Watching our kids grow up is fun. Usually, right?
They become more aware of their surroundings. They interact with their world and the people around them. Learn new skills, become more capable. Need us less, want us more. Want us less, need us more!
Sure, leaving behind some of the cuteness can be bittersweet. The little foibles, endearing habits, and speech quirks that disappear will be missed.
But all in all, growing up is what they were born for. It’s good. It’s right.
Yet it can also be rough. Take the pre-teen or middle school years, for instance. The kids are a bit awkward and insecure. Trying to find their way. Kind of unsure of themselves. They need to know that we’re here for them. That we’ve got their backs. That even when they think the rest of the world is against them, we are for them.
Oh, being the parent of these maturing young people can be rough too! We have to dig in our heels, set the standard and stick to it. In the midst of all that, I appreciate this article on What to Do About Disrespectful Kids from Little Earthling Blog. It’s easy to get caught up in being against a lot of stuff – attitudes, language, laziness, back-talk – that we neglect the more pleasant and recognizable demonstrations that we are on their side.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that say or show that the best. So here’s a list of fun things you can do that just might make your middle schooler’s day.
Those of you familiar with the concept of love languages (Amazon affiliate link) may recognize that your child will appreciate some of these suggestions more than others. That’s great; do those things more often. But don’t avoid the other ideas altogether just because they aren’t the favorites.
25 Ways to Make Your Middle Schooler’s Day
Stick a package of gum or a favorite candy bar in their sweatshirt pocket
Tell them you’re on their side
Do one of their chores for them
Give them extra video game time – for no reason
Sit down and play a video game with them
Tell them you love them
Express appreciate for the character they’re developing
Offer to help them with homework
Give them a hug
Make their favorite meal – and don’t put a limit on extra helpings!
Exercise with them – bike, run, lift weights
Invite them to join you on an errand and stop for coffee or ice cream while you’re out
Let them know you’re thankful they’re part of your family
Listen – really stop and pay attention – to their chatter; make eye contact and don’t zone out even if the hyper-detailed narrative of the last drama that went down at school or the latest video game hero they won makes you want to pull your hair out!
Compliment their appearance
Let them choose the activity, movie, or game for family night
Play with them – shoot hoops, kick goals, join 4-square, jump on the trampoline, ping pong, corn hole, catch . . .
Ask them how you can pray for them
Give them extra snacks – without waiting for them to ask!
Let them stay up later than normal – be available to chat or listen if called for
Ask what they think about a certain topic – news event, latest movie, recent book, local
Have a wrestling or tickle match
Recognize their effort or improvement in a particular area
Offer to pick up a friend and let them hang out at your house
Ask them to forgive you
. . .
Obviously, most of these ideas are not gender specific. However, some (particularly the examples) do tend to be boy-centric, because . . . my middle schoolers are boys! If you’re blessed with middle school age girls (mine won’t arrive there for another 5-6 years – phew!), adjust as appropriate.
What will you do to make your middle schooler’s day?
You might also like: Will You Win Your Your Child’s Heart or Lose It?
Shared at: Grace & Truth,