Finding an activity, any activity other than sleeping, eating, sleeping, texting, hanging-out, sleeping and texting in which a teenager wants to participate is something that has plagued parents for years. We've all seen movies where the parents force their teens on some kind of family outing, and all they do is mope, text, sleep and text some more. Unfortunately, this stereotype isn't far from the truth. So, the challenge becomes finding activities that your teenage child wants to participate in. Here are a few tips; some of these suggestions may not be popular, initially, but be persistent! Here they are:
: Going to the local soup kitchen with your teenager has a lot of advantages: It gets them out of the house, it helps them appreciate what they have, and they get real face-to-face interaction with people. You never know, they just might start to enjoy helping people. Again, they may not love the idea at first, but perseverance is key.
2. Interactive Video Games
: Hear me out. Have you ever tried Wii bowling/sports with your children? Or played Kinect WipeOut as a family? It's hilarious! They'll get a kick out of watching you struggle to maintain your balance and your dignity. I'd suggest practicing a few times before starting. Your child may not seem to care but even if they have one ounce of competition in them, they'll want a try when it comes to beating your score.
I'm not suggesting you go out and demand them to lose the electronics, or completely rough it without any of the comforts of home. Find somewhere nearby that has cabins, limit the electronics and take them somewhere where they'll feel something! This could be something as simple as a sunset from the top of a mountain. You'll find that the next year when you ask where they should go for vacation, they may just suggest something from the year past.
4. Tailor-Made Activities
If your kids love sports, play a game of touch football with them. If your kids love to go to the mall and window-shop, go on a scavenger hunt for specific things in the stores. Spending time with your teenager doing something they enjoy may open your eyes as to how fun it was when you were their age. It's important to connect with them on their level.
No matter the activity you chose, make sure your teenager knows that you want to be a part of their lives, and what they want to do is important to you. Find wholesome activities that will build character, as well as keep them out of trouble. When your teenager says "I'm bored", what they are really saying is "someone please entertain me", so go ahead, entertain them. What's the worst that could happen?