How to Build Communication Bridges with Your Teen

28 July 2015
Raising a child doesn’t come with a book of instructions.  If it did, the task would be much easier.  Facing the teenage years with your son or daughter is not something most parents look forward to.  This article will help you take the experience one day at a time and learn how to bridge the communication gap.

As your child goes from toddler to youngster to tween to teenager, something in what you say gets lost in translation.  They can give you that blank stare as if the words that are coming out of your mouth sound like the unseen teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons.

It’s not easy to improve the communication bridges with a teen but it’s important to try to get through as these years and the choices they make now will have a vital impact on their future.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Watch your body language.  How you move says a lot about you.  When a person is tired, they tend to slump.  When angered, your jaw muscles tighten and your eyes narrow into slits.  Believe it or not, teenagers are good at interpreting body language.  Yours will betray you when you are talking to them.  Keep it open and honest.  Avoid sitting with your arms crossed, eyes looking away from them or squirming in your seat.

2. Make eye contact.  When you don’t look at the person you are talking to it says that you are either hiding something or you are not at all interested in what they have to say.  Your teenager will shut down emotionally when they suspect that you are not “tuned in” to them.  Sit comfortably and give your teen undivided attention with consistent eye contact.  It lets them know that you care.

3. Keep your emotions in check.  Remember back to when you were a teenager.  Some of the things you said to your parents were aimed at freaking them out.  Teenagers will push your buttons if they can.  Don’t go overboard and get upset.  Their target is the situations they know make you mad.  Instead, take a deep breath and ignore the taunt.  Do the opposite of what they expect because really, they want you to see through their ploy and find out the real problem.

4. Ask them about their day.  This technique works with spouses also.  Even if your teen only grunts or says the obligatory, “It was okay,” ask anyway.  Your show of caring will go a long way to convince them that you are interested in the things that they do and how they feel.

5. Be honest with them.  If you don’t understand the situation they are talking about then say so.  Kids know when you are being insincere.  Discuss the situation until you get an idea of where they are coming from.  Your teen won’t mind explaining as long as they know you are listening.

6. Allow them their privacy.  This one is tricky and since you know your child better than anyone else, you can draw the line.  Teens value their time alone.  While the policy in your home may be that there are no locks on the doors, always show respect by knocking before entering.  If they don’t want to be pressed about a situation in school, wait until they are ready (if it’s not urgent) and then talk about it.

Parenting a teenager takes a tough skin, a willingness to be vulnerable and lots of love.  You will make mistakes but whatever you do, don’t ever stop talking.

Summer Activities Ideas

27 July 2015

Summer Activities Ideas

  As the long and dreary months of winter begin to come to a close, parents begin thinking about summer activities to get their children involved in. Summer activities provide children with something to do when they’re out of school for a few months. Not only are summer activities fun, but they also give kids the exercise and social interaction they need to stay healthy. Below are several great summer activities ideas that your children may enjoy!

Swimming: For the most part, one of the most exciting summer activities enjoyed by children is swimming. So, why consider signing your child up for a summer swim team? Not only will they learn how to be better swimmers, but they’ll meet others who enjoy swimming just as much as they do and they’ll also learn about the benefits of working hard towards a goal and healthy competition.
If you have young children who are too little for competitive swimming, then consider enrolling them in swimming lessons. Every child needs to learn how to swim and it’s never too soon to start. They even have swimming classes for babies – and their mothers, of course!

Horse Riding Lessons: Perhaps, you have children who aren’t really into the traditional sports and don’t care too much about swimming. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any outdoor summer activities that they’ll enjoy. Horse riding lessons may be the perfect solution. Children not only learn the proper way to ride a horse, but they’ll also learn about how to care for the horses as well.

Sports: The most common summer activities children participate in are the traditional organized sports such as t-ball, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, flag football and others. Some of these sports children are able to play as young as 3 or 4. So, if you have a child who enjoys playing games and sports, then sign them up to play on a summer league team for the sport they like best. They’ll have a blast playing with their friends!

Camps: There are summer activities available for children regardless of what it is they enjoy. A lot of times, there are even camps available that allow children to enjoy their interests more in-depth. These camps can last a week, two or even a month! And, just because it’s a “camp” doesn’t always mean your child has to stay there throughout the week. Many of these are considered “day camps.” So, if you’re looking for summer activities, check into the nearby summer camps for kids!

