or a drink, and ask her to teach you her favorite game on your phone. (Um, be prepared to get some funny looks from people at the other tables as you dissolve in laughter together!)
- visit a bookstore, pick out a favorite or 2 and “talk shop” (Some talking points: Share some of your favorite books as a kid? or even explain why you didn’t like to read as a child…)
- run errands together, bonus points if you run an errand or 2 for that elderly/sick person above, and extra bonus points if you let your teen drive
- go bowling
- go to a photo booth and take goofy pictures together
- paint a piece of pottery together, and go out for ice cream when you return to pick it up
- build a fire in the backyard and make s’mores
- go get mani/pedis together
- start Christmas shopping (ya’ gotta do it anyway…)
- shop for Operation Christmas Child (do it specifically and this can start some super conversations on giving, gratitude, poverty, etc)
- go to a dollar store and see who can buy more with $5
I’m sure you can think of some others, too! The point here isn’t to make the activity costly or require too much advance preparation because those qualities will just lead you to put off the time spent together…
Think “easy”, think “inexpensive” and answer the question “what would my child like to do with me?” (even if you have to go ahead and ask ’em!)…and you have the groundwork for a wonderful date!
And you get extra brownie points if you add it to your planner as a regular event.
Well, I gotta run…my son is already out in the car waiting for our date…