I’m a middle school counselor and I’m counting down the days until summer break.
I don’t even feel bad when my mom friends roll their eyes in disdain while I giggle with glee thinking about sleeping in all summer long.
The rest of you parents aren’t quite as excited as I am. It’s tough to build a closer relationship with your child when you’re fighting against Fortnight, Snapchat and everything else.
I get it. Parenting has becoming harder with the invention of social media, 24/7 streaming of anything you want and YouTube.
Especially with teenagers. They seem to be glued to their phones.
I promise that even through their bratty behavior, deep sighs and eye rolls, they really still want to have a good relationship with you.
Here are a few simple ways you can build a closer relationship with your child this summer:
Family Game Night
Before my kids were born, I always envisioned having family game night with them. My husband and I tried to play CandyLand with our girls when they were 5 & 3. It didn’t go over so well. We had tantrums when they lost, or they would lose the pieces.
Now that they are a little older, they love playing games! On occasion we still have the sore loser, but they are interested in learning the rules…and how to win.
There are so many options for games….strategy games that involve more thought, fun games that make you laugh and games that let you get up and move.
Take your kids game night shopping and find something that they are excited about playing.
Cell Phone/Tablet Free Dinner
Now if you are requiring your kids to keep the electronics away from the dinner table, then you’ve got to follow suit too.
Use dinner time as a time to engage with your kids. Ask them about their hopes, their dreams or about their day in general.
I know, teenagers sometimes make conversation painful. You feel like you have to pull things out of them. Don’t give up. Keep pulling.
Kids are starting to lose basic conversation skills because they are glued to their electronics. They don’t know how to read facial expressions or deal with conflict because they simply don’t practice it. Consider leaving the electronics away from the table.
Turn the T.V. Off & Go Outside
One of the benefits of outside play is that it is an easy way to fight against obesity. Although technology is a wonderful way to entertain your children, it can also be harmful if you child is not engaging in any face to face interactions.
Sitting in front of the t.v or tablet all day can also make children lazy.
As the temperatures rise, taking a day trip to the beach, spending the afternoon at the pool, or riding bikes.
If the temperatures are too hot during the day, take walks in your neighborhood in the evenings. The quiet time allows you to reconnect with your children without the distractions of television.
Pick an Activity to Do Together
Have you always wanted to put together a 1,000 piece puzzle?
What about learning how to sew or knit? Or collecting eggs at a local farm?
Find an activity that you and your child can actively engage in together. Hands on activities are great for kids who learn best by doing.
The summer doesn’t have to be a time that you and the kids dread. Map out some activities that you and your kids can do TOGETHER, and watch your relationship grow!
These tips can work for your spouse too!!