Creative Child

Five Ways to Connect With Your Preteen

Parenting Tips for Teens
by Rebecca Eanes

Sitting on the floor together playing with toys or cuddling our little ones on our laps were easy ways to connect when they were small, but when kids get bigger – when they no longer fit on our laps but stand nearly as tall as we do – connecting with them can be more of a challenge.

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As children grow in independence, spend more time with peers, and get absorbed in their own interests, they seek less time with us. It’s up to us to ensure we keep the relationship strong by finding new ways to connect to our big kids. Our techniques and parenting tips for teens have to evolve and grow as our children do.

Here are five ways to connect with your tweens and pre-teens.

A Mom & Me Journal

Some things are easier to talk about in writing. My son and I have a regular notebook that we use, but you could purchase a “proper” journal online. It’s a simple way to stay in touch with their hearts. The direction you take it is completely up to you – whether you choose to do journal prompts, ask specific questions, write letters back and forth to each other, or just doodle quick love notes. The Mom & Me or Dad & Me Journal is a nice way to open a new avenue of communication with older kids.

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“Special Time” at Bedtime

I’ve heard many parents tell me that alone at night, lying in bed, is when children spill the contents of their hearts. I’ve found this to be true with my pre-teen as well. I give each of my boys at least 10 minutes of special one-on-one time at night where I lie beside them or sit on the edge of the bed.

Usually just asking, “So what’s on your mind tonight?” is enough. If nothing springs to mind, I’ll ask questions such as “What’s something good that happened today?” or “Do you have any worries on your heart you want to talk about?” When there are no siblings around or phones in hand, it’s so much easier to connect one-on-one. 

Find a Common Interest

Another parenting tip for teens is to find common ground and expand on that. Watch a television show together or find a hobby you both enjoy doing. Consider your own private book club. Read the same book and discuss it over tea. Perhaps you’d like to garden, knit, bake, bike ride, run, hike, birdwatch, or play video games. Read aloud from a great classic novel or play chess. This provides opportunity to gather regularly and spend some time doing something enjoyable with each other. 

More parenting tips for teens and tweens continued on the next page...

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