After a busy season of ski activity and travel, I (Heather) was excited to see a weekend on the calendar without any commitments for anyone of us. Looking forward to having a fun family weekend, I decided to ask each of the kids what they would like most to do for a family weekend. The girls suggested a family game night or making egg-rolls. When I asked AJ what he wanted to do for a family night, he quickly responded, “Have a sleepover at Max’.” (He did not intend to have the family join him, either.) My quick response, “When did you become such a teenager?” brought a smile to both of us. teens
I knew this day was coming — the day he would rather spend time with friends than with his family. The shift from family to friends is normal and to be expected. Yet, as parents we know the value in protecting some time for family, too.
Some of you may have little ones who are still all about family. Others of you may be in the throw of teen years and trying to grab moments of family and connection. Consider some of these ideas to continue to enjoy time together as a family.
- Set aside one night a month for family night and put it on the calendar as a non-negotiable-no-matter-what invitation comes.
- Give each child a night to plan the family activity and everyone must participate without complaining.
- Brainstorm a list of activities that get you out of your routine and vote on one together. (Serve another family, backwards night with dessert first, explore somewhere you have not been, take a train ride, etc.)
- Be flexible. Choose a daytime activity or even a school night.
- Leave phones behind so everyone is fully present.
- Try driving to a different location, even for a day. Getting into new surroundings can be a way to connect as a family.
- Plan to listen to a podcast or even audio Bible together while enjoying a fire.
- Take advantage of the unexpected moments when everyone is home and invite the kids to do something spontaneous.
Building relationships with our family can get trickier as kids get older and busier. But, don’t give up! Continue to have fun together and make family a priority.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another—
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
By Heather Larson, M.A.
Wife to Peter
Mom of three
1 Corinthians 13 Team Member
Associate Director of 10 Great Dates
For more ideas on connecting with your tween daughter take a look at She’s Almost a Teenager, Essential Conversations to Have Now by Larsons and Arps.
Look for He’s Almost a Teenager: Essential Conversations to Have Now to be released in 2017. teens