My two oldest kids are nine and ten. They’re no longer interested in trips to the park, where I used to push them on the swings while they’d squeal “higher, Mommy! Higher!” On a side note, they don’t even call me ‘Mommy’ anymore 🙁 They’re no longer interested in holding hands with me on a nature walk through the trees. Gosh, I miss the days where they would collect endless amounts of pinecones and rocks for me to carry. They’re no longer interested in helping me bake cookies…unless of course I promise that they get to eat some of the dough. Yeah, I’m the mom that lets her kids eat raw cookie dough. DON’T SHAME ME! 🙂
So yeah, although my love hasn’t changed for my children as they’ve gotten older, the way I show them love has. I’ve compiled a list of ten ways you can show your tween (kids who are ages 9-12) that you really care.
#1 Get Interested in what They’re Doing
I know the last thing you probably want to do is be around the Xbox, but consider it. My son loves when I just hang out on his bed while I watch him play his games. He will show me all of the cool things he does with Fortnite and ask for something called V-Bucks, which I (almost) always deny. Once in awhile, I’ll ask to play it. He enjoys it when I play along with him, even though I’m not good at it!
As for my daughter, you can usually find her on the couch after school unwinding on her tablet playing Animal Jam. Sometimes I’ll sit next to her and just watch while she shows me her animals and I’ll ask her questions. It’s not the most thrilling thing ever, but just being close means a lot to kiddos at this age.
#2 Put your Phone Down
Last weekend I was at my son’s soccer practice and one of the boys ran past his mom and yelled, “I love you Mom!” And she didn’t even look up from her phone! The boy kept looking back and you could tell he was very hurt because she didn’t respond. Moms, when you’re at your child’s practices or games, put your phone down! Keep them in your car, or in your purse or back pocket. Facebook can wait! Your child will be watching to see if you’re watching all of the amazing things they’re doing, so please show them you love them by paying attention. Pro-tip: Cheer them on!
#3 Have Lunch with Them
A great way to connect with your tween is to take them out for lunch. It’s even better when you let them decide on where to go. Have a “no phone” rule and just focus on conversation. Ask them about their friends, funny things that happen at school, or about places they’d like to visit one day. Get prepared to listen to some really great (and sometimes really long) stories. Actually listen and provide your ideas and thoughts! Having a relaxing meal away from the daily stresses of life can help kids open up and feel more connected to you.
#4 Make sure they have Clean Laundry and Beds
I used to work in a school and during a writing prompt, students would write about things that were important to them. Many students listed that having clean clothes and a clean bed to sleep in were important. Kids at this age are able to wash their own clothes, yes, but sometimes they need a little help. Between school, their social life, sports, homework, reading, etc., they might not have time to do their laundry or clean their bedding. Go the extra mile and ensure that they have fresh clean clothes for school each day. Help them get in the habit of washing their bed clothes every weekend. Kids really notice and appreciate what you do for them, even if they don’t always express it.
#5 Let them Choose
When I was a tween, my mom used to belittle me for the things I chose to wear to school. I wasn’t a girly girl…I wore mostly t-shirts and jeans. She didn’t like this and would make comments about how I should dress more like a girl. In fact, she still brings it up, even though I’m super feminine now. That being said, my own daughter is nine, and this year I let her pick out the type of clothes she wanted to wear to school. She chose athletic shorts, jean shorts, t-shirts, and plain white tennis shoes. Was I disappointed? A little. Her best friend wears super cute outfits and shoes and I wish sometimes my daughter would wear those things. However, I never, ever say anything to her about it. I’m glad that my daughter is comfortable with who she is and I am pretty sure she appreciates that I don’t force her to wear things that just aren’t for her.
#6 They’re Never too Old for a Hug
A hug goes a long way! And I’m not talking about just a two second hug. Go more for 15-20 LONG seconds. Hug your kids after they’ve had a stressful day or upset about something. Hug them for no reason. Hug them even when their friends are watching. They may pretend to be embarrassed, but deep down, they love knowing that you love them.