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Living in lockdown with teens – eek!

Here are 20 things to do that might encourage your teenagers to get out of bed by midday – or at the very least by nightfall (fingers crossed).

What type of lockdown are your teens having? Up at the crack, then heads down for hours of school work, fulfulling hobbies, intelligent conversation, chores about the house and then a nice early night? Or does it feel like they’re guests in the lockdown hotel and virtually nocturnal?

While it’s good to get into some sort of routine, don’t beat yourself up about it if they’re not filling every hour with meaningful activity – they are teenagers.

  • Ask rather than tell (how are you going to use this time? Might be worth mentioning that universities and employers may ask).
  • Give them space but check in with them regularly.
  • Maybe relax limits on screen time (they’ll need to keep in touch with their friends more than ever).
  • If they’re worried about the virus, reassure them that’s normal. Recommend reliable sources of info about the virus (NHS, WHO rather than social media).
  • If they do sneak out, try not to get angry but calmly explain the guidelines again.
  • Enjoy the time you have together as a family.

In the meantime, here are some ideas for stuff to do that might get them out of bed in the morning – or at least by early afternoon.


Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Learn Korean or Klingon. The free language platform Duolingo makes learning a choice of 35 languages – from Spanish, French, German and Japanese to the more eclectic Hawaiian, Navajo and, yes, Klingon – into a game.

Solve a Rubik’s Cube. ‘Course, we know how to do it but if your teen doesn’t, he or she can find out by clicking here.

Take a driver’s practice theory test. A teen who’s keen to get behind the wheel can test their knowledge of the Highway Code and road sense here.

Do the Couch to 5k. Get them out of their PJs, into a pair of trainers and out into the fresh air to start building up to a 5k run over nine weeks. There are different apps around but we’ve used this Public Health England version, available for iPhone and Android. Up to six people can share – so do it together?

Walk on Mars. No space suit required. The real surface of Mars as recorded by NASA’s Curiosity rover.

Learn to juggle. Eddie Bacon and his balls shows how it’s done.

Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Cook lunch. Agree the night before that your teens will cook lunch. Show them the ingredients (a la Ready Steady Cook), or let them decide (BBC Good Food has some easy recipes for stir fries, pasta, pizza and more), and leave them to it. PS. They have to clear up the mess afterwards.

Sing karaoke. The family that sings together, stays together. AirConsole turns smartphones into a mic so you can all sing online.

Become a cyber agent. Sign up for the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport’s Virtual Cyber School where 13 to 18 year olds can learn how to crack codes, fix security flaws and dissect criminals’ digital trails in over 200 cyber challenges. Limited places, so apply now.

Fold paper. 120 origami models to make here.

Watch a film with friends. Netflix Party synchronises playback and allows you to chat via group chat added to the show. And here’s where to find over 1000 free films online.

Decorate their bedroom. Saves you the job.

Compose. Musical youth can write their own scores.

Listen to TED. TED-Ed is the youth branch of the famous TED Talks, with short, animated features answering questions like what’s the point(e) of ballet and inspirational speakers explaining what it means to be altruistic.

Write letters. Stay in touch with grandparents and other rellies using good ol’ pen and paper.

Go scuba diving. Hand over those 3D glasses you had from years ago and let them dive in amongst the tropical fish swimming around the coral reefs off Cozumel in Mexico.

Denise Jans on Unsplash

Write a screen play. Budding Quentin Tarantinos can learn the ropes on this free online scriptwriting course run by the University of East Anglia.

Grow some veg. Luckily we have all the info they need on hand.

Start a blog. They say WordPress is the king of free blogging sites.

Keep calm and carry on with the meditations and mindfulness at Headspace.

Any other suggestions very gratefully received in the comments box below!

Find more ideas here


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