You might be surprised by how many things you can do with teenagers to strengthen your relationship. It might not be as simple as playing catch with your third-grader or snuggling with your baby, but time spent with your teens is well worth the effort it takes to make it happen.
What you might need is a simple approach with a meaningful activity that's fun for you both and encourages a stronger bond. Don't worry, you won't get an eye roll with these ideas.
At-Home Activities to Encourage Connection With Your Teen
From afternoons after school to lazy weekends, time spent at home is the perfect opportunity to have some bonding time with your teen. If you're spending time at home together, you may as well make it count with an easygoing activity that encourages conversation and helps you make memories.
Spend Some Time Around the Fire Pit
Fire pits are fun no matter your age and your teenager might appreciate the simplicity of an evening warming by the fire. You don't even have to plan ahead for this one. When you see an opportunity, start the fire and wait for your teen to come to you. Few of us can resist the warmth of the flames and how easy it is to let our guard down when the firepit is so inviting.
You can also pull out classic s'mores fixings (or jazz it up with some interesting s'mores combinations), set up a simple hot cocoa bar, or just grab a few snacks from the pantry to make it more inviting.
Bond Over a Project
From rebuilding a hotrod to starting your own garden, your teen might be more interested in getting their hands dirty than you think. If they have some control over the project and don't feel pressured to be involved, they might jump in voluntarily.
As you're redecorating the living room or building that deck together, you might have some of those deep conversations you've been longing for. At the very least, you'll have a finished project you can be proud of creating together.
Share Your Teenage Memories
Your favorite CDs and your high school yearbook might be quite interesting to your teenager. Even if they don't approve of your haircut at the time, they might feel a connection to the younger version of you. Seeing parts of themselves in the teen you used to be could prompt some fun questions about your teen experience.
If you've been holding on to those fashions from your high school or college days, it might be time to unpack them and share them with your teen. As trends come back around, they might want to borrow your favorite denim jacket or that skater skirt that you're never going to wear again.
Let Them Teach You a TikTok Dance
Even if you don't get the appeal of TikTok, it won't stop your teen from spending time on the platform. So, you may as well join them.
Ask your teen to teach you a TikTok dance or play one of the viral games often seen on the app. Let them decide what it should be so the whole concept feels more like it's their idea.
Have a Video Game Tournament
You might give your teen a hard time about the hours spent playing video games, but once upon a time, you knew exactly how they felt. So ask them to show you the ropes of the new gaming systems and have an evening battling it out with plenty of snacks nearby. You'll laugh and engage in friendly competition and possibly start your new favorite tradition together.
This may be a great opportunity to break out your old Xbox or the Nintendo system of your childhood to show your teen what gaming was meant to be.
Bake Some Memories
Baking is a great way to bond with nearly anyone. Let your teen take the lead here and bake some treats for the whole family. They might discover a new favorite hobby and you might get some quality time you've been craving.
Fun Outings You Can Plan to Bond With Your Teen
When you and your teen need some time outside of the house, you can plan a fun outing both of you would enjoy. You can go all out or opt for something simple. Either way, you'll likely make a memory or two and have some interesting conversations along the way.
Rent a Room for a Night
You need a night away and your teen might be craving the same sort of rest. Rent a nice hotel room for the two of you and spend the night watching movies, ordering room service, and having some late-night chats. Getting some distance from the rest of the family might make your teenager feel more free to share their thoughts and feelings.
Let Them Plan a Night Out
You may not want to admit they're growing up, but your child isn't a child anymore. Your teenager could probably plan a pretty awesome evening for the two of you. Give them a time frame and a budget and see what they come up with.
Letting your teen take control of the plans helps you see the interests and talents they may not often express in words.
Practice Self-Care Together
From a day at the salon to a simple walk, some gentle self-care can ease your teen into conversation. As you're relieving stress and releasing worry together, you might invite some bonding moments and special memories into your time.
Going fishing can be just going fishing. You, your teen, and a couple of poles are an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday. But it can also be anything else that invites you both to sit in the quiet.
You might read together at a coffee shop or spend some time at a salt spa. Sometimes what you both need the most is to just be together without the pressure of attempting a conversation.
Whatever quiet activity you choose to do, leave the screens behind. Without emails and social media to distract you, you can focus more on each other.
Let Them Tour Your Town
If you live in or near the town you grew up in, take your teen on a tour. Show them where your first date was, the store you bought all your clothes from, and where you loved to hang out with friends. Getting a peak into your past might encourage your teen to share about their present.
Build the Bond You've Longed for
It won't happen all at once. But somewhere along the way of trying these activities, you'll find the bonding approach that best fits you and your teen. Trial and error may be part of the process, but the result is well worth the effort.