If you’re a busy working parent, no doubt you turn around sometimes, look at your blossoming, beautiful teenage daughter and think to yourself: “she’s growing up so fast!”Don’t you wish you could put your foot on the brake and stop time, so you can enjoy watching her grow and change and become the young adult you know she’s destined to be? Well, you can’t actually stop the clock, but you can, in a way, slow it down. If you spend more time with her, doing activities you both enjoy, your bond will grow, deepen and strengthen.We’ve got some ideas about things to do with her you will both enjoy. Choose one or two of these activities each week, and start spending more time with your wonderful daughter before she’s fully grown and out of the nest.
- Go To Yoga Or Another Exercise Class Together
Maybe your days of a full-on, high cardio kickboxing class are behind you, but that doesn’t mean there are no options you can enjoy with her when she’s not doing a high-intensity workout at the gym.Consider a yoga or stretch class together, or maybe an aquafit class — any activity that you can do together that makes you work up a sweat and puts you both in a good mood. Take her for a latte afterwards and spend an hour chatting about everything from high school to her date last weekend to her thoughts about college.In a casual atmosphere like that, she is far more likely to open up than if you sit her down at home and start asking pointed questions about her plans for the future.
- Take Her Shopping
Every parent knows that taking their daughter shopping presents an excellent opportunity for conversation. Go to a shopping centre where there are plenty of stores for both of you to browse the racks and try things on.Ask her opinion of clothes and jewellery. This lets you learn more about how she chooses her clothes, shoes and every other item in her wardrobe, and that teaches you a lot about her sensibilities in general. If you’re making a day of it, take her to lunch midway through and seize the chance to chat.These are the moments parents wish they could get back later when their daughter is an adult, so don’t forgo the opportunity one Saturday just because you’ve got a busy day. Set those errands aside temporarily, and take advantage!
- Spend A Morning At The Spa
If your daughter loves pampering, why not book a mani-pedi for both of you and take her to a spa? This is one of those girl activities she can’t do with her dad, so make the most of it. Share coffee and a sweet treat while your nails are getting done, and ask her to choose the colour for yours.You’d be surprised how small gestures like that can make a teenage girl feel heard, respected, and admired for her tastes. And that’s important, particularly coming from her parent.
- Go To A Gallery Or Museum
Parents sometimes overlook the possibility of throwing a little education into a fun outing with their children, as if the two can’t go hand in hand. But an enjoyable afternoon can indeed be spent viewing the art of the old Masters or at a natural history museum or a modern art gallery. It gives you the chance to talk to your daughter about something other than personal matters, which means no land mines ahead!Instead of focusing on her life and future, ask her opinions about the paintings she sees – which ones inspire her and which ones leave her cold. Because schools don’t always have art in the curriculum, this kind of outing gives you the chance to contribute to her education in an important and meaningful way.
- Cook A Meal Together
Not everything you do with your daughter has to be outside the home. Consider cooking a family meal together, something everyone enjoys. Again, this presents the opportunity for you to talk with her about her food preferences, and teach her how to prepare some of the dishes that are favourites in your household.You can also squeeze in a little information about nutrition and dietary matters and ask how she feels about current vegetarian or vegan cooking trends. Is she thinking of becoming vegan? Does she prefer a high protein diet with meat and dairy foods? You likely know these things superficially, but cooking a meal together presents the perfect chance to delve into her thoughts on why she chooses certain foods and stays away from others.
- Consider Taking A Fun Course Together
Do you both want to learn Spanish, or take a course in oil painting or try your hand at creative writing? Even if the courses are online right now, why not ask your daughter to enrol in a subject that interests both of you? Imagine doing homework with her or reviewing each other’s short story or poem before the next class!An activity like this is rich in possibilities for laughter and simply spending time together. If you can’t commit to a lengthy course that lasts eight or ten weeks, consider a weekend workshop at the local college or university. This offers the added bonus of giving her an extra item for her resume when she applies to post-secondary school.
- Spend A Day Volunteering Together
Chances are your daughter knows how fortunate the family is, but volunteering is a great way to give her a gentle reminder. Depending on her age (you want to choose an appropriate charity), suggest volunteering at a local soup kitchen or women’s shelter. Spend an afternoon gathering up clothes and other items at home and take them around to charities for donation. Offer yourselves to the local animal shelter and spend a day cleaning cages and interacting with the pets up for adoption. This is a wonderful way to spend time with her, and it helps to develop her awareness of other people’s needs.Studies show that children and teens who volunteer from an early age grow up to be people who give back to their communities in substantial ways. It takes them outside the four walls of their home and circumstances and teaches them empathy and kindness toward those who are less fortunate.
- Take Her To The Office For The Day
This depends on the kind of work you do, of course. But if you’re head of a department, or your boss is fine with your daughter watching you work (and most of them are), why not invite her to spend the day with you?Watching you at the office will give her a fresh appreciation of all you are capable of – the professional skills and talents she doesn’t witness at home. And she will see how much others respect you and how you treat your coworkers.By the end of the day, she’ll be seeing you in a whole new light. And who knows? She may even start thinking that your profession would be an ideal career path for her.
Spending time with your teenage daughter while she’s still under your roof is vital for her emotional and psychological development. As her parent, it gives you precious opportunities to learn what matters to her — what she’s thinking about for her future and how she feels about friendships and relationships.Spending time with her also gives you the chance to discover what, if anything, is troubling her. Things she may not be keen on discussing with the entire family may come to light when you’re sharing an appetizer and a soda after an exercise class. And you knowing about those things, whether you can solve them or simply console her, reminds her that she is not alone, that you are always there to support, comfort and help her.It’s easy to let time slip by without making a commitment to spend at least one morning or afternoon each week with your teenage daughter. But don’t let the world keep you so busy you forget to pay attention to the one person you prize almost above all others – your beautiful, growing teenage daughter. As every parent knows, she will be gone before you know it!