It’s the question that keeps me awake at night these days.
With the years slipping by at an increasing rate, I wonder, “Do I connect enough with my kids? Do they listen to me? Is it too late to build our relationship before they grow up???”
Here are a few things I’ve been doing more and more over the last couple of years to be intentional with my 11-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.
What Does Your Tween Like?
It started with sitting down to watch Pokémon with them, and finding that I actually kinda did want to catch them all, from Bulbasaur to Charmander, Squirtle to Jigglypuff!
Just being interested and learning the vocabulary of what my kids are talking about has been a connection point ever since.
Now they’ve clearly moved on to newer, cooler TV shows (obvi.) But I try to keep up.
What lights up your kids? Find out and dig into their interests from video games to sports to their friend group and favorite YouTuber (I know they’ve got one!)
It comes down to actively listening and asking genuine questions. Not to pry, but to show curiosity and learn more about their world.
Include Your Tween in Your World
It won’t be long before our kids enter the world of adult responsibilities. I’m a big believer in equipping and empowering them through showing versus telling.
This can mean having them take a more active role at home. Teach them a few recipes and give them free rein to make a meal sometimes (with help as needed!) Just make sure it’s fun and not a chore.
Let them help you paint a room, try their hand at knitting, or whatever other projects you have going on.
Do you have some nostalgia you’d like to share? Tweens may find your vintage LEGO sets cool or enjoy watching an old movie, even if they cringe. We watched the original Star Wars trilogy for my birthday and the kids were obsessed.
For moms with a part-time or full-time job, find ways to let your kids see your professional side. Even if you don’t have to absolutely love your job, let your kids see a bit of the process that gets food on the table.
I recently brought my family with me on a work trip to Oklahoma City for an event. They helped me set up and tear down my booth, heard me practice my spiel, and got a glimpse into what Mommy does.
While I networked, they explored the town. When my conference ended, we had a family day making memories at Frontier City amusement park. Work hard, play hard.
Spend quality time with them
When my kids talk to me, I make every effort to drop my phone immediately. If they want a hug, I pause everything. I’m still a work in progress here. But I know I have milliseconds to let them know they matter the most.
You may have to search a bit, but you can find a quality time activity you both love. Even though they can read on their own, my kids love when I read Harry Potter aloud at bedtime.
Other ideas include: