7 Subtle Ways to Stay Connected to Your Kids in Middle School

Having recently been once again thrust into the wilds of middle school, my oldest child has inspired this post to help parents of middle schoolers stay connected to their kids. Listen. I know how it is. Your child has started middle school and isn’t really interested in talking to you. If it’s the first time they’ve been in the middle school world, they don’t really know any of the ropes yet, much less how to communicate with you.

Even if they’re not acting out or being rebelling, they might just be too busy. They have a lot going on, and it’s all fun and new to them. They are figuring it out, and if they aren’t being bullied or in a fight that they don’t want to tell you about, they’re just not as interested in talking to you as they were when they where five.

It’s hard to stay connected to your middle schooler, but regardless of the issues you face in staying connected, you should stay connected. That why I wrote this article. To help you connect with your child. Lord knows I’ve been learning hard lessons for a while now!

7 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Kids in Middle School

Here’s my list of seven tips.

1 – Cook Together as Much as Possible

Look. I know time can be hard to come by for both you and your middle schooler. But cooking together is a great way to get some family time in. It also gets them talking. The trick is to make it as natural as possible.

Instead of interrogating them when they get home from school, you can leisurely communicate with them while you both prepare a delicious and fun meal.

2 – Play your favorite board games

Remember when we used to play the old games? Monopoly, Life, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, and so many other games in between? Don’t let those games collect dust in the garage. Bring them out and play them with your middle schooler.

You might be surprised how much fun you can have and how much you can connect with your middle schooler even when you are sharing the first round of Apples to Apples. You’ll also get to find out what your middle schooler thinks is important, which leads me to my next tip.

3 – Play your favorite video games together

Board games aren’t the only games you can play. Play your favorite apps on the iPhone or Android. Most middle school kids have their own phone, so you can have a great time playing the same apps you both love and then connecting with your middle schooler.

Games like Minecraft, Ancient Battle: Rome, Hayday, and so many more. What’s awesome is that with apps, you can engage with your middle schooler without getting into any awkward conversations. The game can do the work for you.

4 – Talk about their favorite music

Whether you like it or not, your middle schooler probably has their favorite kinds of music. If your favorite music is Country, you might want to spend more time talking about that rather than the latest pop song.

Find out what kind of music they like and then discover their favorites. If your middle schooler doesn’t want to talk to you, playing their favorite music is a good start. It can be a way to open the doors of communication.

5 – Set aside time to be with them

Set aside time to just be with them. This can be in the car, in the back yard, or in the kitchen. But it’s important to have time to be with them when they are ready to just sit and talk.

It’s my opinion that they way they act when they are with you is a good indicator of how they feel about you. So, when they are ready to talk, put away your phone and just be there for them.

6 – Try to be flexible to their schedule

I can’t stress this one enough. I know it’s hard to be flexible, but you should be! Your middle schooler is trying to find themselves, and they probably want to avoid as much unnecessary drama as they can.

So if they want to go to a movie with their friends on Friday night, let them. If they want to sleep over at a friends’ house, let them. If they want to go to a Friday night football game, let them. Be flexible, be easy going, and let them be who they want to be.

7 – Ask them how they are feeling

This is especially important if your middle schooler isn’t acting like themselves, or if at some point they seem like they are being bullied. Ask them how they feel. Let them know you are there for them, and they can talk to you about anything.

Don’t force them to talk, but let them know that you are there for them if they need you. This can sometimes open doors of communication that may be closed. All the situation might need is you taking the initiative and talking to them first.


Your connection with your middle schooler might change as they grow older, but it’s important to stay connected with them. Work on these tips and find your connection again. You’ll be happier together and you’ll be glad you did.

Heidi Jiang

Heidi Jiang

A native hoosier, Heidi Jiang discovered her love of reading at an early age. She's a big fan of the Wimpy Kid series and any book with a dog on the cover. She currently resides in Indiana with her husband, a dog named Lucky, and a cat named Oliver. After working with Muncie Free Press in the past, she is looking forward to writing several middle grade chapter books and helping make the Hoosier Chapter Books blog a very special place. You can find out more on the Heidi Jiang bio page.