In San Francisco and the rest of the state of California, it seems as though school will be canceled until August 2020. This is not ideal news for parents, but what a window of time to get ahead on academics and spend time with your family like never before. But, being stuck at home doesn’t mean we have to go bonkers with boredom. Teenagers are pretty much addicted to their phones, and since they will be home for a couple of weeks right now, you need to create an outlet and get them in a routine just as you would a younger child, or they will be mindlessly playing games and/or texting with their friends all day long.
Here is a list of things that we do as a family with three older kids (14+) at home:
1. Lip Sync Battle
Your teenage kids love music, let them play some of their favorite music at home and do a lip sync battle! (I have video proof of my kids if you would like for me to post!) Comment below if you like to see it and I will embed it here.
2. Play Card Games As A Family
My kids love playing Spoons or Hearts. The best one in our family is my daughter, who happens to also be the artist of the family. It gets my boys so upset and competitive!
3. Exercise Together
Exercise is a big thing in our family. Luckily, we live near a beautiful lake and the ocean, so we will go for a long run as a family or in pairs. The boys like to work out at the park everyday or out in the backyard. It's been fun getting the yoga mats out and doing burpees. It's easy to keep social distancing while also getting in our work out and fresh air.
4. Play Board Games
Bust out Monopoly, or order some board games online right now if you don't have any. My kids aren't really into them, but I know a ton of family friends who host game night almost every weekend. We also really enjoy CLUE and Pictionary.
5. Ask Them To Create Their Own Routine + Hold Them To It
I had my kids give me a weekly schedule, not hour by hour, but a routine list of what they want to accomplish that week. Since San Francisco schools are not offering online classes, I have them log on to Khan academy, do a reading schedule, work on AP tests and SAT prep. Screen time is monitored (under 3 hours a day, which we have not been very successful at this so far speaking honestly..) by keeping all devices in the main room upstairs in our house. If they need their electronics to do homework, it's done upstairs or inside our small office/study we created.
6. Read Together
It's easy to get into a movie fix each evening after dinner but prior to the movie, we all sit as a family and do our own individual book reading for one hour. It forces my husband and I do it, too. If you can't do it for an hour, simply start at 15, 20, 30 minutes and build from there. It's all about incremental changes that work for your family!
7. Bake Together
You don't have to have a sweet tooth to bake. You can bake breads, crackers, and yes, we made bagels, too! This has been a different way to have to fun for my kids and then we enjoy our creation together as a family.
8. Challenge Each Other With Personal Goals
Now that restaurants are closed, this is also a great time to make a meal plan, detox and change your lifestyle. Challenge yourself and your kids to keep a health/food log. Truly take the time to learn to cook healthy meals together. Make it a fun evening routine of cooking and serving one another, so that you have something to really look forward to at the end of each day.
We are all in this together, though apart, but I encourage each of you to use this time to slow down your normal, busy life and bond at home with your family, creating new routines and habits together for both now and your future selves.