Do you remember when your kids were babies and unsolicited advice would come your way like..
“Cherish this time now.”
“Enjoy these moments because they grow so fast.”
“The baby years are the best because they’ll be teens before you know it.”
Or maybe you’re in that season now. Your kids are babies, and this “advice” is coming in your direction left and right only to drag you down and make you dread the day your babies are teens. Clutching your little ones wanting to hold on tight to every baby step, every growth chart, every baby keepsake. I’ve been there. I’m coming out from the other side to tell you that everything after those cute little baby years is all good….maybe even better I’m raising two teens, and one tween. These are great times. The sweetness of babies and raising children into teens is still sweet. It’s something to look forward to and here’s why.
7 Things to Look Forward to During the Teens/Tweens Years
1. Hugs and Kisses are still needed
They may not run to you with sticky fingers, and arms opened wide like when they were four and five years because honestly, they’re still trying to find their “cool/chill” vibe. However, when your the mama of tween/teen grab onto them and hug them tight. They might not tell you how much they appreciate it, but you’ll feel them gently lean into you. That is when you know you got them…. they need a good hug and kiss every now and then. There’s affection but it’s not as physically exhausting as it is sometimes with babies and toddlers.
2. Giggles and Laughter are still there
Maybe not belly laughs from playing “tickle monster” or watching “Paw Patrol,” but those giggles and laughs can come from that latest YouTube video or movie clip they shared with you. No matter how ridiculous and crazy you might think it is. Sometimes it’s a silly joke or a story from their day they’ve shared. Laughter can be a wonderful way to connect with your teenager or tween-ager. And you know what? They’ll make you laugh! Remember when you were always the one entertaining? Puppet shows? Jokes? Ridiculous faces? Look forward to being the recipient of the entertainment as your kids age.
3. Strolling in Strollers can turn into Walks in the Park
Dump the stroller and the diaper bag. All you need is a listening ear because taking a walk with a teen is similar to that bonding time you once had during stroller time. It’s amazing what a teen will open up about when you take them out of their environment and go for a walk around the park or neighborhood. (I’m not saying you’ll have hours of conversation but you can learn a lot from your teen/tween in a few sentences shared.) So you don’t need all the stuff for an outing, but you can connect and bond in so many beautiful mature ways.
4. Cookies still work
In my house, a batch of cookies (store-bought or baked – my kids don’t discriminate) have always brought them running to the table. Sometimes the way to a teens heart is through their tummy. A sweet treat or good meal can feel like home and comfort. But guess what now your kids can actually help make the cookies and those comfort meals? Yay!
5. Playdates are still a Big Deal
Yup, it’s still a real thing just set up a little differently with a bit more attention to detail.
Playdates might not be Legos and Goldfish, but could look like a small group of teens coming over to play basketball and eat pizza. Food is always a winner! It might be taking them and a friend to their favorite store, movie or trampoline park – yes, there are some teens/tweens out there that still like to bounce, jump and climb. Your bouncy house playdates will sometimes become evening or weekend trampoline trists.
6. You become even more adventurous
You thought you were adventurous by skipping the stroller at the zoo and letting the 4-year-old walk from North America to Africa. High five, mama, been there done that. That is indeed an adventure! When they enter the world of teenage-hood, you find yourself saying “Yes” to adventures you probably thought would never happen. Every summer for the past couple of years an amazing mom of teens in my #momtribe rounds up all of us mamas and teens, and we take a day trip to go tubing down a 2+miles of river here in NC. The mamas lug coolers of lunches, water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, etc. tie rafts and inner tubes together and let the river take us wherever it wants to go. Our teens have a blast and still have those anxious moments when they need to grab our hands and shout for, “Mom” when they see a snake or what looks like a snake. Rest assured they may be teenagers but they still need their moms. (By the way Susan K., thank you for these moments and reminding us how much fun motherhood with teens can be.)
7. Baby Pics turn to Selfies, Boomerangs and Video Snippets
Memories are now housed in our drives or dropboxes on our cell phones and maybe not so much in those beautiful scrapbooks we made years ago. Although, I do recommend bringing those scrapbooks out from time to time … you worked hard on those, mamas! Sometimes the conversation between your teen/tweens can be scrolling those pictures taken at their favorite event or outing. Don’t forget to take those silly selfies or boomerangs with your tween/teens and engage with them at the moment. Show them that you value what is important to them plus it allows you to stay on top of those pics shared across social media.
If you’re in the stage of raising babies and enjoying every cuddly giggly moment know that there are even greater moments to come. So, YES enjoy this early childhood season because the next season gets even better!
Are you in the midst of raising a teen/tween? Share with us your best advice, story or encouragement you have during this time.
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