Writer / Kate Rhoten
Having two teenage boys is an interesting endeavor. Each son has different interests and has completely unique attitudes in their approach to life, but they both need opportunities to connect with us.
There are many moments in our daily lives that can be opportunities to connect with our kids. We just have to find the time and place which doesn’t have to be a major production. Here are five opportunities to connect with our children that I believe are often overlooked:
1. Dinner for two. Occasionally, there is an opportunity to have dinner with one of my guys when the other is busy doing some extra-curricular activity. Going out separately and asking open-ended questions will help get the conversation started. Let the young man or woman lead the conversation.
2. Running errands. I have found that there can be great moments to be had in the mundane activities. Recently, I had a pretty long list of things to do, and both boys came with me. We ran to a children’s resale shop, a recycling center, Goodwill, a bookstore to sell books and then off to get ice cream to cap off the afternoon. During these errands, stories were shared that did not come up previously during the week. Some of the conversations were funny stories that were overlooked, and others were question and answer in design.
3. Breakfast before school. It is important to start your day off with a good meal, and a few minutes with your children will do the same. If we can adjust our schedule to carve out a little bit of time in the morning, we might send the kids off in a better frame of mind.
4. Taking a break from the daily household activities. My youngest occasionally gets me to stop what I am doing to sit and watch a movie with him. Recently it was “The Boy in Striped Pajamas.” He was about 30 minutes into it and asked me to sit with him. He had heard about the movie and found it on one of our streaming services. This gives great insight into their interests and opens up a conversation afterward.
5. Experiences. We have been able to go on trips and do activities that we continue to reference in our conversations periodically. Whether it was our trip almost four years ago to Europe, skiing in Colorado or going to Comic Con, these experiences tie us together. Experiences create memories that children can take with them.
We have plenty of opportunities to just be. It is important to just be with our kids. It is important to take advantage of the easy opportunities. It won’t be long before there won’t be these easily obtained moments as the boys keep getting closer to their next phase of life. In the meantime, I am going to capture and hold on to as many of these moments as I can.