With Thanksgiving coming up in a few days, it’s a great time to start thinking about what you were thankful for over this past year and take the few days off to plan your upcoming winter break to kick off next year. If you don’t have vacation plans and are going to stay home over the winter break, the winter break is a great time to kick back, relax, and enjoy a little peace and get ready for the new year around the corner. For those of you with kids, the time off from school is a wonderful short break time with your kids and a great way to tackle that winter break bucket list. The preteen and teen years are a great opportunity to make more out of your kids’ time off by building valuable life skills that they’ll appreciate and actually use long after the break is over. This parenting bucket list for teens and preteens is a great place to start-especially if you’re hoping to reboot your relationship with your kids and get your family moving in a more productive direction into the new year.
Open a savings account. If your teen or preteen doesn’t yet have a savings account, now is a great time to start one! Before you know it, they’re going to need those savings for college, living expenses, a car, burritos, and more. Help them open a savings account, then discuss important principles of savings. Money skills are a life skill where some parenting, guidance, and coaching can go a long way. Give your child the opportunity to start earning money this summer that can begin to fill up that account.
Start a business together. You need to fill the savings account somehow, right? Embrace your child’s creativity and entrepreneurial spirit and help them start a business. Babysitting and if you get snow in your area, shoveling snow is a great way to earn some spending money, but don’t be afraid to branch out into something that will work for your family, either. Jobs for teens can easily be found in the neighborhood; does Mr. Jones need someone to walk his dog? Also, working with your kids and doing something in partnership teaches valuable cooperation, planning, and leadership skills.
Host a family “cooking show”. Video yourselves-or don’t-and get a little silly as you prepare family favorite dishes and check out new recipes. Before you know it, your child will need to know how to cook for themselves (and it’s kind of nice when they want to cook for you for a change!). Family cooking nights are a great way to be sure they have the skills they need-and to practice the ones that still need a little work. Cookie dough, anyone?
Embark on a fitness challenge together. If you belong to a club or gym that has an indoor pool go swimming together, or stay indoors and get moving with a fitness video or take a fitness class such as yoga. When you’re active together, you’re all more likely to stick with it-and by making it fun, you’re increasing the odds that your child will stick with a lifetime of fitness.
Take on home repairs together (or learn to build something from scratch). Some of the most important skills your child ever develops won’t be learned in a classroom. Instead, present them with the skills to maintain, repair, and improve items around the house. Build an IKEA bookshelf and hang it together, make a big canvas from scratch, make some cool jewelry (I’m looking at you dads), or just let them work with you while you struggle to repair the washing machine. Giving your kids a medium through which to learn hands on life skills is pretty cool. You might be surprised by what you can accomplish together!
If you’re struggling with your interactions with your kids, you’re not alone! My book, Family 2.0: Harness Business Principles to Reboot Your Family in 4 Days, is a great starting point for improving your relationship with your teens and preteens. Check it out today to help harness the power of business principles to make this winter break your kids’ best yet!
I’d seriously love to hear from you!