Just when teenagers were looking forward to an exciting 2020, COVID-19 canceled and postponed events, as well as limited their favorite activities, including concerts, sports, parties, or even a simple hang out with friends.
Understandably, teens are bored, angry, depressed, and disappointed.
These responses are normal, but as their parents, you can still help them beat the “quarantine funk.”
A couple of night games, family activities, and heartfelt talks can help but first, it’s best to understand why they’re experiencing these unpleasant moods.
Missing Out on Milestones
The pandemic has robbed many teenagers of significant rites of passage.
For example, graduating high school students are missing out on graduations, summer jobs, proms, trips, and activities due to stay-at-home and social distancing orders.
Teens are upset since they were looking forward to these events.
And now, they don’t get to dance with their peers or receive their diplomas.
Combine these canceled events with the uncertainty of the future due to the pandemic, it’s natural for teens to feel down.
Some of these losses are things you cannot fix.
You can offer a substitute, but keep in mind that your good intentions will not always pan out. Instead of focusing on replacing what was lost, lead your kids toward a post-pandemic future with activities at home.
How You Can Help Your Teens
Teens stuck at home need to feel that they can still look forward to something.
Here are some ways you can make their days at home count:
1# Recognize hidden anxieties.
Teens may act independently or aloof, but behind the tough exterior could be a child harboring fears about the pandemic: how it would affect their loved ones and their futures.
Sit down with them whenever they have free time and talk.
Ask them open-ended questions about their concerns to give them an outlet to express their fears.
Let them say what’s on their mind before you offer encouragement or advice.
During the talk, praise them and let them know their actions matter.
Affirming their behavior for staying at home, social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-washing show them that they are doing their part for the recovery of the world.
#2 Use screen time constructively.
Limiting screen time is difficult during this pandemic.
Teens use their gadgets for school and to keep in touch with their friends. Instead of discouraging them from using their social platforms, encourage them to make each social connection count.
For example, teens can start a book club with their friends.
They read a book together and discuss it during their free time. They can also use social media to participate in photography projects, dance challenges, and other activities.
#3 Support new structures.
A schedule or structure can help teens find organization and meaning during their work-from-home days. Help them plan out their days.
Their schedule could include exercise, hobbies, and participation in social activities while maintaining social distancing.
You could arrange an indoor tournament of sorts. If the family loves playing billiards, turn up the competition by getting everyone suited up in team uniforms.
You can also get professional-level cues from online retailers, like Billiards King, without leaving the house.
COVID-19 may have robbed your teens of special moments, but you can still encourage them to look forward to more.
Let them grieve for lost experiences and then inspire hope for better, greater memories to come — even if they’re stuck at home.