The school holidays stretch ahead and, once the euphoria of being off school has passed, many parents can be at their wits end as to how to get those moody teenagers away from the mobile devices and getting some fresh air!
Exercise is good for (even) teenagers; it ensures they keep in reasonable shape even if they’re not a sports star, it contributes to brain power and it gets them out from under your feet. It’s a proven fact that there is a learning drain during long school holidays and is really a case of ‘use it or lose it’, so something that keeps those little grey cells working is a good thing.
The problem is where to start – what will engage them enough to get them out of bed and out of the door?
Here are some ideas:
There are various levels of this – if people really want to take it seriously there are competitions, but at beginners level there are local groups all over the UK. Basically it’s running and map-reading so they’ll develop coordination, map-reading. For those who are younger or less energetic there are lower level options that don’t require running and can be done by the whole family with younger children.
It doesn’t have to be somewhere remote – it could be in an urban location and there are groups and events all over the country. If you want to find your nearest course or group take a look at the British Orienteering website.
You don’t have to be kitted out as a serious sportsperson, but it’s best to wear trainers and comfortable clothes – unless your teens don’t mind wearing lycra, of course!
This is a bit like a treasure hunt with geocaches all over the country. Best of all it requires a mobile phone to help track down your nearest caches. It can be done with friends or family and all it needs is a free account with the Geocaching website or just download the app.
Geocaches are in all kinds of places and all over the world so you can even go geocaching on when the family is on holiday. Each cache has a random selection of items in it and it’s OK to trade something of yours for something in there you want. Just sign the log book and you’re off to the next one.
The geocaches come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from big boxes that are easy to spot to smaller items, sometimes disguised to blend into the environment, so it’s not just a walk in the park, it takes a little effort.
Geocaching can be seriously addictive! The website will give you an idea of how many geocaches are near you.
A little responsibility
There’s nothing like giving your young adults responsibilities to improve their practical skills.
- Give them the household food budget to manage and let them plan the weeks menu for all the family, shop for what’s needed and maybe even prepare the meals.
- Get them to put together a household tasks list and assign tasks based on the various family members time and ability.
- Let them loose on an area of the garden to cultivate, keep tidy and suggest they keep a log of what plants are where. Encourage them to find out when each type of plant should be planted, the conditions and care for it. Better still get them to grow vegetables to feed the family – many vegetables are easy to grow and even younger children can get involved.
Be creative in getting your kids moving and you may be surprised at how interested in their new activity they become.