This post is sponsored by Steggles
With two teenagers and a four-year-old in the house it can be hard to get quality time with the teenagers because the four-year-old rules the roost. But with one off to uni this year and the other starting year 11 we are very aware that their time at home is limited and we want to make the most of it.
With teenagers naturally gravitating away from family and towards their friends it’s important to put in the extra effort to stay in contact with them and to know what’s happening in their lives. By keeping those lines of communication open you’ll know when they really need you.
Despite the warnings, the teen years have been my favourite so far. It’s amazing to see all that work you put in during those early years develop into something. Teenagers are funny, smart, opinionated and they view the world in a very different way and I love being a part of it.
Family time is something Steggles is passionate about and their research has found that 73% of Australians wish they could spend more time with their family. With this in mind, they have asked us to share our favourite ways to connect as a family.
Here are my favourite ways to stay in touch with them…
Family Movie Night
The rules are simple for this one- everyone gets to choose a movie, you have one veto per cycle and no phones. We had to bring in the veto because my husband has a penchant for films that go forever and nothing happens (Tree of Life anyone?) and my aspiring film student son has very niche tastes and we can only take so much! The film has to be something you think everyone will enjoy.
Giving everyone the chance to choose means we get to share some great films with them and they get to show us what they love. With teenagers, it’s really important to meet them where they are at. Don’t judge their choice of music/film/books because they will shut down. If you want them to be open minded then you need to be too. Don’t turn into that old person muttering, “that’s not music!”
On Sundays, we do the full family dinner. Roast chicken, Yorkshire puddings, lots of veggies and dessert. My husband introduced this because he’s from Scotland and the family roast was a big part of his family life. It’s a great time to sit together as a family. It’s not often we have everyone together in the same place and it gives us a chance to talk about our plans for the week and debrief after what is usually a busy weekend.
Family Book Club
This is a new edition to family time. I’ve just started it to encourage my daughter to read more and my son to read for pleasure again. He’s always been a voracious reader but the HSC has taken the pleasure out of reading for him a bit. We all choose a book and swap them around- you have a month to read the other three books and then we will sit down and chat about them.
Once again it works the same way as movie night where we all get to share a book that means something to us.
10 O’clock Chat
My husband isn’t a big fan of this one because he likes to go to bed early but the teens will, almost without fail, wander into the lounge at 10 pm and start chatting. Quite often I’m in the middle of work or trying to watch the end of something but these chats are always fun and very informative. Teens are on a whole different body clock and they are never livelier than at 10 pm at night. There will be silly song and dance routines from my daughter, endless new movie trailers my son wants me to watch and just general chat about their days, stories about their friends and so on. These chats often go on ’til about 11:30 pm, when I’m begging for sleep!
If you ever want to know what’s going on in your kid’s life, just drive them and their friends somewhere. It’s the taxi driver syndrome- they totally forget you are there and they talk about EVERYTHING! If you have boys it’s also a great way to have them talk to you because boys prefer to talk side-by-side rather than face-to-face. I also like to drive them because then I know where they are!
Hopefully, some of these will help you connect with your teen.
Do you have other ways to spend quality time with them?