Ahhhhh school holidays! Reprieve from packing Vegemite sandwiches, a break from dragging the teens out of bed and a few weeks without hunting matching socks! All. The. Wins!
More than that, school breaks are an ideal time to bond with your teen and rebuild the connection after the hectic busy busy busy of term time. I know that many parents of teens need to work through school holidays but if you do get the chance for some downtime with your teen it’s a super opportunity to spend quality time with them. The slower pace of holidays offers a great chance to visit unexplored places and try new activities.
The school term can be stressful on teens (and families) with academic challenge and assignment loads, social pressures and the need to juggle a whole lot of commitments. A few weeks downtime can save everyone’s sanity but in the blink of an eye holidays pass and and it’s back to the school grind. Exhale collective groan here… and so, after spending kick-back time bonding with your teenager, you might be searching for some tips to keep the connection alive when they go back to school to face another term.
Here are some ideas for maintaining the vibe…
- Commit some daily time for chatting with your teens. Try not to slip back into the habit of being forever busy and miss the many opportunities for simply chatting with them. Right after they got home, spend a few minutes asking how their day went. In the first few weeks of the new term especially, try and greet them as cheerfully as possible… because chances are high they’re wishing they were still on holidays!
- Make time to have some meals together. Sharing mealtime is one way to keep members of the family connected. Often teens love to grab their plate and retreat to the lounge room or teen-cave which hampers an ideal opportunity to be together.
- You still have weekends to carve out time to try and do things they would like to do. Your teens and you will definitely have different ideas when it comes to how you’d like to spend your weekend…. time but switching it up and occasionally letting them lead and activity is one way of spending regular quality time together that doesn’t need to wait until the next school break.
- Keep connected using technology. They’ve got a smartphone no doubt, and so do you. Sending simple text messages showing that you’re thinking of them (without reminding them of chores, or checking up on them at the same time – no matter how tempting) is a way to maintain the connection anytime, anywhere.
- Keep a solid sense of humour. Admit it… we parents can be a bit stiff and stressed too much of the time. Being more lighthearted and loosening up a little in front of your teenager can be great for your relationship. Sit and watch a funny movie together for a laugh… or share a funny story, even if it’s corny, because a good chuckle can work wonders for you both.
Raising teenagers is probably one of the hardest times of parenting. Keeping a connection is challenging, not only because of the changes that are happening to them but also because of the age gap between them and you. School holidays are perfect for recharging the relationship but remember to hold onto the bond once the day-to-dayness of school returns and before you know it, it’ll be vacation time again!