5 Bonding Activities Parents Can do with Their Tween
Looking for fun things you can do to keep your tween sane during COVID-19? There are plenty of bonding activities you and your kids can do together while maintaining social distancing. Building a stronger bond with your tween isn’t just about making valuable memories (though that’s certainly a win). It can also lead to better communication, particularly when it comes to having difficult conversations like sex. Check out these five bonding activities to do with your tweens this summer.
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1. Go on a Camping Adventure
If you have a tween, they might already be starting to reach that age where they roll their eyes and sigh at the mere thought of going hiking. But taking time to enjoy the great outdoors with your child doesn’t have to elicit moans and groans. Let them take part in the planning process—where to go, what to do and see. Set up some parameters and options and let them take it from there. Kids that feel empowered are more likely to cooperate, which means everyone can have a good time.
Another great way to make camping more fun for your tween is to, well, feed them! No one wants to leave the comfort of home only to eat cold slop in the middle of nowhere. Consider packing a single burner camping stove on your next backpacking adventure and teaching your kids a thing or two about cooking in the wilderness. Whether you want to fry up some bacon or make some delicious smores, this is a must-have to take on your next camping trip.
Camping is one of the best ways to get away from the noise of everyday life, share stories over the campfire, and spend some quality time with your tween. You may even find that it’s an opportune moment to talk things out with your kids about sensitive subjects.
2. Schedule Weekly Movie Time
While going to the theatre may not be an option for your family right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the movies. Setting aside time each week to watch something together is a great way to bond with your tween without the pressure of feeling like you have to talk to each other the whole time. Plus, adding something to their routine that isn’t schoolwork or chores will give them something to look forward to each week. Afterwards, you can ask them what they thought of the movie and have a discussion, which will help them to feel like their opinion is valued. This is a great way to keep the lines of communication open between you and your kids.
3. Plant a Garden Together
Gardening is another great way to get the kids out of the house and still practice social distancing. If you have the space, planting a garden is a fun and educational way to get your kids to take ownership in your home. As your kids are elbow-deep in the dirt they’ll get a chance to learn not only about the earth and the importance of the environment, but also personal responsibility. It’s a challenge getting a plant to grow and flourish. And on top of all that, who doesn’t love the ability to eat something they’ve grown?
Tomatoes, snap peas, blueberries, and carrots are some of the easiest plants for kids to grow. Let them pick something they like so they feel empowered and invested in the success of the garden. Gardening can be an incredibly fulfilling and fun activity for you to do together.
4. Make Dinner Together
Cooking with your teen is one of the best bonding activities there is. Not only will you come out of it with an excellent meal, but it’ll make the task of preparing dinner for your kids less of a chore. If you have a picky eater, you may find that involving your tween in the cooking process can help make unfamiliar foods less intimidating. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to teach your kids about food safety and nutritional wellness. And after many years of cooking together, who knows, maybe it’ll be them cooking YOU a delicious meal at the end of the day. Time well spent!
5. Set Aside Time to Have the “Talk”
There’s never a perfect moment to talk about sexuality. It’s awkward and no one involved wants to do it. That said, the more bonding activities you do together the more open your relationship will become, and the easier it will be to have these sorts of conversations. You need to be willing to talk to each other about more than just intimacy, but responsibility and trust as well. Some of the best teachable moments when it comes to sex occur when you least expect it. Maybe you’re watching a movie together and an intimate scene comes up, or maybe you’re planting a garden and your kid wants to know how babies are made. Regardless, every chance you have to grow your relationship with your child is one step closer to making the sex talk less frightening and more approachable.
Resources to help with talking about sex
My mission is to create resources that will help you to naturally talk to your kids about sex, all while respecting your personal values.
Which means that inside this website, you’ll find lots of resources to help you with talking to your child about love, sex, relationships and growing up.
My Sex Education 101 page includes all of the information on sex education. You’ll find lots of different blog posts to help with getting started, on a wide range of different topics – bodies, consent, diversity, porn, sexual intercourse and more.
You’ll find videos about sex ed in my Sex Education Videos resource page that you can watch with your child or to learn more about sex education yourself.
You’ll also find an extensive range of sex education books for children, for kids of all ages. There are even some books in there for parents!
If you’re looking for some ideas on how to talk to your child about bodies, How to Talk to Kids About Bodies, will help you to start naming the private body parts and to have shame-free conversations with them about bodies. It is filled with lots of different ideas on how to have natural conversations with your child about their body.
You’ll also find some child-friendly anatomically-correct cartoon illustrations of the genitals and internal reproductive organs that are appropriate for children from the age of 3 and up. Let’s Look at Different Body Parts is a printable that will help take the awkward out of talking to your child about their body, so they grow up feeling educated, confident, and comfortable in their own skin.
Or if you’re looking for an activity that you can sit down and complete with your child, then you may want to look at my anatomically-correct paperdolls. They are perfect for starting natural conversations whilst your hands are busy.
If you need some help with explaining sexual intercourse to your child, then How to Talk to Kids About Sex, will help you explain sex to your child in a way they will understand. It breaks sex down into simple steps that take the stress out of explaining!
If you’re unsure about how to answer your child’s questions about sex, then I have the perfect book for you! The Sex Education Answer Book will give you age-specific answers to the most common questions kid’s ask parents about sex. Which means you don’t need to worry about finding a child-friendly explanation that your child understands.
And if you get stuck, feel free to get in touch! You can contact me here.