There is an awkward stage in most of our lives when we find playgrounds unsatisfying and Scrabble not satisfying enough. If you suspect your teenager has reached this point, read on.
It can be tremendously difficult to think of things to do with a teenager. They’re often quite happy occupying themselves, of course (many of them seem to quite like it), but it would be a shame to cut out all quality time with them. Here are some suggestions to lure them back into the family circle.
Take an outing
This one comes with an extra bonus: once you set off, it’s much harder for them to escape to their bedroom. Outings can also be great fun for everyone, even younger children. This site’s got lots of fun and quirky ideas for things to do in London. From vintage shops to zip wires, it’ll contain something to enthuse even the most reluctant teenager.
If London’s a bit of a trek, or if you just can’t face the mayhem, have a look at the best museums in your local area. It’s a false stereotype that teenagers find museums boring. Many of them love learning and will appreciate a day out. And if they don’t find the museum thrilling? You can bet they’ll love the gift shop.
Learn new skills together
Now’s the prime time for you to impart your wisdom before your teens leave to face the world by themselves. If your teenager’s into mechanics, teach them how to fix a bike (and go for a cycle to test out your handy work afterwards). If they enjoy cooking, spend some time in the kitchen. It’ll be a different experience from the sticky cake-baking of their childhood. Student recipes, BBC Good Food and Student Cooking are all excellent places to find recipes that will serve them well in later life.
Go on long walks and adventures
This one’s especially good for teenagers who have closed up. If you want to encourage them to talk, there’s nothing like going away to a different place (or forcing them to walk by your side for seven hours). Of course, you can’t make anybody say anything, and trying pump them for information will probably not have the desired effect. The NHS provides guidance on talking to teenagers.
Apart from anything else, you can enjoy each others’ company. Chatter about the countryside and sip tea in little cafés. Here are some suggestions of places to visit, and memories to make.
Start a project
If your teenager is the creative type, they might enjoy starting a project with you. Make a model boat, create a beautiful scrapbook, or learn photography together – your imagination (and enthusiasm) is the limit. You might need to be a little careful that it doesn’t become a chore for them. Make sure they feel that the project is their own as much as yours. As long as they do, working together on something will be rewarding for you both.
Go for a meal
What better way to spend time together? Going for a meal means you can have a good old natter. Find affordable restaurants in your area, or go back to your old favourite where you know they do the mash just right. Few teenagers will decline your invitation – for who can resist free food?
Go to Disneyland.
Hark the advice of Peter Pan: no-one need ever grow up.
Written by Bryony Glover