Needing new ideas to do with your teens? Here are a few fun and even productive ideas:
- Clean out the closet. What doesn’t fit anymore or you just don’t wear anymore? Make a donation bag of clothing you don’t need and donate it to those in need.
- Take out Tuesdays! Take turns choosing your favorite local restaurant every week. Not only does it feed your family, but it helps keep your favorite local restaurants alive and well.
- Foster a pet! Fostering doesn’t mean adopting. Great time to see if your kiddos are responsible enough to take on a pet.
- Give Blood! With parental consent, you can give blood at 16 years old.
- Make dessert or even dinner for your neighbor. It’s nice to do something for someone else, plus you aren’t consuming all those carbs ;)
- Spring is here! Great opportunity to start their own little garden, helps them get outside and take ownership of something they can control.
- Plan that 2021 vacation now! Get input from family members on where they’d like to go and what they’d like to do. It helps to have something to look forward to!
- Get outside! It’s necessary for survival to get fresh air and to get some exercise. Go for a walk or run, you can do yoga or video workouts.
Kids and Teens are in need of ways to cope with their fears, frustrations and anxieties. Remember they are human too, trying to figure out how to navigate this pandemic. Some are missing milestones in their high school careers: going to prom, college tours, important sporting events they’ve been working so hard for, SATs/ACTs, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention social interaction with their peers and a more stable environment to learn and study.
Don’t take it personally when they want to spend time alone or always on FaceTime with their friends. Set aside family time with the help of your teen. Work together to make a schedule that works for everyone.
Validate their feelings. This does suck. To say otherwise will prove we parents just don’t get it. Don’t take it personally when they want to spend time alone or always on facetime with their friends.
Avoid perseveration. Many kids tend toward perfectionism at this age. Set limits to what they do, just as a teacher would (i.e. do not have them work on a 45-minute assignment for two hours).
Set an example of how to shut down devices. When it’s done, it’s done. Go outside, do a plank, or Just Dance.
Take breaks. Schools are masters at breaking up the day. Replicate it as best you can. Try a YouTube break, snack break, exercise break, or five minutes of mindfulness.
Verbalize what coping looks like. Emotions are contagious, so set a good tone and articulate what you’re doing. Say things like, “I notice I have a very short fuse right now. I am going to do some deep breathing.” Or, “I am going to sit alone for a few minutes.” Help kids think what they need to help themselves feel better.
Goals help. Have a treadmill? Suggest they increase their one-mile time. Challenge them to try standing on one leg for as long as possible, or to hold a three-minute plank.
Always remember to have grace and patience.