~Finding your secret weapon to make the magic happen.
Remember long ago when your adorable little kids were wild with energy and excitement around the holidays? When everything seemed magical and fun….
Matching pajamas …
Piles of presents ….
Eyes twinkling with excitement ….
And now what? They prefer to sleep until noon and have literally two items on their gift list; both would add up to a mortgage payment! And worst of all, they roll their eyes at the little things that used to thrill them!
The very best way to find that magic with your teen is by simply spending time together.
I know, that sounds a little scary. Our teens don’t always want to hang out with us or spend time together in a small room! I get that. Mom of three teenagers here! Asking your teens to hold hands and sing carols is not what I am suggesting. I get it. That’s not going to happen for many of us this year.
As much as the hard times hurt, beyond what we thought possible,
the good times can be far more amazing than we thought possible too!
Let’s all commit to making this holiday one of the good times.
Here are five suggestions for finding the perfect way to spend time with teenagers this holiday.
Pick one or try all five.
We can make it happen!
Warning: Enjoy it quickly and stand back when they are done!
Reinvent Traditions. What is one of your holiday traditions? Was it to get the kids matching pajamas? Great! Work with that. But you may have to let go of the matching and look more towards funny or ironic or dare I say, cool. Try something like these animal pajamas or photo booth props. Or maybe it’s simply sweat pants of their favorite sports team. You can always remember the Christmas your kiddos had matching pajamas as YOUR version of sweet, cute and magical. But you can also look back on this Christmas and be reminded about what THEY thought was cute or cool. And in that switch, you may just find magical. Traditions are a connection, a sense of belonging, a piece of who they are and where they come from.
Build on Your Family’s Hobbies. What did you do when the kids were little? How did you spend time together? Find a way to expand on that. Always got a zoo pass from grandma in the past? How about a family passes to the ski hill? A paid registration to a running race? Look to your past and you will find something. Did they used to love to read or do puzzles? Try wrapping up a giant puzzle of somewhere they would like to go. Set up a card table and pull the puzzle out. They may just wander over and start working on it. Was family movie night a thing when they were little? How about a favorite holiday movie for their gift?
Something That Centers On Meal Times. Meal times are still one of the most important times in the life of a family. If your family is anything like mine though, that is a rare treat to have a meal together. Lives are busy and schedules are crazy. But a holiday is a perfect time to let your teen know that eating together is still important. How about a cook book based on their favorite movie or based on a hobby of theirs? Then make a point to have the ingredients on hand for a few of the recipes. Ask them to make the nastiest sounding ones you can find! Meals with teenagers are a rare occurrence; find a way to make them fun.
Something Fun. A game or a silly toy can be great time together. How about a wrapped box full of Nerf Guns and you be the first to grab one and work out your holiday frustrations? Does everyone have a sweet tooth? Maybe a gumball machine, make your own pixie sticks kit, gobstoppers or atomic fire balls? How about a hot sauce sample pack and challenge each other to try them all? What about a game? Something old school your teens have never tried? Operation? Simon? For a new game, try LCR. But instead of the chips that come in the set, give everyone in the family a roll of quarters. Your teen will love a chance to win a few bucks!
Something To Make Together As a Family. Creating something together allows you to spend time with your teen and maybe have a lasting memory or decoration for years to come. How about a simple gingerbread house kit? One for each family member and have a design contest or if you followed the suggestion of the Nerf guns for the family, the gingerbread house could become the tactical target and it can be team Family against team gingerbread house! I know, I know, not your idea of an idyllic holiday, but a favorite memory for you teenager for sure!
Time together may take a little more creativity but it can be done! What suggestions do you have for us? Do you have great ideas that have worked with your teenager? Please share in the comments section below!
Joy Hartman is passionate about empowering teens to become strong, confident adults! She works with teens of all ages as a family therapist in Wisconsin and has the unique experience of raising three moody, eye-rolling teenagers of her own. For more fun and support on this crazy roller coaster ride of parenting teenagers, join Joy and hundreds of other parents at: