Worried about hearing your teens complain “I’m bored” this summer? You’re probably not alone. It’s hard for parents to come up with ideas that can keep their teenagers both entertained and engaged all summer long — especially ones that don’t involve the television or their smartphones. And forget the frustrations of bonding with your teen. Next to impossible.
But, in addition to keeping your teen boredom-free, summer is also a great opportunity to bond. Teenagers tend to experience a lot of changes in emotions as they grow. As a result, some parent-teen relationships can feel strained at times. By doing things that will strengthen that relationship, you can learn more about what your teen is feeling, and have more fun together.
3 ideas for bonding with your teen this summer
You don’t have to break the bank or go far to bond with your teen. Want to stay at home and have family movie nights or board game nights? It’s easy! Make the experience special by cleaning up your home or its exterior so you can have movie nights outside, or play board games on the patio. Want to get away for a while? Take a weekend trip somewhere so you can talk and reconnect. If you’re still stumped on how to bond with your teen while having fun this summer, let’s take a look at a few ideas.
Fetching a Four-Legged Friend
As suggested earlier, the teenage years can be trying for anyone. Your son or daughter is going through a lot of transitions, and it can be hard to deal with for everyone. One way to bring your family closer is to introduce a new member: a puppy!
Bringing a new dog into the family is a big decision, but it’s a great way for everyone to chip in and take responsibility for what that dog needs. You could assign each person a “job” with the new puppy. A dog can also give your teenager someone new to connect with and feel close to. If they’re going through a hard time, a dog can really provide a lot of comfort. Plus, getting a puppy in the summer can make it easier to take them on long walks and train them outside. With a puppy around, you definitely won’t be hearing any cries of boredom!
Talk to your teen about the idea of getting a puppy, and what it might mean for you as a family. If everyone is on board, take the right steps to prepare for your new furry friend. This includes getting all the supplies you need, making an appointment to get them checked out by a veterinarian, and even considering pet insurance. Puppies can get into things they shouldn’t, and accidents happen. Having pet insurance can make it easier to keep medical costs down if you have to make frequent trips to the vet.
Getting Behind the Wheel
If your teenager is getting to the age when they can start driving, one effective way to bond this summer is to share that experience with them. This can be a nerve-racking experience for some parents, but it’s a great opportunity to show your teen you trust them.
Log as many driving hours as you can with them, and give them gentle advice along the way, while remaining calm. Try to avoid high-traffic areas. Instead, stick to quiet neighborhoods, parking lots, etc.
One of the biggest problems teens face nowadays is driving distracted. Not only is it important to teach them how to focus on the road, but you have to set a good example, yourself. Be aware of your own habits as you drive. Stay off your phone, don’t mess with the radio, etc. Your teen will pick up on your routine, and they’ll be more likely to adopt the same habits.
Teaching your teen to drive can eventually lead to you picking out a car with them. If you spend the whole summer together logging miles, you could reward them with a car of their own by the time school starts again.
Staying Cool and Getting Strikes
While spending time outdoors is always a hit in the summer, sometimes you need to cool off. What better place to bond with your teen than an old-fashioned bowling alley (with air conditioning, of course!)?
Bowling might seem outdated, but it’s actually growing in popularity thanks to improvements in many bowling alleys throughout the country.
If you really want to get involved in bowling with your teen, do your research ahead of time. Different bowlers need different types of balls. You’ll also need shoes that fit and are comfortable. Choosing the right equipment can help to make the experience easier and more fun for everyone. You can always rent these items from your local bowling alley to make sure it’s something you and your son or daughter enjoy doing. If it is, consider getting involved in a local league together!
There are so many unique and fun ways you can spend more time with your teenager this summer. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your choices and think outside the box. Anything you can do over the next few months to really bond and remain close with your teen will serve to strengthen your relationship during this important time in their lives.
Author the Writer: Brooke Faulkner is a writer and mom in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. You can check out more of her writing on twitter, @faulknercreek