Getting teen ready for college.

Making Time for the Ones You Love

When it comes to spending time with your busy teen before they go off to college, most parents know that the era of sitting around the dinner table and talking about the day’s events is pretty much over. With practices running late and after-school jobs taking up all the extra hours in your teen’s day, finding time to bond can be tough. Here are some helpful tips for reconnecting with your busy son or daughter.

1. Make an appointment: Getting over the idea that your teen’s calendar is about as busy as a top executive’s can be tough, but the sooner you accept that he or she needs to practically pencil you in, the better. Approach the topic lightly and ask when a good time would be to set aside an hour or two to spend together. Chances are, they’ve been missing you too. Establishing a designated time in advance will make it easier for both of you to commit. If you’ve got an actual calendar in the house, put it on there to act as a reminder, and make a point to put it in your phone as well.

2. Find an activity you both will enjoy: Ask your teen what he or she wants to do. If they’re out of ideas, suggest something nostalgic. Is there a place you used to visit as a family that you haven’t gone to recently? Is there an activity your son or daughter used to love, but hasn’t done in years? Visiting the ol’ Chuck E. Cheese might be a bad call, so try taking a trip to that favorite picnic spot, instead.

3. Make the most of it: If your teen really wants to go see that new Transformers movie with your two hours of bonding time, go. You can still arrive early to laugh about the credits, and there’ll certainly be things to talk about on the drive home—like where did Shia LaBeouf go? Making a positive experience out of the time you have together will help ensure more bonding time to come, and besides—at the end of the day, having fun is what makes memories.