Bonding with your teen: 25 activities to make time for this summer
My little girl is still a few years away from being a teenager.
Thank goodness – I'm not sure that I am quite ready for that yet.
However, when the time does come, I am planning to be prepared. And by prepared I mean make sure our bond is so close that we will navigate these years somewhat together – and come out the other side as close as we are right now.
I think the most important thing to focus on is staying connected. Making sure that, even though she will be getting more independent and have a life of school and friends outside of the family, that we still remain close, and that she knows she can come to me with whatever. And spending time together will, I am hoping, keep this bond strong.
In fact, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Youth Studies found that quality time with parents served as a better predictor of teenagers' academic aspirations than time spent doing homework with teens or attending extra-curricular activities. The researchers also found that parents who discussed books, attended cultural events, and brought teens on community outings raised their teens' aspirations.
In other words, giving your teen regular doses of positive attention will also help you maintain a healthy relationship, which can reduce behavior problems and set your child up for success later in life.
With that in mind; here are 25 easy and fun activities (many of these totally free too) you can do to stay close with your teen this summer:
1. Eat dinner together
Maybe the most simple, yet effective thing you can do in terms of keeping family bonds close.
2. Start family traditions
Pizza Fridays and Taco Tuesdays are winners in our house.
3. Go window shopping
Fun – and won't cost you a penney.
4. Plan a family holiday
Let everyone come up with things they would like to see and do.
5. Decorate their bedroom together
They will love getting to pick their own style.
6. Host boardgame night
Let them invite their friends too.
7. Go for a walk together after dinner
A bit of exercise AND a chance to catch up.
8. Invite their friends over for movie-night
If the weather allows it, why not do an outdoor screening in the garden?
9. Watch a sunrise together
It's these little moments that are so important.
10. Go on a hike
Break a sweat and have the chats.
11. Hug everyday
Hugs really are the easiest way to stay close to people.
12. Make homemade pizza
Bonus: It's an activity and dinner.
13. Go to an amusement park
Laughing together is the best.
14. Do a 30-day challenge together
It could be squats, it could be eating meat-free – just do it together.
15. Volunteer for something together
Pick plastic from beaches, serve soup at a soup kitchen... Do an act of kindness together.
16. Create a photo album
Or look through old ones.
17. Binge watch a Netflix show together
Let them pick!
18. Join your local park run
Get fit together, or just have some fresh air fun!
19. Eat at a different restaurant every month
A great way to explore your local city, too.
20. Go backpacking together
Yes, it'll require some planning, but they will love doing this adventure with you. And you don't even have to go far – just hop on a train and off you go.
21. Go bowling
The whole family can join.
22. Go on a road trip
A great family adventure awaits.
23. Go to a museum together
Learning something new is a great way to bond.
24. Hit the shops
Stock up on some new summer wardrobe bits – for you and them.
25. Just talk
Talk to them about your life and your day, and let them know they can do the same in return. Keeping the lines of communication open will keep you bonded.