Summer Activities for Teenagers

26 July 2015

Summer Activities for Teenagers

 Summer activities for teenagers are important for a number of reasons. However, once the school year is completed, a lot of parents let their kids do whatever they want. Generally, this is because the parents still have to go to work every day and, after all, their kids are teens, so they can stay home alone, right? While this may be true, unattended teens or teens who don’t have anything to do during the day tend to get in more trouble than those who are busy.

  Keeping teens busy through summer activities for teenagers is one of the most important things parents can do for their teens’ safety. While teens are young adults, the fact is that they aren’t adults yet and still lack the maturity to make good decisions – for the most part. This is where summer activities for teenagers helps. They keep teens busy and out of trouble.

  There are a multitude of summer activities for teenagers available to choose from. In fact, many of the activities available aren’t even considered “activities.” For example, you could require that your teenage son or daughter gets a summer job to keep them busy during the day. This would help them in a number of ways. First, they would be learning the value of work while earning extra money. Secondly, they would held accountable for their actions to someone else (their boss), which is something all teens need to experience before they get out on their own. Why? Because, that’s the real world. Lastly, by holding down a job during the summer, they will be building up their resume and work experience, which colleges and future employers will look at.

  You may not want your teen to take a job during his or her time off and that’s fine, but summer activities for teenagers are still important. If you have a teen who enjoys sports, then getting them involved in a summer league will not only give them something to do with their days, but will also help them improve their talent. Many parents dismiss the value of sports, but the truth is that teens learn discipline, life lessons and can even earn college scholarships through the sports they play during high-school.

   Finally, there are still more summer activities for teenagers that are beneficial for them other than a summer job and sports. If you have a teen who is very goal-oriented and has the desire to continue his or her education or work on creating great experiences for their college applications, then it is probably worth your time to talk to your teen about enrolling in summer college courses. You should also check into internship and volunteering opportunities available during the summer for your teen.

  As you can see, there are many summer activities for teenagers available. All of these activities have their own unique benefits for your teen, but the one common benefit they share is keeping your teen busy during the summer. Keeping your teen busy, with the right activities, means that your teen is less likely to be getting in trouble during the summer – which will be a huge relief to you.

Small Summer Activities to Do With Kids

25 July 2015

Small Summer Activities to Do With Kids

   A lot of people feel that the summertime is all about going on vacations, tanning and spending lazy days swimming. While these things are great summer activities, there is much more that can be done during the months of summer. This is especially true for those of us with children. Below is a list of small summer activities that you can do with your children. Often times people feel that summer activities have to take up a large portion of the day, but this isn’t true. You can have a lot of fun and make great memories doing the little things below.

Plant Flowers: It’s true that planting flowers may get done quicker if you just do it yourself, but if you have young children it’s much more rewarding to take the time and let them help. Even if you dig the hole and place the flower in it and just let them pack in the dirt around it – they’ll love it. When you’re all done, the satisfaction you’ll see on their faces will make the extra time letting them help worth it. Additionally, because they helped plant the flowers, they’ll more than likely want to help water them throughout the summer, as well.

Make Homemade Ice Cream: One of the best treats enjoyed by all children during the summer is ice cream. So, why not make it a fun family tradition to make your own ice cream? Your children will enjoy and learn a lot as they help with the ice cream making process.

Plant a Garden: It’s important that children learn where their foods come from. So, one of the best ways to help them learn this is to show them. Take them to the store in late winter/early spring and pick out some packets of vegetable/fruit seeds. Then, when the weather is right, have them help you plant the seeds. They will enjoy watching the “fruits of their labor” begin to grow…and eventually get to eat them!

Take a Walk: Summer evenings are too good to let pass by while being indoors. So, take advantage of the great weather and take the entire family on a walk around the neighborhood. If your children don’t want to walk, let them ride their bikes or pull them in a wagon. The activity is very simple, but a lot of fun for everyone!

  Above are just a few of the many simple summer activities you can do with your children that are not only fun, but create great memories. Just remember that children are much easier to please than adults. Things like homemade ice cream, going to the park and water gun fights are just as much fun for them as big family vacations. Therefore, look for little things you can do together this summer and have fun!