I don’t know about you, but my days can get full. Between work, kids’ extra curricular activities, caring for our 1-year-old foster child, and just keeping the house from falling apart, the day is gone before I know it. Yesterday was just such a day. By the time 11 p.m. rolled around and I was ready for bed, my daughter was still finishing homework. I kissed her good night and began walking up the steps. As I did, the thought occurred to me, “I haven’t spoken with her at all today.”
Have you been there? Our lives are so full that if we’re not intentional, we will lose out on what is most important in our relationships with our teens: connection. The good news is, even for busy people, there are often opportunities for connection hiding in plain sight. Here are 7 opportunities you miss to connect with your teen daily, and some thoughts on changing that.
1. First Thing in the Morning
Mornings can be a blur as we shower, grab coffee and breakfast, and get ready for the day. And as irritable as you and I can be, your teen is often far less interested in having a conversation than you are. But you can still connect with your teen. The key is disciplining yourself to be present. It doesn’t have to be a huge conversation (no one has the energy for that at 6 a.m.), but you might be surprised by the impact a little eye contact and a “good morning, kiddo” can have.
2. Over Breakfast
In the brief moments when you all find yourself in the kitchen, whether it’s sitting over a bowl of cereal or scurrying around looking for a protein bar, breakfast is a great opportunity to check in. “Anything going on in school today?” can be a great question that helps you get a beat on what is going on for him. And if your teen is like most and can’t respond to questions prior to 10 a.m., consider sharing something you’ve got on the agenda for the day that you’re excited for or thinking about.