As my daughter has gotten older, I’ve had to get creative to have bonding time with her and the reality is that she really does need me during this time in her life. Being a high school student presents lots of challenges from feeling disconnected to stressed about school- both high school and what’s after. Here’s a list of things you can do with your Teen to have fun, reconnect and plan for the future over the holiday break.
1. Create a Vision Board. Creating a Vision board for the upcoming year is bonding time. It helps you focus on your goals and helps you define where you want to be in the next year. Using this time with your Teens could be special.
2. Create a College Dream Board. Envisioning being successful in college is half the battle. Create a board about college. Go online and find information about colleges that you like and want to visit. Add them to your calendar for next year. This also helps creating goals. You can use this for college planning. Si se puede!
3. Open Up a College-Prepping Savings Account. Most teens get cash for the holidays. Use some of this money for a college-prepping fund account. It’s a small and tangible way to save that money for the future. This could be used for college applications, ACT or SAT test-prep or the actual tests in the event you don’t qualify for fee waivers.
4. Cook a Family-Recipe Together. Seriously. Bring out a family recipe that you haven’t cooked before. Invite your Mom or Tia over to give you their recipe. Have your teenager write it down for you. Take pics and savor the moment.
5. Record the story of their birth for them. Bust out the video app and record both of you. Tell them all of the details of how they were born or chosen if they’re adopted and have them ask you questions about the play by play. Aw, tear or lol.
6. Take “Twin” pictures with matching tops. This is often used a special occasion picture- but why not do it now? Live in the moment and capture the moment. Who knows? This could be an easy tradition to start!
7. Play Loteria. Seriously. It’s so much fun and will connect you to millions of Latinos who play this during the holidays. You can use this time to tell them about your stories of playing Loteria growing up.
8. Create a Gratitude Jar. Start a tradition today! You don’t have to wait until the New Year. Write down something you’re grateful for on a daily basis and put it in a jar. During this time next year, you can open up this Gratitude Jar and read them off together.
9. Do something they want to do. Most of the year, we’re stuck inside and as adults, we decide what we’re going to do as a family. Allow your teen to decide what to do. Set the parameters, the budget, whether it must be free, etc. When I asked my Baby-girl what she wanted to do over the holiday, she said that all she wanted to do was go to the beach. So, we’re going to do just that. Who knows we might find some coffee? lol
10. Listen to your Teen. Bust out your video feature on your camera and record them answering questions you want to ask them. Have you ever found yourself having to ask your teen to “say that again?” Many of us, overwhelmed with everything that we have going on, unknowingly tune our kids out. Their voices sound like Charlie Brown’s mom. But this could be a great way of training yourself to listen to them and honor what they are saying to you.
Enjoy your kids this holiday break. When its challenging, just try to remember how cute they once were! The little baby you fell in love with is still there. Honor them, love them and help them through these challenging teen years with compassion and laughter. Happy Holidays!
Alma V. Marquez
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