A tween, or a pre-teen, is a real transitional phase when it comes to your children. They are not quite a teenager, but they don’t want to be treated like a young child anymore. While you want to encourage them to be grown-up, you also need to be mindful that in some cases they might not be at the right age to do it. It is all about finding a balance while keeping calm in the home.
Communication is the one thing you might have noticed starting to become an issue as they get older. They might not ordinarily listen to you when you are given instruction and in some cases try and be defiant in their actions. However, before you head down a troublesome path leading to even harder teenage years, there are things that you can do that can help improve the communication you have with your tween. Improving the relationship you have ready for when you hit the teenage years. Here are some of the things that you can try to communicate with your tween.
The bedtime routine shouldn’t be forgotten
Many parents know the importance of a bedtime routine for their children when theta re younger, but as they grow up you might think they no longer need that bedtime connection with you. But this is still an opportunity for your child to talk to you. While you may not tuck them in or read them a book, you can use this quiet time to talk about their day. As it is the end of the day, they may be more likely to talk to you about things.
It is also the perfect chance for them to get anything off their minds before going to sleep. Stopping them from worrying in the night and helping them to get a good night’s sleep.
Spend more time together
Another great way to encourage communication is to spend more time together. When your child is younger, and there are siblings, you often make an effort to spend one-to-one time with them. But as they get older you may feel less inclined to do it. But time spent together can be a great way to give your child a chance to open up. You can ask them questions about school, or talk about the things that interest them.
You can also spend time together as a family. Afternoons out or even the evening meal time eating together can be a great way to reconnect with your children. If they feel part of it, then they might open up more if something is bothering them.
Give praise when possible
Praise is often something we do naturally when our children are younger. Especially as they grasp new skills and learn things. But it is just as important as your child gets older. Praise them when it comes to school work, doing things well, achieving something, or when they are awarded. However, don’t forget to praise the small things, such as getting on with their siblings, tidying their room, or doing something that you have asked them to do. Praise is an excellent confidence booster, and as they approach their teenage years they will need this in abundance.
Another thing to think about is how involved you are, specifically with their interests, clubs, and after-school activities. Again when they are younger, you tend to do more with them in terms of their activities, but as they get older you may feel like they want their independence and not have you watching all of the time.
This might be the case, and giving independence is a great step, but also staying behind to watch the odd thing can also give them a real boost. Or turning up a few minutes early to collect them and watch the last bit. It shows you are still involved in what they are doing, which can help to improve communication and your relationship with your tween as they are getting older.
Be mindful of electronics and screen time
Communication is important, and one of the biggest stumbling blocks that you can face with your child is their use of screens and electronics. While you don’t want to control every aspect of what they do, it is still important to have boundaries when it comes to screen time. Especially at this impressionable age. You could look at having limits in place and then encouraging time to be spent with you or doing something else. If they are less distracted, the more opportunity they will have to talk to you.
Be interested in what they have to say
It is important to be interested in what they have to say. As they get older they may start to notice things or change their behaviour slightly. This is the start of the teenage years. It might be a good idea to think about how you can show an interest in what they have to say. Listening can really help. Instead of answering straight away or even dismissing what they have to say, listen and hear them out. Then take a minute to consider your response. The more you give them a soundboard to talk to you, the more they will open up to you in the future.
Listening, in general, can improve communication with a child of any age, so try and actively do this on your part. Children are not that great at listening, but if you have shown them the respect of listing yourself, then you are more likely to get a better reaction from your tween.
Be aware of your tone of voice
Finally, be aware of your tone of voice. Sometimes it is so easy to react to something they say, and because of the tone of voice you have used, they might likely not talk about it again. You want the lines of communication to stay open, so being aware of what you say can make a big difference to communication and how much your child confides in you.
Let’s hope these tips help you to communicate with your tween.