By Rebecca D’Onofrio, M.Ed
Every family can feel stressed after living through months of a pandemic. But, this can feel especially difficult living with tweens. Your tween’s schedules have been completely disrupted. Their after school hangouts, camp plans, and summer pool parties have all been rescheduled or canceled, and the future school year is still up in the air. So how can you find positivity within your family when our world seems so chaotic? Below are 5 tools to help your family.
- Deliver random acts of kindness
Ever heard, “giving is better than receiving?” When living during such a chaotic time, this statement has never been more accurate. Finding ways to deliver random acts of kindness can be an easy way to add positivity into your family. Brainstorm some ideas that you can do together as a family. Here are a few suggestions:
- Write letters thanking health care professionals
- Create and bring care packages to an elderly facility
- Deliver thank you cards to your child’s teachers
- Give each other compliments around the dinner table
- Find ways to connect as a family
It’s clear that increased connection as a family can increase everyone’s positivity. But, after spending months inside together it can be challenging to find new ways to connect with your tween. Here are a few ideas for connecting with your tween that you may not have tried yet:
- Set up a book club: Choose a book that you and your tween can read. Meet when you’re both finished with the book to discuss your thoughts. One way to make your book club extra special is to choose a book that has been turned into a movie. Then you can schedule a movie night once you’re done with the book.
- Cook a family meal together: A lot can be shared while cooking and eating a meal together. Choose dishes that everyone enjoys and work together to cook the meal, set the table, and enjoy the meal as a family.
- Have a dance party. It’s okay to be silly and have fun with your kids. Choose some of your tween’s favorite music, blast it in the living room, and take some time to dance and have fun together.
- Set up a routine
When the world feels chaotic, routines can be a great way to get everyone on the same page and promote positivity. Routines can be more effective when you and your tween work together to create them. During your conversation, work with your tween to examine these components:
- Decide what routines your tween needs.
Does your tween need a morning routine, bedtime routine, homework routine, etc?
- Consider time management.
How long should it take to complete the routine?
- Be sure to post the routine.
Will it be written on a white board, personal notebook, agenda book, etc.?
- Determine how progress will be monitored.
Will you check in once a week, or create a checklist for everytime the routine is followed correctly?
- Get moving
Movement is an ideal outlook for when you are looking to stay positive during these chaotic times. Studies have shown that movement promotes stronger brain health and an enhanced mood. For those days that it seems hard to stay positive, try spending some time moving with your tween. These are some movement ideas that you and your tween might enjoy together:
- Family bike rides
- Walks around the neighborhood
- A friendly game of basketball at the park
- A virtual yoga class done in the living room
- Find activities to look forward to
Positivity can be hard to find when activities are continuously cancelled and rescheduled. As a family, create a “bucket list” of activities you want to accomplish together. Make sure all of the activities are outdoors or socially distanced so you won’t have to cancel or reschedule. Your “bucket list” might include:
- Roller skate on an outdoor rink
- Play minigolf
- Spend a day at the beach
- Get takeout from your favorite restaurant
- Spend a night camping in your backyard
Rebecca D’Onofrio, M.Ed is a Parent Coach and the founder of Parenting Positively. As a mom and educator, her life’s mission is to give families the tools they need to have a calm and stress-free household where they can have fun and enjoy their children. Rebecca can be found on instagram @ParentingPositively or at www.Parenting-Positively.com. She’d love to hear from you!