Creative Child

5 Ways to Draw Your Tweens or Teens Out of Their Rooms

by Rebecca Eanes

I have a tween and a teenager. That means my kids stay in their rooms a lot watching The Office and playing video games. To be honest, it’s taken some getting used to. As a mom who has always taken care to maintain our connection, their sudden disappearance into their own little private worlds has been a bit disconcerting. However, this need for privacy and room to grow, I realize, must be respected as much as other stages. 

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It’s perfectly natural for tweens and teens to crave space. Dr. Peter Marshall, a child psychologist, says “Privacy’s important for teens partly because they need to separate. There’s a lot of work for them to do, and they need some space to do it.” Our job is to provide them a warm, safe, and loving environment in which to grow. Nagging them about needing privacy or forcing them to join you often will only cause disconnection in your relationship. However, as much as they appear to not want to spend time with us, it is good to occasionally draw them out and have a little family fun. Here are the best ways I’ve found to reconnect with your tween or teen.

Take a pointless drive together.

My older son loves to take a nighttime drive to nowhere. Roll down the windows, crank up their music, and just enjoy one another’s company. Car trips are also a great time to have deep conversations with your tween or teen. They tend to open up in this type of environment when they can avoid eye contact and talk out the window, and as parents of teens know, any time you can get them to talk to you is golden. 

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Cut the Wi-Fi.

Nothing brings my kids out of their rooms faster than the wi-fi going out. I’m not suggesting you cut service as a form of punishment to run them out, but having some scheduled wi-fi free time in your month is a good way to get their eyes back on you so you can interact with them again. Just be sure you have a plan for a fun way to fill that time, like cooking together, a family movie, board games, hikes, or whatever your family enjoys together. 

Join them.

You know the old saying, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Gaming with our older kids and watching Netflix shows in their rooms with them have been great ways to connect with them while we step into their worlds for a while. I don’t mean to brag, but my gaming skills haven’t been so sharp since the original Mario Bros. Remember how you used to get on the floor and play with them when they were small, and how it filled their cups and made them behave better and feel happier? This seems to be the equivalent for teens and tweens. Keep playing together!

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