There’s no denying that teens need just as much one-on-one time with you as young kids do. No, they won’t curl up in your lap and let you know when they need you, but if you watch for the signs, they’re certainly there! It can be a struggle to spend more time with your teen, especially when they act like that’s the last thing in the world that they want. However, it’s not just beneficial to their confidence, but also to their social skills, as well.
When it seems like slamming doors and rolling eyes are the new way of life, it’s time to remove yourself from the situation. Make an effort to stop what you’re doing, no matter how busy you are, and spend some time connecting with your teen.
Even though they may resist at first, it’s exactly what they need.
25+ Ways to Spend More Time with your Teen
Learn a new skill together
Has your teen always wanted to take guitar lessons or learn to ballroom dance? Maybe they’ve wanted to learn a foreign language or take a painting class.
Learning something new together is a simple way to spend more time with your teens, while building their confidence.
Go to the beach
Hate the sand? Me, too! But you’ll have so much fun splashing in the ocean and building sandcastles that you’ll soon forget the stray sand that makes its way into your car and home.
Talk to you teen about how they picture their live in 5, 10 or even 20 years. Talk about the steps they need to take in order to get them there.
Plan a family vacation together
There’s something magical about planning a vacation. Use a website like RoadTrippers.com to find fun stuff to do along the way! Your teen will enjoy seeing all the things there are to do, even if you don’t have time to experience them all.
Chase their interests
When Natali was younger, she LOVED Dr. Who, The Avengers, Harry Potter and movies of the like. Although we didn’t have a lot of extra money, we loaded up our car and drove 4 hours to Comic Con.
It was the best weekend of her life! She had so much fun and still talks about it. And, although Comic Con is about as far away from anything that interests me as you can get, I’m super thankful we took that time to spend doing something she loved.
If you’ve never shown your kids how much fun you can be when you’re on wheels (or ice skates!) now is the perfect time. They’ll get a kick out of watching you keep your balance and will learn that even you aren’t good at EVERYTHING.
Do a regular game night
Game nights at our house are the perfect way to spend an evening. My teens love it, I love it and my husband… well, he tolerates it. 😉
Over the years, we’ve invested in some super awesome board games that have paid for themselves time and time again. Game nights are a super-affordable alternative to things like bowling, movies and other activities where you spend money each time you play.
Getting outside in nature is a great way to connect with your teen. Arm yourself with a few topics that you can discuss as you tromp through nature but be sure to follow your teen’s lead, as well.
Sometimes, it’s nice to think about the future and which direction you’re heading. Take a few minutes when you’re alone with your teen to talk about their goals for the future. Not just academic goals, but also personal, relationship, monetary, etc.
Try foods from other cultures
One of my favorite things to do with my teens is go on a huge shopping trip, buy tons of Asian food supplies and get busy in the kitchen! We can whip up some amazing eggrolls, crab rangoons and cashew chicken.
Learn about your family history
Taking the time to learn your family’s history isn’t just an easy way to spend more time with your teen, but it’s also important for future generations.
Take a road trip
Hop in the car, pick a direction and start driving. Having no plans makes road trips so much more fun and your teen will see the easy-going and fun side of you!
We cruised down Route 66, all the way from Missouri to Santa Monica! Our kids loved it and we spent some of the best days of our lives in the car together.
Visit some National or State parks
Whether you love to hike or just want to check out the educational visitor’s center, parks are a great place to connect with older kids!
Go on a date
Take your teen out on a fancy-schmancy date. Go to an expensive restaurant, then hit up the local theater to catch the latest flick. Your kiddo will love it!
Visit a place they’re learning about
Taking trips is a great way to drive home what your teen has been studying so why not load up and visit their favorite historical places?
Make dinner together
I love letting my teen surf the net for a new recipe, then drive her to the store to buy the supplies and come home to cook the meal together. It’s a simple way to spend more time with your teen but it’s one activity that makes the biggest impact on them.
Redecorate your teenager’s room together
I’m always amazed at what a simple gallon of paint will do to transform a bedroom! Use painters tape to create awesome designs, slap some paint on the walls, declutter and rearrange. You’ll be amazed at how much you can change a space in just a few hours.
Nothing says “I love you” quite like sweating together. 😉 Find an exercise that you both enjoy and make it a habit to workout together.
That doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym: it could be cycling or playing racquetball.
Order food from your teen’s favorite restaurant
Spend more time with your teen by visiting their favorite restaurant. They’ll love that you’ve taken the time out of your day to do something THEY enjoy and will approach the day with a better attitude.
There’s just something about tossing a ball down the gutter that makes teens laugh…and cringe! Hit up the local bowling alley for some cheap fun that all ages will enjoy.
Read a book together and discuss it afterward
Start your own little book club, right in your home! Give each of your kiddos a copy of the book and discuss it once a week.
Develop a new healthy habit together like journaling
When my duaghter was younger, we had a “Mommy and Me” journal. We’d write simple notes back and forth, passing the beloved notebook between each other. I loved the memories that book created!
Journaling is a great way to connect and spend more time with teens. They’re more apt to open up in writing than in conversation, so that’s an added bonus!
Plant a garden
Working hard toward the same goal is a great way to spend time with your kids. Gardening is a fun and rewarding way to do just that!
Create a bucket list
Don’t just dream together! Make a bucket list and get started marking things off right away. Be sure to fill it with large trips, silly ideas and local experiences, so that no matter how much extra money you have, you can always be chipping away at your list.
Do a house project together
Renovations don’t have to be super stressful. Paint a wall, add a cute backsplash or just redecorate the living room together.
Recreate their favorite meals
Have you ever Googled your favorite restaurant’s best sellers? We’ve made Longhorn’s parmesean crusted chicken and it’s to die for! Next up, we tried Panda Express’ orange chicken and it was just as good.
A quick search will lead you to a recipe for your kids’ favorite restaurant meals and you can create them together, at home!