Tips for Keeping Teens Healthy, Happy, & Safe Over Winter Break

By Camila Dos Santos, M.Ed., Program Coordinator of the Healthy Relationships Initiative 

With teenagers limited in their social activities and with many learning from home, winter break can feel especially long for everyoneParents of teenagers may be interested in the following tips to keep teens healthy, happy, and safe over the winter break:

  • Help them connect virtually with friends and family. Giving teenagers an opportunity to virtually connect with others during winter break can help them tend to their social nature, while keeping them safe during the pandemic. Being mindful about these meetings can help keep them meaningful and positive, such as by introducing themes or game nights.
  • Get them involved in volunteering or help them find season employment. Ask your teen what they may be interested in helping with or learning about, and do your research together.  Your teen can gain valuable skills from a real-life experience such as volunteering or employment. Even if you just end up planning for an opportunity down the line, doing it together can be a valuable exercise for connecting with your teenager and learning about their interests.
  • Give them holiday responsibilities. This can be a win-win situation for you and your teenager! Giving your teen tasks during the holidays give them an opportunity to show responsibility and enhance their self-esteem. It also means that you get a little help around the house! Some tasks can include: cooking or baking a dish or dessert, supervising young children, doing holiday shopping, or running to the post office.
  • Spend time talking about their future. Winter break can be a wonderful opportunity to get to know your teenager better.  Learning about their future plans, such their ideas about where they’ll live, what they’ll do for a living and for fun, can help you get a sense of how your teen envisions their life.  A tip for these conversations: Ask open-ended questions, and then listen. 
  • Help teens cultivate their spirituality and self-care practices. Cultivating spirituality and practicing self-care has many benefits for adults and teenagers alike.  Cultivating spirituality looks different for everyone, but ultimately, it is whatever spiritual practice helps your teenager feel centered and emotionally balanced. The same can be said for your teenager’s self-care practices as well. Check out this previous HRI blog post for helping teens learn about and practice self-care.

Practice these tips to help strengthen your relationship with your teenager and keep them healthy, happy, and safe during this pandemic winter break!

1.27.21 Healing Relationships: Reflecting After a Contentious Election Season

The 2020 election season has brought a lot of tension and challenges to close relationships of all kinds, including families, friends, couples, and co-workers. In this follow-up program, we’ll hear from a panel of UNC Greensboro experts for insights and strategies to understand and navigate tension and conflict after a heightened political election.

There are two ways to attend this program on Wednesday, January 27 from 12-1:30 p.m. 

  • Register here and receive details to connect through Zoom.
  • Click here on January 27, 2021 to watch the program live on Facebook.

HRI in 2020

 

We all started 2020 with many things that we wanted to accomplish, and for many of us — those goals, plans, and ideas have been postponed or cancelled.  

We believe that having healthy relationships of all kinds can help to overcome even the most difficult circumstances, and it has been our goal this year to create programs and provide resources that can help our audience strengthen relationships in all aspects of their lives. 

HRI is grateful for your support during a very challenging and unpredictable year. We are proud of what we have accomplished in this challenging year, and we wanted to share some of our achievements with our community. 

We look forward to continuing to help the Guilford County, NC community and beyond strengthen relationships of all kinds in 2021!

Keeping Younger Kids Healthy & Connected Over Winter Break

Parents know that keeping young children engaged and happy over long breaks is challenging, but doing so in a pandemic when our options for activities and engagement are limited can feel downright impossible.

At the Healthy Relationships Initiative, we’ve developed some tips to help you keep young children healthy and connected over this winter break.

Set bed time and wake up routines. Even though your kids may not have school routines to stick to, it can be beneficial to keep them on the same bed time/wake up routines as when they are in school, or to at least mirror those routines so they resemble what your kids do during the school year.  Keeping their sleep times consistent can help you maintain order throughout the day, while introducing fun activities that don’t uproot your child(ren)’s schedule.

Make time for family fun. We get it — the holidays are hectic and there’s barely enough time to get anything done. But, winter break is a great time for the family to connect and have fun together.  It doesn’t have to be a big event, but making time for fun throughout winter break will help the entire family stay connected.  Some ideas can include playing games together, having a weekly movie night, or exercising together.

Get kids involved in chores. Winter break can be a great opportunity to teach young kids how to help out with chores around the house. Not only does having responsibilities around the house teach young children accountability and work ethic, it also helps their self-esteem when they feel like they are contributing to the household. This article offers some great tips and strategies for parents of young children to begin involving them in household chores. Start small, and you may find that your kids are heavily involved in helping you out around the house long after winter break is over!

Relax rules where you can, and enforce non-negotiable rules. This can be a tough one! We recommend going with your parental instincts.  If there are rules that you can relax over winter break, such as allowing more screen time or letting young kids indulge in a little more sugar, that can help everyone in the family relax. No one wants to spend all of winter break dictating rules, but it is important to determine which ones are non-negotiable and to stay consistent in enforcing those (i.e., maybe you and your partner choose to allow more screen time, but consider bed time a non-negotiable rule).

Read together every day. The benefits to reading with your young child are endless. It stimulates their imagination, helps them understand the world, in addition to several other academic and developmental benefits.  Reading together with your child every day also establishes a routine where you can spend time together without distractions.  Depending on the age of your child, let them try reading, or ask them questions about the story.  Bonus points if you implement a follow-up activity, such as drawing or acting out parts of the story.  When you make it a point to read together every day, you’re creating a routine where your child looks forward to spending quality time with you each day, while also keeping them engaged in learning for when winter break ends.

Incorporate extended family members or pets into routines. Winter break can be fun for the entire family! Get younger children involved in helping out with pets, or in connecting with extended family members in safe ways.  If Grandma can’t come over, then perhaps you can connect Grandma and your child virtually for story time. Or, maybe your child can help make sure that Rover is fed and has water in his bowl. There are a lot of ways to keep young kids connected with other family members over winter break, but parents must be intentional about making it happen.

Check out previously recorded HRI Holiday Programs!

Did you miss our holiday programming this year? 

If so, there are still opportunities to watch on your own time.  Check out the links below to watch one, a couple, or all of our free programs! All are designed to strengthen various types of relationships during the holidays and beyond.

Watch Coping With Loneliness: Part I here.

Watch Making Tough Choices & Setting Boundaries During the Holidays here.

Watch Gift-Giving and Receiving here.

Watch Coping With Loneliness: Part II here.