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!