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 tweens, 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.
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.
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 from Netflix or Redbox. 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?