Text. E-mail. Face-to-face. Whatever method you use. Staying in constant contact with your tween is vital.
Do you remember worrying about staying in touch with your baby, toddler or child? No, of course you didn’t. You were either carrying your infant, feeding your toddler or watching your child play with toys. You never needed to have a way to communicate with your child because aside from school, day care or when your child was with a babysitter or family, you knew where your child was at all times.
I miss those simpler times. My bubble of security was rocked a bit when my now-15-year-old asked to walk to a friend’s house when she was about 9. I freaked. I overreacted. I allowed her walk to her friend’s house only if she promised to phone me AS SOON AS she arrived AND if she carried a Motorola walkie talkie. She didn’t have a cell phone. Come to think of it, I wasn’t nearly so attached to my cell phone back in my preblogging days.
Her little trip was a success. We set up a protocol for how we would stay in touch. I came to realize that this burst of independence was the precursor to the tween and teen years.
How to stay in touch with your preteen (and teen)?
We use any and all available methods of communication. Communication doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to build the fabric of how you will stay in contact with your tween.
Whether it is at the breakfast table, in the van or at the dinner table, I take time to reconnect with my pretten. A two-minute conversation might yield what is bothering her or that she needs money for a school dance ticket or that she is ticked off with a friend.
I try to go out for one-on-one time, but with our family’s hectic schedule it can be hard to schedule. I try. If the one-on-one time is taking my preteen to get a milkshake from the Burger King drive-thru on the way back from the orthodontist…well, that’s what I do. ‘Whatever works’ is my motto.
Before my daughters got cell phones, I added both to our e-mail account. I let both practice with e-mail. We had some hiccups. One kid gave her password to a friend. No. One kid signed up for a freebie from an e-mail. Uh, definitely No.
E-mail is now a good way to pass on information to my older two children. I send e-mails with reminders about tidying their rooms. Or with changes to the schedule. Or just an “Attaboy.” I may not get a response, but at least the girls are in the know about what is going on, even if they choose to pretend otherwise.
Yay for texting. Hooray for cell phones. I do not know what I would do without ‘em!
Last fall I texted my teen almost daily to see if she was riding the bus or staying after school. The carpool would have been a disaster without texting and cellphones.
What do you do to stay in contact with your preteen? Leave a comment below.
When not fretting about EVERYTHING, Jill blogs at Musings From Me about all the things she is fretting about.