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20 Ways to Spend Time with Your Teens and Tweens

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I don’t want to give you a false impression – I don’t spend as much one-on-one time with my kids as I feel like I should. I’ve always said that spending quality time with my kids is one of the hardest parts of homeschooling for me. By the end of the school part of our day, I’m ready just to sit down and relax for a bit – or it’s time to get dinner started.

Now that my kids are all teens and young adults, sometimes arranging quality time can be even more difficult. They’ve got their friends – and their laptops, phones, video games, and social media – and, well, so do I. I’ve been trying to make an effort to be more intentional about spending time with my kids, though – especially one-on-one time. So, I thought I’d share my ideas with you – some that I’ve been doing and some that are on my to-do list.

20 Ways to Spend Time with Your Teens and Tweens

Spending Time with Teens and Tweens

1. Go on a breakfast date. I started this last week and the kids, and I love it! I wish we’d begun this years ago. (Lunch and dinner dates may work better for you. We just tend to have a lot going on once the day gets started, so I like having this time with the kids first thing.)

2. Go bowling.

3. Go to a movie.

4. Play a game – video or board.

5. Go to the mall.

6. Go for a treat – ice cream, a Frosty, a Blizzard. We like to hit Sonic’s “happy hour” between 2:00 and 4:00 for half-price drinks.

7. Go thrift store shopping. (This one might not be as popular with boys.)

8. Go to their room. Yep, just go to their room to hang out and talk.

9. Go for a drive. I think this one might be really effective for student drivers – it will give them some practice time and one-on-one time with a parent. Win-win. (This is me trying to psyche myself up to ride with Josh instead of making Brian do it all the time like I did with Brianna.)

10. Fix dinner together.

11. Go for a walk. This one comes with an added health benefit. Maybe I should couple this one with #6.

20 Ways to Spend Time with Your Teens and Tweens

Parent-Child Time with Teens and Tweens

12. Create something. If you’ve got an artistic child, you could draw, paint, or sculpt together. Josh likes when his dad plays guitar with him – he likes having someone else to “jam out” with.

13. Share a hobby.

14. Take a class.

15. Do something physical – zip-lining, hiking, indoor rock climbing, or a workout class are just a few ideas.

16. Watch TV. Okay, I know that watching TV together might not sound like quality time, but it can be if you’re showing an interest in what they like. In other words, maybe I should give Doctor Who a chance. Brianna would like it if I had a clue what she was talking about when she talks about that show just like I’d like it if somebody at my house had a clue when I refer to Friends.

17. Volunteer together.

18. Look through old photos and tell them about their childhood – or yours.

19. Rent a movie. Put your jammies on, pop popcorn, fix some hot chocolate and enjoy an in-house date with your tween or teen.

20. Bake cookies.

I know I’m probably missing some obvious ideas, so what would you add?

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  1. Your idea about watching TV together is actually a really good one. I’ve consciously been making an effort to watch some of my daughter’s shows with her because that’s what she’s passionate about right now. So, several times a week, you’ll catch me watching Dr. Who, Supernatural, and Sleepy Hollow. And you know what? My daughter, who used to confine herself to her room now comes to me when I’m cooking dinner almost every night to discuss upcoming plots and her favorite characters. TV deserves more credit, I think! Oh, yeah, Sherlock, too. Anyway…

    1. You’re right…I almost forgot about that. We both love the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Device series, although that DOES cause some strife because it causes us to quarrel about who gets to read the next book in the series FIRST! 🙂

  2. Such great tips! Another (though it takes more planning) is to go somewhere overnight together. It doesn’t have to be far away or expensive, but it gives concentrated one-on-one time away from home and siblings. (It’s also the perfect time to have The Talk with a tween!)

  3. I didn’t do this nearly enough when I was raising my sons. Now that I have grandchildren who live with us I try much harder. At least once every three months I try to have a ‘date night with granny’ and we go out to eat separate with each one. Harder to do now that my husband is so sick, but we spend a lot of time together taking care of him. Yours are all good ideas

    1. Hi Paula, I just read your post on this. Kids do grow up too fast. I’m realizing that now, I have 3 kids… 12, 10 & 8. I’m trying to do my best to spend quality time with them. How is your husband? I am praying for your family. God bless you!

  4. My youngest and I are lucky enough to share an interest – birding- so that gives us plenty of opportunities to spend time together. Both my sons are currently on learner’s permits (and at the stage where it isn’t too painful 😉 )so w get to drive and talk several times a week.

  5. Share your faith with them.

    Talk about their future. Don’t TELL – talk. They are probably starting to think about things like college or what to expect in high school. Being told before senior year of high school that no matter how good you are, something beyond your control might keep you out of the college of your choice and you need a back-up plan is a good thing.
    Scouts. They may not be receptive any more, but it you can be active with them, it’ll get you both into new adventures. My son and his Dad have enjoyed fishing together. He and I have done orienteering, and may try doing it as a family activity. And both my boys are now Skiing together. We wouldn’t have done any of that without Scouts as an incentive.
    Exercise – something they like. Then you’ll end up in better shape.
    Plan your meals for the week together, and do the prep together (if possible). They’ll learn a new skill and take some effort off your plate at the same time.

  6. We game together. My daughter is very much into online multiplayer games like Wizards 101 and I have an account too. We help one another with our quests.

  7. I have 3 kids who are in this age range, and it is definitely hard to find time to spend with each one of them one on one. Usually we try to take them one at a time shopping or running errands; this gives us time to talk. A lot of times, we’ll just end up bonding while watching t.v. Sounds stupid when I say it like that, but something that happens in a show after the little ones go to bed will spark a discussion that leads to deeper discussions, etc.etc.

  8. Let them teach you something they are good at… it makes them proud and confident, and you see them in a different light 🙂

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