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Does your teen really care?
So many times as parents we view the term “preparing for the holidays” to mean getting to the never-ending to-do list: shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, hosting/planning for/attending parties, etc. You know, the list seems to go on and on…
But something we don’t really consider those people for whom Christmas is still very special: our teens.
Now hear me out. I’m not trying to beat up on any of us; not trying to add yet something else to our already full-and-heaping plates; not trying to stir up some more parent guilt. But let me suggest this year that we step back and consider something else.
While it’s easy to know what to do to make the little ones happy around this time of year, I think it’s time for those of us with teens to consider how to make this time of year special for them, too!
Because the answer to the question “Does your teen really care?” is, of course, a resounding “YES!”
Making Christmas special for Your Teen
This short series “5 Days of Preparing for Christmas with Your Teen” is as much as a practical guide (how to encourage them to get involved) as it is a relational guide (how to engage their hearts and make connections). Because, after all, that’s what’s at the root of good parenting, right?
So today we’re setting the stage for the rest of the week as I propose the first thing to do to prepare for the holidays with your teen.
Day 1 – Schedule Quality Time
A short while back I found myself in a rare moment of quiet, one-on-one time with my youngest daughter. Each week I try to put time aside with each of the 3 young people we still have at home. These “date times” are a time to connect, talk, and check in with them. Sometimes we go for a walk, or get a drink or snack together, or go to the library, or run errands.
The point is not the activity, but the time.
Anyway, during our time together and the conversations that took place that day I was reminded of some important secrets of quality time…
5 Secrets of Quality Time
Quality Time isn’t (or doesn’t have to be):
- budget-breaking – Especially if you’re doing this around Christmas, bear in mind that you don’t have to go over the top. Take the money you’ve already set aside and go Christmas shopping with your teen. Discuss things like money management and budgeting, you know, have “adulting” conversations.
- complicated – To keep it simple…keep it simple!
- planned in advance – Keep your eyes and heart open. Even with the best-laid plans, last-minute runs to the store are sure to pop up: take advantage of whatever opportunities you get.
- “over the top“ – If you really want to go all out, how about planning a family event instead of Christmas gifts? My teens helped me plan a family zip-lining weekend years ago, and we still talk about that trip!
- apart from your routine – Christmas is a family holiday, and incorporating them into the responsibilities of the season let them know that even though there is “stuff” to do, you’re not too busy for them. They learn that time management and productivity does not come at their expense and that they can actually contribute in a realistic way.
If you really need some holiday-related activities to do with your teen, besides those mentioned above, you can also enlist their help with:
- purchasing and writing out Christmas cards,
- helping with household decorations. Fun tip: switch it around and have them be in charge!
- considering ways your family can serve others during the Christmas season, such as your church, your community, and the world at large!
And then come back every day this week as we discover other ways to build on this all-important foundation to prepare for Christmas…together with your teen <3!
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This post is part one of a 5-part series. Read the other parts here:
5 Days of Preparing for Christmas with Your Teen