We’ve talked before about mother-daughter bonding activities, and I’ve used several of them with my own daughter. What I find more difficult, however, is finding things to do with my son. While it was easy enough when he was little, now that he’s a pre-teen, it can be hard to find common ground. We’ve started watching reruns of kid-friendly comedies that I used to watch as a child, which has been a lot of fun. Since I want him to talk to me, though, and since watching tv tends to have the opposite effect, I’m going to give a few of these ideas a try:
- Mom-and-Son Date Nights (or Afternoons). Spending a couple of hours just focusing on your son, without the distractions of television, video games, Dad or siblings, can help open the lines of communication. You don’t need to spend a lot of money: even going for ice cream and then browsing in the bookstore is a good way to spend time together. Or, take your son to the park and actually play with him! Push him on the swings, slide down the slide with him, or bring along tennis racquets and challenge him to a game. Leave your phone at home; spend the time concentrating only on him.
- Find a Hobby Together. While traditionally it’s the dads who are taking their sons fishing or coaching Little League, there’s no rule that says those activities are for the boys only! If you’re really not into that sort of thing, try to find a common interest. Learn a foreign language together or take music lessons. If he’s bigger, ask him to help you trace your genealogy; field trips to local cemeteries to find old family gravestones might appeal to him! Finally, remember that the hobbies that you have might appeal to him; see if he’ll try his hand at scrapbooking, cooking or gardening.
- Plan a Special Time Away. Occasionally my husband will take my son for a boys’ only weekend, which usually includes eating at buffets and going to Pokemon tournaments. I think that this summer, we’ll switch things up, and I’ll take my son while hubby spends quality time with our daughter. It might be a bit of a challenge to find something that you both enjoy doing, but some preparation will help you plan a fun mother-son getaway. Look into what’s available in the area that you’re hoping to visit, and try to match up activities with common interests. Is there a zoo, a planetarium, a museum or a show that you would both like to check out?
I’ve found that maintaining a strong bond with my son has been a bit more challenging than doing so with my daughter, but the rewards are well worth the extra effort! What are some ways that you have kept the bond with your son strong and healthy?