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Unlock Deeper Communication with Your Tween or Teen: 10 Questions to Ask at Bedtime

Bedtime is an excellent time for parents to connect with their tweens and teens. They are physically tired, worn out emotionally, have probably experienced some challenges within their day, and need someone to process with. As kids get older, they may become more independent, but they still need guidance from their parents. Asking your child a few simple questions before bed can be a great way to stay connected and help them feel supported. 

parents and teens talking

How to establish healthy communication with your older kids

If you’ve already established healthy communication in your home, including these questions at bedtime shouldn’t be a problem. But if that open communication with your child is lacking, it may feel awkward to ask these questions at first and it will take time for your child to get used to this new connection with you. Even though your child may resist at first, keep at it. Teens are really good at pretending they don’t want your attention, but deep down, they usually do. It’s important, though, to meet them where they’re at and not force things. 

Be curious about your child’s love language

Just like you wouldn’t speak to someone in a language they didn’t understand, you also shouldn’t try to connect with your child in ways that don’t resonate. That’s why first understanding your child’s love language plays a vital role in healthy communication. You might already know your child’s love language, but if you’re unsure, the best way to find out is to simply ask, “What is it we do as your parents that makes you feel most loved? How can I make you feel more loved and understood?” 

With this question, you will learn a lot about your child and gain some critical understanding on how to best communicate with them.

teens playing basketball

Engage with them on THEIR interests, not yours

Good-intentioned parents can quickly go wrong when they expect their child to engage with them about things that interest them but fail to connect about things that excite their child. If your child is into sports, meet them there. If they are into video games, meet them there. If they are into outdoor activities, meet them there.

Meet them with curiosity. Ask questions, sit back, and listen. You might be surprised by how much this deepens your child’s trust in you. 

Parenting is more about listening to your child than getting your child to listen to you. Be discerning of the moments your child feels open for communication and the moments they just want to keep to themselves.

Remember that actions speak louder than words

You must follow through on your word when connecting with your tween or teen. While communicating with words is an incredible way to let your teen know you care, actions are just as necessary, if not more. Spend time together. Be at their soccer match. Play basketball together. Play video games with them. Let your yes’s be yes, and your no’s no. Trust is built when parents can simply BE a part of their child’s life and allow their child to be a part of theirs. 

Here are some questions that help your tween or teen feel supported at bedtime

teen smiling

1. How was your day?

This question might seem obvious, but open-ended questions can help your child feel heard and validated. Even if they don’t want to share everything that happened, they’ll appreciate the opportunity to talk.

2. Did anything happen today that made you feel upset or worried?

This question can help your child feel safe and supported, and it gives you an opportunity to address any concerns they might have.

3. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

Focusing on the positive can be a great way to end the day on a high note. Encourage your child to think about the things they’re excited about, whether it’s a fun activity or just spending time with friends.

4. Do you need anything from me before you go to bed?

This question can help your child feel taken care of and supported. Whether they need help with homework or just a hug, it’s important to let them know that you’re there for them.

5 What can I help you with this week? 

This is great if your child has an “acts of service” love language. Even if I help my son a little with his morning chores or help him clean his room, he feels loved.

6 What’s something special you want to do with me this week?

Spending time together is another love language that many of us have. Show your teen your interest in spending special one-on-one time with them doing something they enjoy.

7. What are some good things that happened today?

Help your teen to practice gratitude and reflect on things they are thankful for. This will nurture their mental and spiritual health.

8 How can I pray for you? What good things has God done for you today?

This is a great way to understand what your child is struggling with or what they really appreciate in life. After they share, pray with them. Simply saying a prayer before bed is great, but asking them their prayer requests teaches them to process their day, give the things they can’t control up to God, and show gratitude for their blessings. 

9 “Did you know there’s nothing you could do to make me love you less?”

This is a great way to reassure your child that your love will always remain regardless of their mistakes. As a Christian, I believe it’s important to model for our children the same love and grace we receive from God. Remind them that not only YOU love them and forgive them for whatever they’ve done, but God also does as well. Guilt is a destroyer of your child’s heart and mind. Make sure they know you’re there for them. 

10. Do you want to share anything complicated in your life with me? You can share ANYTHING with me, and you won’t get in trouble.

I would rather know what’s going on in my child’s life that they might be hiding in the dark than let them fester in shame or guilt because they are afraid of getting punished. Older kids need the opportunity to share what’s happening in their life, at school, amongst their peers. The world is a scary place, especially now with technology in the mix, and kids need adults to help them process what they might experience. 

teen boy on phone

Protect your older kids from online dangers

Just like we don’t allow our children to ride in cars without seatbelts, we shouldn’t allow them to use technology without protection. Check out my review of the Bark Phone to give you more insight on what parents can do to protect their child from one of the most significant dangers out there — social media.

You can help your child feel heard, supported, and loved by asking these questions before bed. It’s a simple but powerful way to connect with your tween or teen and show them that you care.

I would love to hear some questions you’ve asked that helped you connect with your older child! Comment below!

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