Enjoying family activities together is a great way to bond with your tween. Bonding with your child used to be easy when he was young and you were his whole world. But now, you've probably noticed that your tween is preferring his friends' company to yours. Don't take it personally. It's during the tween years when children really begin to separate from their parents and develop social circles outside the family.
But if you find yourself missing your tween, there are ways to keep the parent/tween bond, and maintain a close connection. Below are a few fun family activities parents and tweens can enjoy together. These family activities will give you time away from it all to talk, plan, and appreciate one another. They're also a great way to find the time to discuss the challenges your tween is facing, and any concerns you may want to share with your child.
Take a Class
You drive your tween from one activity to another, but you probably never considered taking a class with your tween. Classes are not only fun family activities but they're also an opportunity to learn something new. Find an interest you all share, or a curiosity, and look into local classes you can take together. Ideas could range from the creative (art lessons, cake decorating, jewelry making) to the athletic (fencing, fishing, martial arts).
Plan a Menu
How can you incorporate fun family activities with food? Make a few meals together. Dinnertime is typically so rushed that families rarely have the opportunity to truly enjoy the act of planning a meal, shopping for the ingredients, and slowly taking the time to create the meal.
Make time to sit down with your child and a few good cookbooks to select a dish or plan a menu. Go for something you've never tried before, or try a recipe handed down through your family. Afterwards, go shopping for the ingredients together. Put your tween to use cutting and chopping vegetables, setting the dinner table, and creating a pretty centerpiece.
Family Activities at Home: Rent Your Favorite Movies
Enjoying family activities doesn't necessarily mean leaving the house. You probably know the title of your tween's favorite movie, but does he know what your favorite movie was when you were his age? Rent both movies and then have a family movie festival, complete with popcorn and an intermission. The two of you can even create movie tickets to hand out to other family members so they're also included in the fun.
Family activities don't have to be expensive to be fun. Volunteering together is a wonderful way to teach your child to give back to the community, and work towards a cause you both support. Your church or your child's school may know of local organizations that could use your support, or find a cause that reflects your child's interests in animals, the environment, or youth organization.
Take Your Tween to Work
The whole point of family activities is to bond and enjoy one another's company. Bringing your child to work with you can be a great bonding experience. Most tweens are very interested in what their parents do for a living. Your child will feel more connected to you if he sees your workplace, meets co-workers, and sees what you do with your day. Try to make the experience fun by giving your tween a small project to complete, or by enjoying lunch together.
Plan a Vacation
A list of fun family activities wouldn't be complete without the mention of vacations. You may sit down with your spouse periodically to discuss family vacation ideas, but shouldn't you also include your tween? Set aside time to discuss ideas, and then research them together. Visit bookstores, a travel agency, or focus your research on the Internet. Give your tween a specific task to research. For example, if you're planning a road trip, ask him to figure out how many miles you'll drive. If you're going to the mountains, see if he can figure out what the temperatures are likely to be when you visit.
Chart Your Family History
Tweens are naturally interested in their family histories and are always wanting to know more. Together, you could chart your family tree, or create a scrapbook that details the story of your family. Encourage your tween to interview relatives to ask about important events in their lives, funny moments, or how they felt when your tween was born.
Read a Book Together
This is an inexpensive activity with so many benefits. Pick a book that you both want to read and take turns reading the story to one another. Schedule your reading time into your calendar, so you make it a priority.
Have an Adventure
Family activities can be adventurous, too. Encourage your tween's sense of adventure by doing something together that you've never done before. You could visit an ethnic restaurant to sample exotic foods, or visit a local museum you've never been to. This is an opportunity to do something you've always wanted to, but never got around to doing.
Tackle a Project
Tackling a project with your tween is a great way to get something done, while working together. You could decorate his room together, plant a vegetable garden, or make a bird house together. Try to pick a project that interests your tween, and you'll have his full attention.
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