Your tween is making friends, and creating a social life at school, church, and online. Lure your tween into discussions about their real and virtual friends through innovative ways of initiating discussions. You can learn more about their friends and activities, by using these simple techniques.
Driving Your Captive Audience
Because your tween is not yet driving, and is seat-belted while you are driving them around town, be sure to use this time wisely. It is important to take this time to engage your child in conversation; so turn down the radio, and start asking indirect questions.
Ask more pointed questions once you have a specific topic, such as a new friend, a class project, activities, or event invitations. Always ask your tween who, what, when, where, and why, to prevent future misunderstandings, or clear up any discrepancies relating to your child’s real or virtual friendships.
Family Dinner Table Talks
Research has shown that family dinners create a sense of belonging while instilling better nutritional choices, opening the way for lively family discussions. According to “Family Meals: More than Just Eating at Home” from Meals Matter online at http://www.mealsmatter.org/EatingForHealth/Topics/Healthy-Living-Articles/Family-Meals.aspx ; children experienced “better nutritional intake, and a decreased risk for unhealthy weight control practices and substance abuse.”
Additional studies were cited in the above mentioned article from research conducted at the University of Minnesota and Harvard. They reinforce the facts that healthier kids make better choices in life, whether you’re around or not, and are more likely to discuss them at your next family dinner meal.
Kitchen Table-Snacking Talks
Kitchen table talks can be easy to initiate with an assortment of healthy fruits and dipping snacks. Your tween is growing quickly, and is probably hungry all the time anyway, so entice them to join you around the kitchen table to talk, under the guise of sweet snacking.
Try setting up a selection of sour granny (green) apples and pear slices, including dip bowls filled with Nutella chocolate, and peanut butter. For another engaging snack activity, guaranteed to make any tween talk, try cutting bananas into bite-sized chunks, dip them into syrup using toothpicks, and have plates of chopped nuts, and shredded coconut to roll them around in.
Your kids will be dipping, eating, and talking without even knowing it! As long as you have a captive audience your tween will have no other alternative but to talk about new friends, new fun, and important activities you need to know about.