Christmas is bound to feel very different this year. With most of the country facing tougher restrictions in December, finding age appropriate Christmas activities for your teenager might be a challenge. In this article, we look at things your teenager can do over the break to help them get into the Christmas spirit, look after their physical and mental wellbeing and give them something standout to talk about in interviews and applications for jobs or further study.
Creating a 'holiday vibe'
First, do try to create a holiday vibe at home that has a slightly different routine from what you've established over the past few months. If you are working from home, you will need areas in the house that are quiet so you can get on, but there should be a lighter feeling elsewhere in the house. You don't need to change much in terms of getting up and bedtimes (in fact, it's good to keep these fairly consistent with term time), but what you're all doing between those times should feel different - less sitting down and studying and more fun activities.
Of course, older children should be doing some revision over the winter break but there should be more non-study time for them too. Here's our top suggestions for things to do away from the television:
1. Get active:
With families more likely to be spending time at home this year, it's important to make sure you and your children remain active by regularly exercising and spending time outdoors. This needn't be a chore and, depending on government restrictions, can include walking around your local parks or neighbourhood, hand delivering Christmas cards or visiting nearby shops. If it’s not possible to get outside every day, try to find ways to be active indoors – there’s lots of online videos and fun Christmas themed workouts to inspire you. Open curtains and windows wide to get as much light and fresh air as you can. In order to get a good night's sleep, the body needs to be physically tired as well as mentally, so it's vital to try and do something physical every day.
2. Start a business:
If your teen has the enthusiasm and ability, the Christmas holidays can be the perfect opportunity for them to start a new business venture. This needn't be costly and If things go really well, they may even have the beginnings of a career working for themselves. If your teen needs some inspiration, ideas might include:
Creating and selling wreaths;
Selling Christmas Hampers;
Designing Christmas cards;
Setting up a fashion store;
Offering dog walking services;
Creating personalized gifts; or
Becoming a social media influencer.
3. Be creative in the kitchen:
From minced pies to gingerbread men, there are plenty of reasons to spend time with your teen in the kitchen this Christmas. If your teenager is already an experienced cook, you could allow them to prepare a festive meal, such as Christmas breakfast or Boxing Day lunch. If this seems too adventurous, how about getting them to decorate Christmas cookies or prepare a special treat, such as Christmas pudding.
4. Read for pleasure:
Get your teen to think of a theme and set a challenge for them to read one or more books over the holiday time. Examples include: biographies of celebrities they admire; a historical novel set in a period of history that interests them; books on self-development; books about places of local interest; books around things they've enjoyed (such as how a film/series was filmed, how to improve at gaming; how to apply make-up). For those that don't like to read, listening to an audio-book or podcast could offer an alternative. There are lots of free online deals at the moment. Audible Many books All you can books
5. Have a virtual experience:
With so many businesses going 'online' this year, why not get them to take a round-the-world trip by visiting two or three virtual museums. They could either choose museums in places they'd like to visit, or work around things they enjoy - such as natural history, space, modern art, sculpture or a specific artist. If they're not interested in art, they could watch a play at the theatre or attend a live gig.
They may also be interested in doing some virtual work experience this holiday. Virtual work experience gives them the opportunity to gain experience in the workplace, develop their skills, boost their employability and explore new industries and job roles. To learn more about virtual work experience opportunities, click here.
6. Volunteer Together:
Teach your teen the spirit of giving this festive season by encouraging them to show kindness to strangers. This might include them volunteering at a shelter, writing Christmas cards to local care homes or donating old clothes, gifts and games to those in need. Helping charitable causes is one of the top ways to increase happiness. Remember, you can always teach your kids about the importance of giving, but you cannot force them to enjoy or adopt it. Try to do these things together and lead by example.
7. Connect them with their friends:
It's likely that many teens will miss time spent with their friends this Christmas, so help them stay connected by researching things they might be able to do online together. Virtual escape rooms are a popular choice with groups who love a challenge and may provide them with something different (and safe) to do this Christmas.
We hope that, despite the unusual circumstances, you enjoy the holidays and create some wonderful memories with your families. If you discover some great things to do, drop us an email (email@example.com) so we can share your ideas with other families.
You might also be interested in browsing our full range of specialist parent guides.