Just when you finally developed a smooth fall routine with the right balance of school, work and family time, winter break arrives. And that can only mean one thing – your teen will be home looking for ways to occupy their time all day long.
Without a bit of planning, your teen will probably gravitate to the many screens around the house, particularly the television, computer, cell phone and iPod.
And while an hour or so of video game playing or television watching may be perfectly acceptable, there are many more productive ways to use winter break as a time for learning, fun and relationship-building.
Challenge Their Minds
Of course, relaxing doesn’t have to mean zoning out in front of the TV. There are healthier and more effective ways to unwind, such as journaling, playing in the snow or snuggling up with a book by the fireplace.
Schedule Quality Time as a Family
As winter sets in and the air grows colder, many families grudgingly begin to spend more time indoors. And though cold weather may have you feeling down, the trade-off is the warm feelings of kindness and togetherness that characterize the holiday season.
Even your typically distant teen is likely taken with the spirit of the season, which makes these next few months ideal for family bonding. A few times a week, schedule game nights, movie nights, a one-day ski trip and other activities that the whole family can do together.
Stay Engaged, Stay Positive, Stay Prepared
Though it’s easy to generalize about the joyfulness of the holiday season, the fact is that not all families look forward to this time of year. And for those families, feeling “different” from other families only accentuates the sorrow.
Research shows that school vacations are prime time for experimentation with drugs and alcohol and other risky teen behaviors. If the lack of structure and extra time spent at home during winter break means more reckless and rebellious behavior from your teen, you may need more than a family vacation to keep your teen safe.
However your family chooses to spend winter break, remember that a busy teen is happier and less likely to engage in risky behaviors than a teen who is glued to the screen all winter. So get creative and start planning today!
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