We’re celebrating families at Harper Bee this month, and it’s got us thinking: what are some simple ways you can bring your family together? Specifically, how can you spend more quality time with your tween-age children?
1. Connect on their level
Your daughter no doubt has at least one hobby or interest that she’s passionate about, whether it’s a sport, a musical instrument, some kind of art or creative pursuit or even a celebrity. Take an interest in whatever it is she can’t stop talking about, and brainstorm whether there is a way you can use it to bond with her more. If she loves a certain singer, take her to one of their concerts. If she’s into painting or drawing, go to an art class with her. If she loves making things, sit down and get creative with her on the weekend or after school. The sky is the limit, and you’ll be bonding in no time!
2. Start family game nights
Family dinners are becoming fewer and farther between, but nothing reunites – and sometimes, breaks – a family like family game night. Pick out your favourite board games and card games, divide into teams and then go head to head in the ultimate family feud. Even when the friendly competition dies down, you’ll find yourselves chatting about things you may not normally talk about, with the conversation flowing much easier while you’ve all got something else to focus on.
3. Do things you wouldn’t normally do together
Nothing brings two people closer together than sharing a new experience, so take every opportunity to try something new with your tween. Adventure activities like skydiving or rock climbing are two ways to get your hearts pumping in synch, but you can keep it more low-key, too. Take a cooking class together, go on a road trip to somewhere you’ve never been before, or treat her to a night at a fancy hotel, going to nice restaurants and even a theatre or ballet performance. It’s all about getting out of your comfort zones, together.
4. Watch a new series together
This is another activity you can get the whole family in on, but you’ll likely find your tween becomes more invested in a show if you just watch it together. If she’s obsessed with a particular show, see if she’s happy to re-watch it with you (she definitely will be) or otherwise, pick out a new show to watch together. ‘Switched at Birth,’ ‘Gilmore Girls,’ ‘Riverdale,’ ‘The Fosters,’ and ‘Fuller House’ are some of our top picks. Plus, TV shows can be a great way to bring up tricky topics, particularly if they’re age-appropriate.
5. Do something charitable together
Volunteering at your local animal rescue shelter or soup kitchen is a great way to not only bond with your tween, but also to ensure they grow up understanding how lucky they really are – and feel more inclined to help others. Whether it’s something as small as planting a tree once a year, or raising money and awareness for an organisation of your choice, no good deed is too small to take on with your tween in tow.
Tell us: what is your favourite way to bond with your tween?