Six simple ways to connect with your child of any age.
Share a meal. Meal times were made for connection; regardless of what meal you choose to share, make it a time of intention. This means eating in the same area, with all electronics put away. By doing this you have created the perfect environment for story-telling, laughter, and rest.
Read together. Story time is not just for toddlers. Spend a moment together over a story: laugh together over humorous article with your teen, pour over fascinating locations in a travel magazine with your ten-year old, or snuggle up with your toddler and their favorite bed-time story.
Learn the art of open-ended questions. What is an open-ended question? Any question that can not be answered with one word. Rather than, “Did you have a good day at school?” try “What was the best part of your day today?” Avoid the pitfall of assuming your child does not want to talk with you; the majority of children - especially as they approach adolescence, are waiting for their parent to approach them.
Take a walk. The beauty of walking is that it provides “space”- mental space, emotional space, and physical space - to allow for deeper conversation simply because you are not directly looking at your child.
Unplug for an hour a day. Or more. Our children are in competition with our electronic devices - especially with our phones; this creates an unhealthy dynamic and breeds resentment. By turning off your phone (and all other electronics) you make it clear that there is no competition - your child is the winner.
Be a constant student of your child. Development and aging is a dynamic process; your child is not (or should not be) the same individual they were a year ago. Everything from their favorite television show to their friend group is often changing. The more you know what is happening in your child’s life, the more you will know how to engage and be a part of it.