Say This, Not That

Summertime Quality Time

Dear Ilana and Jess: I want to take advantage of the summer months and get in some good, quality time with my kids. My son is 14 and my daughter is 16. Any suggestions? -Adrienne

Dear Adrienne: We like the way you think. It’s always a good idea to be intentional about quality time with family.

There are plenty of summer activities that lend themselves to quality time. Some things to look for when planning them: opportunities for mutual enjoyment and participation, engaging or goal-oriented tasks, and outings that give you something to talk about.

You might start by searching for the nearest state park. Entry to federal or state parks is often free and your family can do any number of things there: hiking, swimming, picnicking, biking, even bird watching. You may want to have everyone suggest an activity for the outing, to ensure that it’s fun for all.

If nature is not your thing, you can still get outside and go for a walk at your local park. A casual stroll is a good way to catch up, free of the distractions and responsibilities at home.

If you’re a family that enjoys fitness, exercising together can be a great way to bond. It requires minimal interaction, which can be especially good for untalkative teenagers. Some towns run their own 5ks, many of which are free or cheap to join. Not only can you run the 5k together, but you can train as a family, enjoying quality time long before the day of the race.

Another great way to have quality time is to volunteer together. You can log onto to find opportunities in your area. You can also reach out to local religious leaders and ask how you can help give back to your community. Not only will you make wonderful family memories, but you’ll be doing something meaningful together.

Finally, don’t underestimate the fun of a great movie night!

Say This: “I’d love for us to spend some time this summer enjoying the outdoors, volunteering, and enjoying one another’s company. I thought we might go to a state park this weekend. How does that sound?”

Not That: “We need to spend more time together this summer. What do you want to do?”

Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit:


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