Time at home, and specifically quality time with family, is important to a young person’s development. According to Search Institute, a young person should not be out with friends “hanging out” more than two evenings per week. It’s also important to limit TV, Internet and other “screen time” at home, and this goes for the whole family. Getting away from the screen means more time spent productively, actively, and together. So if they’re not doing schoolwork, hanging out with friends, or on the computer, what should they be doing? Here are a few ideas.
- Honour mealtime as family time as much as you can. Avoid eating in front of the TV or standing at the counter – instead, sit down together, take your time, and connect. Better yet, get the kids involved making dinner. Maybe one night a week you can have pizzas, perogies, tacos, or something festive like that, and the whole family can work together to prepare it.
- Plan screen-free time together on evenings and weekends to do things together as a family, inside or outside the home. Fun family activities for an afternoon or evening might include board games, reading aloud, bike rides, bonfires, concerts and plays, bird watching, or scavenger hunts. Maybe you want to work together on a bigger project, like building a fence, painting a mural, or tending a garden.
RECOMMENDED READING: Parenting Preteens with a Purpose: Navigating the Middle Years by Kate Thomsen and Peace for Parents of Teens: 365 Rejuvenating Reflections by Patricia Hoolihan.
Search Institute has identified 40 building blocks of healthy development, known as Developmental Assets, that help adolescents to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Visit us here every Wednesday to read about different ways that you, your family, and your community can take action to help equip our young people develop resilience and achieve success in life.