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How Parents Can Connect With Kids in the Digital Age

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Parents have a lot of responsibilities. Between work, cleaning, cooking and driving the kids to soccer practice, it can be difficult to find time to connect with kids. There's also a feeling of disconnect, as kids spend more time on their phone and apps than they do having meaningful conversations.

But you still have time to reconnect with your kids, especially before their teenage years.

1. Cook and Eat Together

I remember growing up and my mother forcing everyone to eat at the table. I grumbled getting off of the couch to walk to the table, but now I under why my mother thought it was an important time. Cooking and eating together presents a great bonding moment for parents and kids.

The majority of families don't sit down to eat a single meal together five times per week.

Studies show that eating acts as a bonding moment, and kids that don't eat with their families have a much higher occurrence of truancy at school.

Cook together (make it fun), sit down and eat together and start bonding with your children.

2. Play Games Together

Playing games together is fun. Kids play games a lot whether it's a console game, board game or a game on their smartphone. And it's a lot more fun when you play with someone else: hint, hint.

Parents can introduce their kids to games that they played when they were younger: Magic 8 Ball, Super Mario Brothers, Sonic or Monopoly to name a few,

You can also learn to play the games that your kids are entranced with at the moment. Kids have a lot of different games they play, so try to encourage them to play ones that make them use their mind.

Older kids often do best with video games, but if their friends are over and they're bored, you can also encourage them to play board games.

Playing board games allows you to bond and spend time with your kids. Just don't be a sore loser.

3. Find a Hobby Together

Hobbies aren't defined by age groups. You can find a hobby that both you and your child loves, and you can do the hobby together. Try something new until you find that something that causes both of you to click.

I know when I first tried to find a hobby to do with my kids, I was completely lost. So, here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Hiking

  • Learning instruments

  • Studying a new language

  • Photography

  • Collecting items

  • Geocaching

  • Volunteering

  • Exercising

Ask your kids for input on what they would like to do as a hobby.

4. Go for a Drive – Seriously

Kids, especially teens, want to be out and about. When kids are stuck inside all day, they'll often sit around doing nothing. Well, a fun drive around town trying to get lost is usually a fun adventure that they'll enjoy.

In an age where Snapchat and Instagram are vital parts of a teen's life, kids often want to get out and show their friends all of the fun they're having.

Something as simple as a drive can help you reconnect with your child and get to know him or her more.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.