Do you dream of or dread the holiday season?
I always loved the idea of having family and friends at home. But at the back of my mind was a nagging thought. How do I keep everyone happy and fend off boredom?
While the children in the family were little I found it easy. I loved craft projects as much as they did. If I was out of ideas I could always put on the latest Disney movie.
But now the kids have grown into teenagers. I had to adjust my thinking. They did not want to play with glue and paper with their aunt anymore. How did I manage to stay cool in their eyes and keep everyone occupied?
This is how.
You only have to produce a spark and the flame of competition will burn throughout the season.
Teenagers often complain about being bored, right? But it’s part of human nature to want to win. Now use it to make every day exciting.
Create goals everyone can—and must—reach:
- How many times you made someone smile
- How many games (discussed below) you won in total
- Whose food tastes the best
What is relevant to your family? Now offer prizes for the ones with the most impressive score by the end of the holidays. It will add some spark to each day!
Start a DIY Project
I used to love working with my parents, whether it was on fixing a car or making a new flower bed. I believe we all want to be part of something bigger.
Suggest a simple renovation or DIY project during the holiday season:
- Painting a wall or decorating it with arts and crafts
- Making a new family photograph collage for your sitting room
- Renovating a piece of your garden
Give teenagers the chance to use their own initiative. They will love the trust you place in them and the fact that their creativity will live on. They may even have better ideas than you do.
Food Always Works
If you’re at wits’ end you can simply turn to the kitchen. Teenagers respond to food the same way children do.
When you need everyone’s participation for a family activity you’ll get more enthusiasm when there are tasty treats involved:
- Tossing candies—soft ones such as marshmallows—into each other’s mouths
- Having limited time to eat chocolate with a knife and fork
- Trying to balance fruit on small spoons while running
If you need to keep small children busy too, these games involving food will inspire teenagers to help you keep order. Especially if the prize is food as well.
Yes, I know this seems like blackmail. But occasionally you need a shortcut to reach your goal. After all, you need some peace and quiet too.
Games Aren’t Out of Fashion…Yet
The internet changed how we spend our time, right? And it especially applies to children. Is it possible to drag them away from watching the latest YouTube videos or playing Minecraft?
All it takes is the right kind of distraction. And old fashioned games still work. All you need is the sound of someone winning at a table to make everyone come running:
- Foosball: Scared you pick the wrong one? On The Scouting Report you’ll find reviews and all you need to know to purchase the best.
- Pool: Don’t let them go out and play at the nearby games center. Let them enjoy pool at home and invite friends over.
- Poker: All teenagers will love learning the rules so they can teach their friends.
What about board games? Make it fun by letting teenagers and adults compete against each other. Anything to keep the adrenaline going.
Once again your atmosphere of competition will motivate teenagers to give their best. They don’t want to be left out when it’s time for prize giving.
Who Picks the Movie?
You’re allowed some rest now and then. And that’s when you switch on the TV.
Create a rule that each person can pick one movie during the holidays. Let them write their selections on papers and place them in a hat. Now draw one each day. They’ll look forward to the draw because it could be their movie showing next. You’ve just created expectation in a group of bored teenagers.
Mix Up Technology in Everything
Of course teenagers will hate leaving their Smartphones alone. They love social media. And perhaps it’s cruel to expect them to part from it for the entire holiday.
Why not make it part of your plans?
I know you’re dreaming of visiting a local art exhibition, museum or park. And if you do it right all the kids will happily join you:
- Add images of your favorite locations or art pieces to your Instagram profile. Now challenge the teens to find them during the outing. Winner gets a prize!
- Use their creativity and ask them to build Instagram Stories of the day. Watch all the stories together and vote for the best one.
- Some attractions have interactive elements the teenagers can enjoy by logging in with their Smartphones.
I love this idea because I can combine my own and the kids’ preferences in one activity.
Handy Tip: Allocate an Area
Making someone feel special will take you far. If you can allocate a space to the kids and teens you’ll create immense excitement. Make them understand that it’s safe to mess, laugh and shout in that room or area. They will feel relaxed and accepted.
The bored facial expressions will turn into smiles. Now you’re the coolest family member ever!