Reconnect with your t(w)een this Thanksgiving—bake a pie!

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Reconnect with your t(w)een this Thanksgiving—bake a pie!

Reconnect with your t(w)een this Thanksgiving—bake a pie!

This week kicks off the season of being grateful and giving, and—oh, yeah, of kids being around a lot. How can you use the time to reconnect with your child?

We know it’s often easier to let your t(w)een hang out in their room, on the phone, or with friends instead of asking them (repeatedly!) to contribute to holiday meal preparations and clean-up, visit with grown-ups at the table, and do the family thing. But did you know that kids who report having strong family ties are less likely to drink or abuse other substances? So remember to take a little extra time to engage with them this week! Here are a few ideas for staying connected over Thanksgiving break:

> Set aside the phones for a day or two to focus on face-to-face interactions with family and friends.
Giving your child your full attention banks long-term benefits, according to psychologist 

> Bake a pie or other dessert together.
Let your child pick the recipe, and take them shopping for ingredients. (Pumpkin pies are pretty quick and easy, especially if you cheat and use a pre-made crust.) A light-hearted activity like this can open the door to casual conversation, bringing you up to speed on friends, music, and school.

> Play football or soccer as a family while the turkey’s in the oven.
Fresh air, laughter, and exercise keep the mood light, and lets teens (and grownups) just be kids again.

> Take a drive or hike over the weekend.
Explore a unique haunt in your area, like the weirdly eclectic Cleo’s Ferry Nature Trail in Melba; Idaho’s Mammoth Cave near Shoshone (call ahead to arrange a tour); or one of Idaho’s many bald and golden eagle nesting areas.

> Volunteer at a shelter or food pantry.
You can also make plans for volunteering as a family during the upcoming holiday season. Help your teen brainstorm ideas like committing to shoveling a neighbor’s sidewalk, arranging a mitten drive, or doing a few extra chores to earn money to purchase a few gifts for a family in need.

> Create community connections.
Encourage your teen to explore mini-campaigns they can try in their school, with resources from Idaho Drug Free Youth. From writing encouraging notes to reaching out to make new friends, they’ll make a positive impact.

> Help your teen plan their holiday gift list for others, and outline the supplies they’ll need to make DIY gifts or cards.

> Take advantage of some down time to just chill out, walk the dogs, and catch up.

Get more ideas for staying engaged with your tween or teen!

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