Any spare time can be used to relish in the sunshine, catch up with friends and enjoy the frivolity that only responsibility-free teen years can bring. Despite the endless choices of ways to spend their time, it’s almost inevitable that the dreaded words, I’m bored will be uttered at some stage, more than once. So here are a few ideas to keep your teens entertained and challenged.
- Get amongst nature
We are so incredibly lucky to live in a part of the world that doesn’t really do winter. No matter the time of year, the weather is usually kind enough to allow for many an outdoor adventure. Find a challenging hiking track that your teen and their friends can conquer. Perhaps a trip to the ocean, whale watching expedition or visit a nearby waterfall. We are surrounded by natural beauty. Coax your teen with the idea of an insta-worthy adventure.
- Work a job you hate
Most people can remember their first job and all the lessons they learnt. Explain to your teen the value of working in a customer-facing role. Resilience, dealing with difficult situations and above all else, the value of a dollar. Encouraging your teen to enter the workforce from an early age can pay dividends later in life, particularly when starting a career.
- Take some photos and get them printed
In this digital age, teenagers are robbed of the surprises we used to get when we developed a roll of film. The excitement to see what actually happened on our night out as well as the realisation that our photography skills were lacking, all came to light once we got our shots developed.
Even though teens see their photos instantly (and can apply all of the filters), encourage them to take their photography a little further. They may even develop some skill and have a creative hobby to pursue.
- Write in a journal
Being a teenager is a very difficult time. If teens are having problems with other teens, it can be hard for them to talk to anyone about it because adults don’t get it. Journaling can be a helpful tool to overcome loneliness and a fantastic way to vent. Once a habit around journaling has developed, it can be a great way to capture moments and memories that don’t require a hashtag.
- Visit a second hand bookshop
There is nothing more intoxicating than the smell of second hand books. Apart from the smell, the selection at a second hand bookstore is amazingly diverse. It’s like a treasure hunt. Take your teen on an adventure to find a book they fall in love with and encourage them to read books IRL instead of on a screen.
- Do something that scares you
As parents of teens, we spend so much of our time teaching order and boundaries. It’s also important to help teens step out of their comfort zone. Encourage them to do something that scares them a little. It can be a trapeze lesson, a drama class or meeting new people.
- Be kind
Kindness and empathy are imperative, especially in a digital age of cyber bullying and the relentless online rage. Random acts of kindness are a wonderful way to remind each other of the goodness we all harbour. RAK has become a movement that everyone should get behind. Here’s a helpful resource to get you started. https://www.naturalbeachliving.com/random-acts-of-kindness-ideas/
Get your teen to make the most of their time by donating it to a charitable cause. Homeless shelters, SES, Salvos or aged care are a few places to start. Volunteering gives teens real world experience, provides a newfound appreciation for what they have, as well as looking great on their resume when going out into the workforce.
- Tech free day
Selling this to your teen might be a challenge. Be creative, offer a cash incentive or even make it a bet and get the whole family involved, to see who can go tech free the longest. Most teens have far too much exposure to screen time, which can lead to detrimental effects on their wellbeing, social skills, concentration and so much more.
- Cook something new
There are shocking research results indicating that a whopping 60 per cent of 18-25 year olds can’t cook. Carve out some time in your own schedule and encourage your teen, not only to cook, but also to enjoy the art of creation. Get them involved by asking them to choose a meal from a country they want to visit, or it can be their favourite meal. Help them to find a recipe, shop the ingredients and cook it from scratch. If you’re not a great cook yourself, you could take some lessons with your teen and learn together. It can be a lot of fun. More so, it’s an essential life skill to encourage healthy eating and independence.