When holidays, school breaks, and summer vacations roll around it often opens a new window into the lives of our children. We see things that we normally don’t notice when we’re caught up in our regular routines. It can also highlight the areas where we have gotten disconnected. Use that time to full advantage! Reconnect with your kids! This is especially present with pre-teens and teenagers. With younger kids, I suggest getting some floor time in with them. Yes it’s exactly what it sounds like! During free time you have the time to get down on the ground and play games with them, pull out their favorite board game, find interactive games like charades that use the imagination. Put the electronics away for an hour. They’ll thank you (maybe years) later.
I recommend asking not lecturing adolescents about their social media habits and profiles. If they are on their phone all the time, tell them to show you their favorite sites. Ask them questions about their online community and get to know their cyber world. It is their natural environment. For parents of older kids starting their independent lives – like college students, young adults who have moved away and new parents, I recommend getting a copy of their schedule and keeping your fingers on the pulse. That is, call them during midterms, send care packages before finals, stay aware and connected especially during times of stress. This is when college students are the loneliest and may fall into depression.
At any age, engaging with your children (without an agenda!) will help you grow closer to and understand them better.