My Best Parenting Idea for Older Kids: Five-Minute Friday

Five-minute Friday.
© Nicolas Menijes via

I’ve been a parent for 20+ years now.

I’ve had some good ideas (the Nurtured Heart Approach, getting a kitten during the pandemic, dragging my family to National Parks), and I’ve had some bad ideas (letting a toddler destroy his bedroom because at least he wasn’t bugging me, yelling super loud at a kid who poorly painted her nails on the carpet).

But this idea. This is the best I’ve had. 

I call it “Five-Minute Friday.”

I started this when my oldest daughter went off to college in Chicago two years ago. Honestly, I thought I’d be the one hounding them to answer their phones and chat with me on Fridays. Turns out, they’re often the ones calling me on Five-Minute Friday.

For my daughter, with all the words, it’s usually 45-Minute Friday. For my son, who replies to questions mostly, we don’t go much past five minutes. Who knows, maybe they’re calling me to get it over with? My son lives in town still, and he has come home for dinner a few Fridays for a live and in-person Five-Minute Friday.

It gives us chance to catch up on the week, while learning what’s in store for the weekend and the week ahead. Sometimes my husband will try to get in on my Five Minute Friday. Then I say, “Get your own day! I hear 10-Minute Tuesday is open!” 

Even though I started this with older kids, it’s something that could be easily implemented when your kids are younger. Maybe it’s a daily or weekly ritual of checking in at bedtime, having a one-on-one date with them, or even starting a journal you can share back and forth.

The important thing is – make time for open communication and check in. Even if they only have a few words to say, the impact of knowing you are there for them is what matters most.

For more ideas on how to connect with young adults, see our post Tips for One-On-One Time with Older Kids.

What are some ways you stay connected with your college kids? Let us know in the comments!

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Erika Buckhouse Hanson
Erika has worked in the educational setting as a physical therapist for 17 years, after attending UND and NDSU. After recognizing difficult behaviors in her third child, she became an advanced trainer of the Nurtured Heart Approach®. Professionally, Erika is also a mentor, course-captain, and clinical instructor, and has served students in the Autism magnet program for 10 years. She recently served on the Pediatric Advisory Board for Curriculum Development at UND, and on a task force with the Department of Instruction to create the first school-based PT/OT guidelines in the state. She also is a mentor with BioGirls, leads a group of teenage boys at confirmation, leads a Girl Scout troop, and has coached baseball. For the past two Mother’s Days, Erika has hosted a Neighborhood Chalk Party, an event designed to further build relationships in neighborhoods on the principle of “it takes a village to raise a child.” She was born and raised in Hankinson, ND, and has lived in the Fargo area for over 25 years with her husband (who you may know as the radio DJ on Bob 95 FM: "Chris, John and Cori in the Morning"). Together they have four children: girl-boy-boy-girl, ages 10-16. Erika is passionate about empowering kids, preventative health, hiking, and national parks.


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