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At which stage of your children’s lives does quality time with them truly matter? While many may vote for the early childhood years, recent studies suggest that it’s the adolescent years that are crucial.

There’s good reason for this. In adolescence, your child leaves the familiarity of childhood and is figuring out the great unknown of young adulthood. They’re also doing this while undergoing physical and emotional changes, pressed in on all sides from pressures, academic and social. This makes parental guidance and love all the more needful, and one-to-one time more important. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, teens who participate in activities with their parents show fewer behavioural problems, higher math scores, and less substance abuse.

‘Date night’ with Mum or Dad allows busy parents to carve out dedicated time in the week to hang out and talk to their teenagers. Think of ‘date nights’ as a way to break down communication barriers. You’re more likely to get your teen to talk when they’re doing something fun, than if you were to sit them down for a conversation. ‘Date night’ is also an act of commitment that gives teenagers assurance and comfort knowing Mum and Dad are there for them.

Here are 5 fun date night ideas you and your teenager can try:

1. Experiment in the Kitchen
If you and your teenager enjoy cooking and whipping up a meal for the family — the kitchen is your bonding place. There’s something to be said about cooking that builds teamwork, communication — and is incredibly therapeutic as well. Take turns every week picking a dish you have never tried cooking, and have fun.

2. Get Your Bats, Balls, and Racquets Out
Exercise induces all kinds of good feelings thanks to endorphins, which makes sports one of the best bonding activities there is. Make a weekly date to sweat it out, whether it’s shooting hoops or going for a run in your neighbourhood and wrapping the date night with a good hearty meal!

3. Indulge in DIY Pampering
Set out a day for you and your daughter to indulge in DIY beauty pampering at home. Break out the blackhead strips, face masks and face serums. Besides dishing out beauty routine tips, this is a great time for mums and daughters to catch up on the week.

4. Movie Night
You can do more than laugh your guts out at a brainless comedy with your teen. Movies and drama series encompass a rich variety of subjects and topics, among which are teen-relevant ones such as gender issues, peer pressure, and mental health. Parents can pick relevant shows as starting points to broach these topics.

5. Check out a new cafe
Most teenagers are avid Instagrammers, yours could be too! Go cafe hopping with your teen and visit the latest places for that perfect ‘gram. Make a list of Instagrammable cafes and places that you can visit together for your next date!

Tags: Teenage Issues /Parent-Child Relationships /Family Bonding