Your teenager benefits so much when you spend time with them. Even with busy schedules, you can turn a little bit of time together into a learning experience for your teen. Try these tips to get more out of your time with your teen.
Seize the moment!
You and your teen probably have busy lives, so make the most of little moments when you can connect – for example, in the car, at the dinner table, or even while doing housework! By chatting about what’s happening at school, their friends and the family, and how they’re feeling, you’re strengthening your teen’s self-esteem and conversation skills. You can also build their responsibility and independence by combining chat time with housework such as unpacking the dishwasher, folding the laundry or making the beds. Your teen might think you’re making them work, but really, they are developing their teamwork and conversation skills!
Make it count
When talking with your teen, try not to jump in, criticise or ‘fix’ things – just really listen and try to understand what they are saying to you. Show your teenager you are interested in what they are saying by asking questions – What do they think? How do they feel? Show that you’re listening by making eye contact, repeating what they’ve said, and smiling when appropriate.
Creating space in your schedule for dedicated time with your teen really benefits their learning and wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be complicated – you could spend this time going for a walk together, helping them with their study management, or just chatting about their day (and yours!).
Be in the moment
During that dedicated one-on-one time with your teen, be in the moment. Give them your full attention and avoid distractions such as checking your phone or social media. It’s good role modelling for how you expect them to behave when talking to you and other adults!
Praise and encourage
Praise your teenager for the things they learn and achieve – and for their effort too. This will help with their self-esteem and confidence. Try using ‘descriptive praise’ – telling your teen exactly what it is that you like about what they have done. For example, ‘You studied really hard for that maths test. Well done.’ Praising effort can encourage your teen to try hard in the future, and helps them to see themselves as learners who can master new things.