There’s no denying this has been a tremendously hard week for all. One of the hardest in our history. We had to postpone our family ski trip and March break due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. It was recommended here in Ontario, Canada last week that all travel be stopped, so we followed the health unit and Government of Canada protocols.
But, that has not been easy. We are all genuinely disappointed because we had an amazing ski trip to Vermont happening. My younger girl has FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) and she doesn’t cope with change well at all. So, her frustration leaked out at first in aggressive outbursts.
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Keep Teens Busy Right Now During the Pandemic
We have been busting our brains trying to think of things that we can do with teens right now. Not easy, because at least one of the kids is so peeved she isn’t open to any of my suggestions. The first day of social distancing we drove to the conservation area to hike and she refused to get out of the van. To be clear, she didn’t understand why she couldn’t see her friends and that has been a constant daily conversation here.
But, my other girl, while disappointed and worried too, has been slowly coming up with ideas. She’s a bit older and while she has anxiety disorder, she has a zillion coping skills now and does really well with that most days.
It’s been almost a week now of this, breaking fights up and arguing occasionally and continuously saying: “No, you can’t go to your friend’s home.” It’s hard. I see you, other parents of teenagers and kids with special needs. It is life and death and also hard as hell because life has changed at lightning speed.
Here are a Few Things to Do with Teens While School and Sports are Shut Down
Let them make silly TikTok videos at home. For real. They find it amusing. My kids are both doing this and frankly, today I finally decided to join them. WE shared a lot of laughs actually.
If they enjoy writing at all and need that as an outlet, then give them a journal and let them write their feelings down. One of my teens is actually pretty good at this.
Netflix and chill gets a whole new meaning right now. Teens sometimes will still sit to watch shows. Recently, my youngest wanted to binge watch Atypical, so we did. Hoping to find another series soon. My oldest has always been into Stranger Things and we are just watching for the next season to show up. Meanwhile, she and I both started The Witcher…Any other suggestions?
Not sure why this is so amusing but my daughter asked for this for her birthday. We added it as her birthday present for a year. So, we are watching Hannah Montana reruns, because it is so nostalgic.
Getting outside and taking a hike is still a good idea and frankly it’s physical exercise, so why not? I have already tried this. I will be honest in that the first day we went one of my girls was ready for it and happy to do a hike and the other was a miserable mess who refused to get out of the parking lot. Doesn’t mean I stopped trying. I went the next day with my oldest daughter and we hiked for 5 kms. The day after that I hiked alone, because one had a head cold.
This week, we have done a lengthy walk or hike every single day. I keep trying different areas out and separate trails. The girls know the rules and are old enough to understand them. For years, I have driven by Sifton Bog and told my kids we need to go see Sifton Bog one day. So, this week, we checked it out.
Happy to report that since I wrote this they have both come around to the idea of hiking calmly and walking outside daily on our own, always six feet away from other people.
Make Reusable Beeswax Wraps
We made these a couple of weeks ago and they are super easy. Plus, teens love the idea of eco friendly products and reusable materials.
Start a book club in your home. You HAVE to be subtle about this depending on the age.
Read Out Loud at Night
When my kids were a bit younger, I received a lot of review books here. So, to get through them all I would read them out loud at night to the kids. I sat outside their bedroom in the hallway and read the story a couple chapters a night. We all got through some amazing books that way. Highly recommend this as a way to keep teens busy right now.
This morning, I woke up and dyed my daughter’s hair Schwarzkopf amethyst black. For years, I’ve said No because, she seemed too young to me. But, there’s no time like the present. She was thrilled and it looks great.
Bake Something Together
We have been baking and cooking and making a few things when able, because it’s better than going through drive through.
Alright, that might sound ridiculous, but my oldest has been Marie Kondo’ing her entire room. She spent 2-3 days on this and covered every single corner and drawer.
My one kiddo loves puzzles, so we used to do a lot of them together. Time to get some out again and spend time doing these.
Grab some wood. Repurpose something wooden and paint it or shape it into something new. A sign for the garden maybe.
These are not very calm times right now. We all need tools that help us relax. Colouring pages like the ones I sometimes share here are extremely useful for just unwinding.
I found an amazing one today and I am thrilled. It may take a few days to get the kids into the same mindset, but eventually one, or both, will join in. Of that, I am confident. Both girls are used to a lot of physical activity every week, with martial arts, theatre, horseback riding and skiing or swimming. They need other fitness alternatives.
At this point, it’s still okay to take a ride on your bike.
Nothing is quite as hopeful as a garden. My one daughter has planted a few seeds already. I got her dill and oregano and lavender. Hopefully eventually they grow big enough to be transplanted.
Clay Jewelry and Figurines
Order some clay online, or perhaps you already have some around your house. My oldest had ordered some a couple of weeks ago and it just arrived.
Building in New Routines During the Pandemic
Nobody knows how long this could last, but we really need to be working on the same page, to flatten the curve. So, keep your kids at home. Get creative. Do you have any ideas I didn’t get to here? Share them and I will add to the list.
It’s definitely nothing we could have ever planned for. But, right now, we need to keep teens away from social gatherings and these are a few ways we are working through it here right now.