The Challenges Of Social Distancing For Teens

Like the rest of the country, I just got the news that my three teenagers will be home for a few weeks from school due to coronavirus.

In many ways I feel lucky for my situation since my kids are teenagers and can help around the house and don’t need (or want) constant attention from me so I’m still able to work and not lose my mind listening to Disney movies all day long.

However, having teenagers and trying to do the social distancing thing has its own set of challenges. After all, many of them may think this virus doesn’t affect them that much. Teens feel they are invincible and know more than every adult person they know, combined. So, I’d like to take the time now to offer my condolences.

Our teens’ lives revolve around seeing their friends and school is a great outlet for that. But now that it’s been taken away and we all need to be smart and not allow them to have friends over until we can get a handle on this crisis, you may feel like you are having to dig deep to keep yourself from going to a dark place.

I know I am.

We can love our kids but not want to be in lockdown with them for weeks on end. We may all want to have some social distance from our kids when this is all over.

Here are 8 ways to make social distancing for your teens (and you) easier:

1. Find a friend to vent with.

Social distancing with young adults who don’t really want to hang out with you is frustrating. Find a friend you can call or text to vent to. Maybe the two of you will have a good laugh or cry about it all. Regardless, remember there is going to be some steam under your hood and it’s okay to let it out.

2. Keep communication flowing.

Let your kids know they can talk about anything they are concerned about at any time. They may act like they aren’t worried, or think it really doesn’t affect them but underneath it all they have questions and concerns. If they know they can come to you and you can discuss it before their questions turn into panic, you will all be better for it.

Also, remind them the extra food and toiletries you bought aren’t to be touched. You’ll probably need to do this daily. Maybe hourly. I know.

3. Step up the chores.

As soon as I heard schools were closing, I went out and bought three more rakes and some paint. Whether my kids say it or not, they are going to be bored. Doing some physical labor is going to be good for them and possibly make them look forward to going back to school, plus my paint and grass will be fresh. Everyone wins here.

4. Get that Vitamin D.

We live in Maine and this time of year is hard on everyone. Throw everything being shut down into the mix and we are downright squirmy in these parts. Get outside to walk around the yard, or sit on the deck and watch birds. Sit by a window on a sunny day. Grab a favorite drink you have on hand (my kids still love chocolate milk) and go for a drive. Just a change in air and scenery, even if it’s short and you’re in the car, can make you all feel better.

5. Bake together.

My daughter has been dying for a brownie sundae from her favorite restaurant. We made brownies together instead and smothered them in frozen whipped cream because that’s what we had on hand. When the store didn’t have any pasta, we looked up how to make it by hand using flour and eggs. It was messy, but it was fun and now my kids want to help cook all kinds of things.

6. Move

My son can’t get to the gym because it’s closed and he’s losing his mind. I asked him to do a workout video with me and he laughed and didn’t think it would be a workout for him. It was, and took the edge off. Even a little physical activity is a huge mood-booster and helps.

7. Limit those screens.

I don’t care who you are, if all you do for weeks on end is tune into your phone, the TV, and computer, you aren’t going to feel like your best self. We don’t allow screens in our kids rooms and when something scary like this happens, it saves us. The last thing I want is for my child to be in their room reading story after story about COVID-19.

8. Break out the memorabilia

This is a great time to look at old pictures and their baby books with them. Tell them the story about when they cut their first tooth or didn’t poop for 8 days then exploded while in their bouncy seat.

Remember, your teens may be home more in the weeks and months to come than they ever will be again. Talk to them. Bond with them. Make the best memories you can out of a bad situation.

And if you are anything like me, you will have to remind yourself of how much you love them and they will be moving out in a few years as they are eating all the extra food and blasting their horrible music. Solidarity, Mama.

Read More About Raising Teens:

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