1) Model the behavior you want to see
Although it may not seem like it, your teens are watching your behavior just as much as you are watching theirs. Show your teens that family time is an important part of your family life by being consistent, enthusiastic, and engaged. Put away your cell phone and focus on the family if you expect them to do the same.
2) Make it a scheduled event
Pick a day and stick to it! Chances are your teen’s social life is buzzing with friends, school, and other activities, making a scheduled event increases the chances that your teen (and you) will fit it into the schedule. Send them a reminder a few days before and remember to tell them the day of that you are looking forward to spending time with them.
3) Plan an activity they can’t say no to
Another night on the couch between mom and dad? No, thanks. Doing something out of the box like taking the family snowshoeing, going to a concert, or challenging them to compete with you in a game will not only grab your teens attention but yours too. Breaking routine will give you something to talk about, and hopefully, make for great memories to tell years down the line.
4) Ask their opinion before and after
Encourage your teens growing sense of individuality by asking what they think about the activities. Ask for detail. This shows them that their opinion is important to you. Validating their response is just as important as asking for it. While you don’t have to agree with what they say, letting them know you are trying to understand things from their perspective helps them feel heard and increases the chances that they will be comfortable communicating like this in the future. Finding out what they liked and disliked about the activity can give you valuable information about what to do (or not do) next time.
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