With the coronavirus spreading fast and paranoia spreading even faster, schools are shutting down, churches are closing their doors, and everyone is staying inside. The world seems to be in a state of sheer panic, and no one really knows what to do (except hoard all of the toilet paper). But in the midst of the chaos and fear, there is an opportunity to connect with your kids in new ways and make the best of difficult circumstances.
If your teen’s school has closed for a few days, weeks, or even months, you might be in a bit of a frenzy trying to figure out what on earth your family can do to keep from driving each other crazy. Fear not! Here is a list of light-hearted activities you could do as a family to navigate through the global event.
- Pray together. While the world operates on fear, let us operate on God’s strength in peace. There are a lot of scary things happening right now, and it can leave us wondering “what on earth are we supposed to do?” Sometimes, the best thing we can do to help our kids (and ourselves) is to sit down and pray together, grounding ourselves in something far greater than any virus. Set an example for your kids that when we experience anxiety over something that’s completely out of our control, we’re free to bring those anxieties to God’s throne, giving Him complete ownership of our fears, stress, and health.
- Make a TikTok together. You might feel a little silly doing this at first, but it might actually be really fun! If your teen is an avid TikTokker, they’ve definitely seen some bangin’ family combos. Let your kid teach you a dance and have fun with it! You might just go viral because you’re so talented.
- Have a device-free night. Okay, your kids may not love this at first, but we think it’ll pay off if they can go with it. Keep reading for ways you can have a fun family night, totally device-free.
- Listen to a podcast together. What kind of podcast would you and your teen be into? A true-crime podcast? Faith-based messages? Pop culture? Whatever your family’s interest may be (or maybe listen to something that just your teen is passionate about), dive into something cool together.
- Have a movie marathon. There’s nothing better than a night totally dedicated to your favorite snacks and movies. Grab some popcorn (or cookies, or ice cream, whatever treat suits you) and plan out an all-out movie marathon complete with lots of pillows and blankets. Watch your kids’ top childhood movies, the Star Wars series, Lord of the Rings—whatever your family loves!
- Have a cook-off or bake-off. What do we do when we’re bored?! Eat! Grab some ingredients from the pantry and/or fridge and get cookin’. If your family is a fan of cooking shows like Chopped, make it a competition. Parents vs kids—now that’s a show we’d pay to see.
- Have a game night. Games are one of the best ways to bring families together because you don’t really have to talk about anything boring, or school-related, or serious, you can just have fun! Grab your favorite board/card game, or try something new, like Fish Bowl or Spoons. Another hilarious game to play is Nouns. Here’s how it works: each player chooses a noun (and don’t pick a word like “pencil,” make it something funny), then one player starts the game off with a sentence containing their noun. The player then passes it on to the next person, who speaks the same sentence aloud, but replaces Player 1’s noun with their own word. The object of the game is to keep from smiling the entire time (hence, choosing a funny noun so you can trip someone up and make them laugh). If you smile, you’re out, and the last person frowning wins.
- Plan a trip together. Yeah, you’re stuck in the house now, but it won’t be this way forever! Allow your kids to get in on the planning for your next family vacation. Let them be creative and be open to new suggestions! This can make kids feel more respected and valued in the family dynamic, so why not let them have a say in something fun and family-oriented?
- Have a jam sesh. No, we don’t mean to go grab a bunch of instruments and start jamming out (unless you’ve got a family rock band, in which case, absolutely do that). Let everyone play their favorite song or album at the moment. Bonus! This can open up some great conversations about the music your kids are listening to.
- Take an interest in your kid’s interests. Does your teen love art, photography, video games, makeup, or something else? Get creative and let them show you a peek into their world by asking to join them in one of their hobbies (maybe such as making TikToks). This is a fun way to spend your quarantined time intentionally, by learning about your kid rather than simply waiting for the hours to pass in utter boredom.
- Play Would You Rather. An oldie but a goodie. Think of some funny questions to ask your kids, and get some strange-but-hilarious conversations going. If you’re stuck, here’s a good list to start with.
- Watch a Conversation Kit together. What better time to talk about the issues your teen is facing than a quarantine when they’ve got no place to run?! Just kidding, don’t force them into it. In all seriousness, this is a really good chance to watch something together that’s going to open up some cool conversation. We have awesome videos on everything from social media to dating, so beat boredom and get watching.
- Have a “honey roast.” Whereas a traditional “roast” focuses on making fun of a person, a honey roast gets everyone to focus on building each other up. Have each family member say something they love about every person in the room.
- Serve your community. You may be thinking, “Sure, I’d love to help, but aren’t we all supposed to be keeping to ourselves right now?” Well, yes and no. There are actually a lot of ways you can help your community while still doing your part in social distancing. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
- Give to your local food bank by opening up your wallet instead of your pantry. That way, you can stay out of harm’s way and still enable your food bank to provide for those in need.
- Check in with your at-risk neighbors and loved ones. Do you live near an elderly couple who shouldn’t (or can’t) leave the house right now? Consider bringing them a few supplies and simply leaving them on their doorstep, so as not to come in contact with them physically.
- Pick up the phone. You may have seen memes on Facebook poking fun at the extroverts of the world who are not okay right now. And while some of them are funny, many people may be feeling pretty lonely right about now because they can’t see their friends and family like usual, can’t go to church, can’t go to school...the list goes on. If there’s someone in your life who you know lives alone, or may just be feeling a bit down, pick up the phone and give them a call. There’s power in conversation and encouragement, especially at a time like this.
- Offer to run errands for others. If you do decide to go out, offer to grab a few things at the store, do some dry cleaning, pick up medication—whatever your family, neighbors, or friends might need.
We hope this list inspires you to create intentional time with your kids (and keep you all from tearing each other apart). Take our suggestions or use them to come up with something even better for your family specifically! You know your teens better than we do, so find ways to cater to their interests, and have fun together in a seemingly desperate situation.