- Book Club
Start a book club with your teen Invite her to choose a book you’ll each read, and then you choose the next one. You’ll both be motivated to pick something the other will really enjoy. Don’t shy away from gross, silly, or even racy (Gossip Girls or The Demonata for example) books that your child might pick. Showing an interest in her literary taste — whatever it might be — is a sign of respect.
- The Behind-the-Scenes Story
As your teen looks forward into his own future, he might start to identify with various celebrities. He may want to become a pro ball player or a scientist. Help him find age-appropriate biographies so he can learn all the facts about what it takes to succeed in the fields he is interested in.
- Reading Rewards
Middle school students are often so busy that downtime is increasingly valuable to them. That usually means video games, TV, and talking on the phone. Reading for pleasure might be the last activity they want to do. Try making a deal with your teen. Together, make a list of books she wants to read this year. If there is something your teen wants -- for example, a new pair of jeans -- make it contingent upon finishing one of the books on her list.
- Mom or Dad’s Executive Assistant
Planning a vacation? Ask your teen to do some legwork on the Internet. Ask him to research accommodations, driving routes, bus or plane schedules, or other necessary planning tasks. He will take pleasure in helping to make decisions for the family. You can translate this activity into research for buying a new television or finding a new public park to visit.