Now when I say teens I don’t mean a 13 yr old with younger siblings, those teens are normally more than happy to engage in the family activities that their brothers or sisters like- a day at the park, walking in the woods, cooking/baking at home and Halloween crafts , bike rides and meeting up with friends while mums can grab a coffee and a natter and a bit of moral support!
But my eldest is 16 and has a younger 14yr old brother who is mature for his age and so thinks he is 16 himself. There are no younger siblings to occupy so we have moved on from planning every day to within an inch of it’s life and gone for a few planned things throughout the week with free time for the rest so they can either lounge in bed watching DVD’s or playing Xbox ( shoot me now for being a bad mother).
So as the net is saturated with activities for younger kids here is a few ideas that your older teens may enjoy (and you may earn some brownie points for).
* Offer them a taxi service to the nearest shopping centre, ours is Bluewater which offers them shopping, cinema and fast food places or restaurants. Offer them lifts for their friends so they don’t have the ‘effort’ of arranging how to get there- believe me this makes a difference!
* Book them and their friends into the local bowling alley. Ours is a Tenpin Bowling and offer a ‘Bowl and Bite’ offer over the half term which would cost less than £10 per child ( obviously only pay for your own and get your teen to round up what’s owed by the others)- we have done this loads of times and although it’s only 1 game of bowling if there are 4 or more this could take about an hour, then they could eat and then if they like spend some time in the games arcade area.
* Offer your eldest the use of your house ( if you trust them and their friends- which I do with mine having met them all, and know some of the parents). Now this may sound like trouble in the making but if arranged properly could earn you kudos as a parent and respect from your teen. After all we have to let them earn trust. I have before bought a few pizzas in and let them cook them themselves ( with a mixed group of boys and girls they loved doing it). As it’s Halloween get them to bring their horror DVD’s for a film fest maybe, or set the Wii up ( I kid you not they love to act like kids when they are all together- it’s the freedom they like). I either give them the afternoon or evening on their own with an agreed time to be back- then we can go and do something with the youngest on his own.
* Find your nearest fun pool, for us it’s Larkfield towards Maidstone which is about a 30 minute drive away, but it has a normal separate pool, a wave pool, a lazy river and 2 flumes all included in the price normally less than £6. Now this one is probably for the younger teen ( although my eldest still likes going there with mates), but get him to arrange what friends he wants to go with and offer them a lift there and back and each can pay for themselves ( believe me this works well) as you are providing transport and a parents beady eye over them. Then take your laptop with you and get a bit of blogging done using their free wifi!
* Film nights at home. Now I use the term ‘night’ loosely as on a lazy day they are still unwashed at 3pm! So really anytime of day will do. Let them watch a film older than their age group- now before you jump on me for being an irresponsible parent my youngest is a mature 14 so I have no problems with the 15 rated films and my eldest is a sensible 16 and loves horror films like me so I will allow him to watch horror films although they are 18! So go on shoot my now! I cook up some popcorn, we turn out all the lights and bring the duvets down. Your front room may then smell like something has died in there with all the teen testosterone but they will love you for not making them shower and wander round the shops with you.
* If they are into cooking/ baking allow them to cook a dinner on their own ( my youngest enjoys this). Get them to decide what they want to make and then take them up to a supermarket for them to go in and get all the ingredients- then give them freedom to make a mess and give you food poisoning offering to clear up afterwards ( again they will love you for that). I have had full blown cakes, stirfry’s and curry’s made for us so far.
* Ask them to sort out something technical for you. I find getting my youngest to sort out my MP3 player ( I don’t do Ipods- sorry), he always sorts out the CD’s I want put on there and I get him to put on some of his that he thinks I would like- he likes to think he’s educating me to the modern music world. Obviously this is a task rather than an activity but gives him something constructive to do for an hour.
* Another technical one for them to do for you is to make a CD of your photos, maybe from your hols or just general ones over the year and as long as you have saved them already allow them freedom to add music, text and special effects as they see fit. I now have several of these and lets face it they will get them done much quicker than we would probably! Then it can be given an airing after dinner and you can have a bit of a laugh as a family.
Now this is NOT a sponsored post I just wanted to point you in the direction of some places we use ourselves.
So by incorporating a few of these if they suit your teens combined with a few xbox days I think your half term may go quite nicely, and hopefully if you have done some of the taxi runs etc and booked cinema or bowling etc for them some of the other parents may also have things planned that they include your kids in too.
If you have any other ideas for older teens I would love to hear them