[A]s my kids enter their second week of school, routine and business are starting to take over. Among the work of studying, homework projects, and daily band or football practices, it is easy to only see your teen coming and going. It is even more difficult to keep up when your teenager if you are the non-custodian parent.

So how do you keep up with your kids? Listed below are my five ways to stay in tune with your teen. Enjoy!

5 Ways Parents, to Stay in Tune with Your Teen

1. Subscribe & Look at Online Grades. With the advancement of technology, there is absolutely no reason to not know exactly how your kids are doing in school. Online grades have email alerts, texting, and abilities to communicate directly with your kids’ teachers. Before my daughter comes home, I know whether she has turned in her homework, how she did on a quiz, or an overview of projects she needs to be working on this week. This helps me ask the right questions, to get the right answers, and step in and assist or redirect if needed.

2. Monitor their Texting and Cell Phone. As a monitoring parent, I’ve had a cell phone contract on my teen since she was 14. I revised it again when she was 16 and we still require her to turn in her phone every night and probably will until her first day of college. Parents, you are the parents. There is no better way to learn what is going on in your teens head, then auditing and occasionally reading their text. From this I can have very meaningful conversations about boyfriends, cussing, friends and life!

[tweet “You goal in life is to make your kids, healthy, wealthy and wise so they can leave.”]

3. Invite their Friends Over for Dinner and Activities. The friends they pick, are the people your kids become. Parents how well do you know your kids’ friends? Know their friends by spending time with them. Have them invited over to dinner. Encourage them to hang out at your place. Take them to the movies and go with them. Play and involve yourself in games and activities your kids’ friends like to participate in. Be an involved and become an in-the-know parent.

4. Participate in a Regularly Weekly Activity with Your Teen. When my daughter was a pre-teen, we would go rollerskating every Saturday morning. We took lessons and practice for an hour each time. We did this routinely for years (and we became quite good actually). Every Sunday morning I take the kids to church. Now that they are older, they sit in service with me. We talk and discuss the sermon over lunch and we go EVERY Sunday. What predictable activities have you built into your kids’ lives?

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5. Engage your Teen in Meaningful Conversation. I meet so many Dads who say they cannot talk to their teens. My first question to them is… “Do you engage them in detail conversation? You cannot learn much by asking, “How was your day?” If they are like my kids, all you will get is “Fine.” Ask more open ended detailed questions. “Who did you sit by in lunch today?” “How did you do in Mrs. Green class where you had your cell cycle test?” “Is Julie a good helper on your science fair poster? When are you guys getting together again to finish the project?” “So how is Megan doing now that she broke up with Johnny?”

Parenting is hard. The teenage years are even harder. Make a contentious effort to stay in tune with your teen. Trust me–they may not show it, but they really need and want you to reach out.

How do you stay in tune with your teen?

Feature paid image from Adobe Stock photos.