9 Ways Keep Your Teenager Productive During a Quarantine

No one expected the severity of the novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19. However, with schools shutting down and Stay At Home or Shelter In Place orders affecting various areas in America, parents are suddenly stuck in the same house as their bored teenagers. After a few days, parents may wish their teens attended boarding school.

The close proximity can get grating, and no parent wants to deal with fighting children when there is nowhere to go to help cool down. So, instead of waiting for a blow-up or teens complaining of boredom, here are nine ways to keep your teenager productive during this self-quarantine period.

1. Break Out The Games

Rather than having your teen glued to their smartphone 24/7 during quarantine, why not break out the games you have at home, particularly games where two or more people can play together? There are tons of options, such as:

  • Board games
  • Multiplayer video games
  • Card games
  • Verbal games (werewolf, heads up seven up, etc.)
  • Puzzles

It can be a great way to reconnect as a family and fill the long quarantine hours with fun memories, instead of a blur of scrolling online.

2. Try Different Home Workouts

Exercise is essential for both parents and kids. Since kids aren't running around with friends, engaged in their usual sports, or able to come and go like they are used to, doing home workouts can help safely burn off your children's energy. As the parent, you can burn off some of your nervous energy too, and role model consistent exercise for your kids.

To find good home workouts, the internet is your friend. You can look up a no-equipment workout program sheet, or find a YouTube video with a workout for the whole family to try. There are also home fitness programs available for streaming, many of which are free right now due to COVID-19 quarantine.

3. Have Your Teen Cook Or Bake With You

With more time on their hands, your teen can also lend a hand in the kitchen and learn to cook or bake. Not only are these skills invaluable as an adult, but it can also be very fun and empowering for your teen. Taking basic ingredients and turning them into edible food will also serve your teen as they leave your home and don't have to live off ramen and mac 'n cheese like many of their peers.

Baking takes a bit more patience, as it is not as loosey-goosey and intuitive as cooking. But, once your teen gets the basics down—i.e., turns out baking powder is important in cookies—they can experiment and really enjoy this new skill.

4. Take Turns Reading Out Loud

Once children can read, it can be easy to fall out of the habit of reading to your children. But reading out loud can still help with your children's language development, assisting with proper grammatical structure, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Taking turns reading a story out loud can also be a lot of fun!

Depending on the average age of your kids, you may want to pick a middle-grade book if you have a span of elementary school-aged children and teens. However, if your children are all teens, picking out a young adult novel can be a fun way to pass the time and let everyone do structured storytelling.

5. Keep Up With Homework

In areas where schools have been closed, that doesn't mean that school's out for the rest of the year. Depending on how your teen's school has set things up, there may be homework packets, live video classes, or other options.

Doing classes online can be tough for adults to pull off, so it is understandable if your teen struggles to keep up with their classes. Make sure your teen knows you are there to help if they get stuck on a difficult topic and encourage short breaks to help shake any mental cobwebs loose.

6. Help Your Teen Learn A New Skill

Plenty of people are using this quarantine period to learn a new skill or dust off an old one. There is likely a skill you can teach your teen that they haven't had the time to learn between rushing between school, sports, and friends. Maybe you can teach them the basics of sewing, woodworking, coding, crochet, or some other rewarding skill.

Also, if you don't quite feel up to the task of teaching your teen a new skill on your own, YouTube is an excellent resource for how-to videos.

7. Set Up No Tech Time

Nothing can make a person feel like an entire day was wasted quite like spending the day glued to different pieces of technology. Plenty of teens—and adults—will have the TV on and still be on their smartphones, not giving full attention to either.

As these kinds of tech-filled days can feel critically unfulfilling and frustrating, it may help if you set up a few hours a day where all tech is put away and turned off. It may leave your teen at loose ends at first, but you can suggest they read a book, take a family walk—just maintain proper social distance from others—break out the paint supplies and other technology-free activities. After a few days of having techless time, your teen may actually start to look forward to doing something new.

8. Arrange Themed Days

The days can blur together when in quarantine, and it can be tough for teens to even want to roll out of pajamas—it's not like they're going anywhere. Instead, you can give your teen something to look forward to by having themed days.

A themed day can be based around anything. Maybe the entire family loves The Great British Bake Off, so everyone puts on their best British accent and takes turns making baked goods, from cookies to bread. Or maybe you have a 70s themed day, complete with bell bottoms and a disco in the basement. Depending on the ages of your children and interests, you can have a lot of fun with themed days and keep your kids happily engaged.

9. Video Chat With Family And Friends

Human connection is essential, so during quarantine, you may have to be creative in how to help your kids connect. There is a wide variety of live video streaming programs, such as Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Discord, and more. Your teens can also use video messaging apps like Marco Polo, Snapchat, and others to help stay connected with friends and family.

However, for some parents, this period of enforced quarantine may unveil that their teen is struggling with more than a lack of productivity and is deeply troubled. For those parents who need help with their troubled teen, Liahona Treatment Center is here to help.

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