How To “BE” With Your Tweens

Picture: Camp Weloki Fall Weekend

If you’ve been wondering about things you can do with your tween to create connection, look no further. This list of 10 fun and creative ideas, brought to you by Camp Weloki Founder and My Mommy Manual “Expert Daddy”  Dr. Tim Jordan, is sure to get you started!

1. Ask your tween what they’d like to do: Give them more and more control as each year goes by as to the what, when and where you might spend some one-on-one time together.
2. Spend time in nature: There is something grounding about spending time in nature; life slows down and people tend to be less distracted. Spending time in nature with your tween might looks like taking a walk, fishing, cycling, camping, gardening… anything you two might enjoy doing outside together.
3. Service work: Pick a charity or project and go be of service together. Make sure itis a volunteer effort that feels fun and meaningful to your tween.
4. Listen to their music: Instead of judging their new music interests, be curious. You can learn a lot about a kid by listening closely to the music they are drawn to and thinking about why.
5. Take a class together: Learn more about something your tween is interested in. It could look like a class in photography, learning an instrument, auto repair, dancing, exercise, yoga… you name it.
6. Look through old photo albums of their relatives: Kids love to hear stories about their descendants, especially if the stories relate to how they are like people from their past (temperament, looks, character, etc). Knowing where you came from is grounding and gives our children “roots”.
7. Be a fly-on-the-wall: I learned so much about my kids during the tween years just by being with them when they were with their friends. Driving a car load of kids to a basketball game was always entertaining and enlightening. They would talk about everything as if I wasn’t there as long as I kept my mouth shut and just listened.
8. Plan adventures together: Move outside your comfort zone and do something spontaneous together. Explore a new restaurant, museum, used book store or national forest. Take in a concert. Go wherever your hearts lead you. Expand your experiences, doing something different, new and exciting together!

9. Enjoy meals together: This may sound corny or cliche, but sharing uninterrupted meals together is extremely valuable.  Plan, shop and cook together, create a fun atmosphere, turn off all electronics and talk about things other than school work and chores. Ask your tween questions about their lives, thoughts and friends… and then just listen.

10. Tell them stories about your past: Share stories about when you were their age. Tweens don?t always believe parents when we say “I understand what you’re going through.” Back-up those words with real examples from your life; mistakes, experiences, insecurities and challenges from your tween years. Your tween will understand and feel like maybe you really do get it/them. And THAT is a great feeling for them!