Lockdown is tough for the best of us - but when it comes to keeping teenagers entertained - it's taken to a whole new level. It's easy to understand the challenge, especially for active teenagers who want nothing more than to be hanging out with their friends, but there are plenty of ways that you can involve and engage your teens at home and in the garden - keeping them happy and occupied. We've rounded up our top 9 tips and ideas - we hope they'll ease some of that grumpiness!
Is there anything teenagers love more than a sweet treat? Whether your teen loves baking or has never picked up a whisk in their life, try encouraging them to bake a cake or another dessert that the whole family can enjoy trying together. It's likely that out of boredom, the idea itself will have them excited - plus it's a great way to get creative and they'll enjoy the freedom of being able to choose whatever they want to bake. (As an added incentive - they'll get to show off their tasty creation to all of their friends afterwards!)
If you want some delicious baking ideas, visit our website here!
Take a Virtual Workout Class
Reaching an age where they're starting to care more about their bodies' strength, an online fitness session is a great indoor activity that both you and your teenagers can benefit from and enjoy. There are so many fun workout videos online that you can all follow along to that require absolutely no equipment - you could even take a virtual daily dance class together! While it's a good idea to still head out for one walk or run a day, an at-home workout will really help teens to burn off all that pent-up energy. Just head over to Youtube to get started.
Play Board Games
If you're worried that your teens have spent most of lockdown holed up in their bedrooms on their own, why not try getting them to join in with a family board game? It may a take a bit of convincing, but playing games together can actually be a lot of fun - and are a great way to spend some time together. We suggest pulling out Monopoly and spending a good few hours getting competitive. You could even create a grand prize for the winner to motivate your teens! We know it can be tough when spending all their time at home is the last place they want to be, but when they see that your company isn't actually terrible - it may become more of an enjoyable experience!
Encourage Contact with Friends
If your teen has a mobile phone or a tablet, which they likely do, then we're sure they're already spending much of their time chatting away to their friends and on social media. Try not to worry too much about all of the extra screen time - it's important to remember that all of a sudden, your kids are no longer at school, no longer seeing their friends at the age where that's all they want to do, and how tough that may be for them. Instead, encourage your teenagers to stay in contact with friends. Phone and video calls can be a great way for teens to pass the time and not feel so detached from their peers.
Learn a New Language
With plenty of new found free-time on their hands, why not suggest that your teen takes up learning a new language? Not only are extra languages fantastic skills to have, but giving your teenager the choice of any language they'd like and the fact that they're not being forced or pressured into it may actually make it a lot more exciting. There are tons of great and easy to use apps such as DuoLingo and Busuu that make language learning so much fun, and if you're really feeling it - why not get involved yourself and learn alongside them? It could make for a great motivator! Your teens may even enjoy watching movies in the new language as a way to study - which is both relaxing and educational.
On the off chance that your teen isn't into learning an entirely new language, why not try out learning sign language instead?
Have a Pizza Party
Who doesn't love pizza? Instead of ordering a takeaway or sticking a frozen pizza in the oven, encourage your teenagers to get cooking and make their own pizzas! It's a great way take up a few hours of their time, and it'll taste even better when they've made it themselves. If they have younger siblings, then it can become a fun family activity that the kids can take part in too! Choosing their own toppings, creating the shape of dough that they want, and the over-all pizza making experience is super exciting and one they can be proud of. Who knows, they may even start wanting to make dinner more often?
Plant a Veggie Garden
If you've got a large enough garden, why not see if your teens fancy trying out some gardening for themselves? With supermarket shortages and plenty of free time on their hands - don't stay cooped up in the house. There's no better time to see if you can start growing some of your own vegetables! Not only is it a great daily task to complete, but teens will enjoy watching their plants progress and grow. Give them the choice of which veggies they'd like to plant, and just wait and see how much more they enjoy eating their vegetables when they've grown them themselves. This activity can be great fun for the whole family, and is the perfect opportunity for some fresh air whilst not leaving the comfort of your own home.
If you're stuck on where to get started, there are some great YouTube videos that will help you out!
Create a DIY Escape Room
If you've ever been to an escape room, then you know how much fun they can be - and just because you're stuck at home doesn't mean you can't bring the fun to you! You can set up your very own version at home for your teenagers to enjoy. Start off by setting the scene - come up with a story or a problem to be solved, and invent a bunch of clever clues (ideas could include using a UV pen and light to hide clues, or printing out miniture clues that can only be read with magnifying glasses). You could even order some cheap props online if you want to make it really realistic. It really makes for an exciting, competitive atmosphere and setting a time limit will really turn it into a high-pressure activity that your teens will never forget.
For more tips and ideas on creating your own escape room, click here!
Have a Movie Night
Now this may not sound like a very exciting suggestion, but letting your teens pick out their favourite movies and having the whole family watch together is a great way to keep them happy and entertained (and to escape from their bedrooms for a few hours)! Draw the curtains and curl up in the dark for the perfect cinema-like atmosphere. For some added fun, why not pop some popcorn, and get all of their favourite sweets and snacks for a little treat? You could even munch on some of the delicious baking that they've done earlier!
Rachel grew up in Switzerland and currently lives in north-west London. She is an avid reader, writer, and a real foodie and loves discovering new hotspots and trendy places to go in the city. She also enjoys planning days out for her family, she especially loves taking her little cousins swimming and to the park. When she has some free time she loves going to concerts, baking, or visiting her family at their home in Essex. She can sometimes be found travelling a bit further than Essex and loves meticulously planning and researching a trip before heading off to explore new places in Europe and further afield.