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How to use nature & planned time together to connect with your distant child or teen


Do you ever feel disconnected or distant from you child or teen?

Plan a nature outing together & spend intentional time!

The developmentally appropriate progression of children is to distance themselves from their family as they get older. Sometimes this is gradual, comfortable even, and many times it is scary and met with a lot of discomfort. When your child is pulling away and can be natural and it can be from a problem in their life. As they pull away, we can make space for intentional connection by planning a shared activity to do together.

Nature can be used as a tool for deeper connection because it is inherently joyful, calming and therapeutic to be outdoors. Of course, many of us have limited time and resources, but I recommend choosing an outdoor activity with your child and put it on the books.

- Brainstorm with your child which ideas sound best - choose one even if they aren't enthused on the idea

- Plan it like you would a date- children want your undivided attention & to feel special (even when they are resistant teens)

- Keep it light while also welcoming discussion - let them know you'd like to connect more with them, but that you don't want to force it. Open a discussion about something light first then go deeper if comfort is there. Share with them how you have been doing lately, you can model self-reflection, honesty and the need for support sometimes. Always listen fully and validate, resist the urge to correct or try to fix their concerns. If they don't open up much, welcome that too and plan another time to build up the emotional comfort with getting vulnerable together.

Ideas:

Nature walk or hike - walking side by side often promotes comfort in conversation

Pack a Picnic - eating together can be a ritual for connection and feel light-hearted

Explore Your Senses - spend time together in your backyard, at the park or the bench a the top of your hike. Close your eyes and notice all you can hear, feel, see, smell and taste

Camping trip or Road trip - time spent adventuring together can facilitate a deeper connection. Discuss how you cope with change or being out of your comfort zone as you travel.

Hope this helps facilitate meaningful connection & join us for one of our Parent- Child Connection Hikes that happen quarterly. Join mailing list to stay updated!

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