Tips for Connecting with Teens During the Holidays

It’s that time of year again, where we come together, celebrate, and spend time engaging in our favorite holiday-themed activities. But as anyone with an adolescent in their life knows, teens can be more than reluctant to want to “hang with the fam” for some bonding time! If this is your struggle (and it’s real), keep reading for meaningful and fun ways to celebrate the season with your teens. And don’t forget to crank up that holiday music and tune into the most wonderful time of the year!

Deck the Halls

No matter what holiday your family celebrates, a great way to boost the holiday vibe is to transform your home into a winter wonderland escape. Empower your teen into the action by encouraging them to share holiday decor and design ideas. Go traditional with ornaments or get creative by bringing branches from outside to create a unique indoor nature scene. Light up your living area with bulbs of many colors, make giant paper snowflakes and hang them around the house or build a gingerbread house from scratch and then eat it!

Get into Some Teen Spirit!

Maybe try a snowball fight, an entire family TikTok, trip to the skate park, ice-skating, a dance party, or movie night where they pick! After all, these are just a few of their “fav-o-rite things”. Use these thematic opportunities to connect with your teens by doing what they love to do. Assign them the task of planning a holiday family activity and then get into it!

Winter Wonderland

Wherever you live, this season brings on the magic of winter. Whether it’s snowing, raining, or all sunshine (like it tends to be here in the OC), take time to get outside. Interacting with nature is a simple way to engage in positive mental health activities for teens. Even a 15-minute stroll outside can do wonders, boosting endorphins and clear anyone’s head of worries. This is a great time for mindful moments, focusing on the sounds of nature, or to strike up a conversation about life and be there to offer support. So, however you choose to enjoy nature this season, take time as a family to show your teen how beautiful the world is.

Pay it Forward

We all can get bogged down by holiday stress and anxiety — teens especially. An amazing way to alleviate this pressure, is simply to help them take some of the focus off themselves by focusing on helping someone else. Start a holiday tradition this year by volunteering at one of the many non-profit organizations in your community. Giving back is a beautiful way to spread holiday cheer. And you might be surprised at how far a little good can go towards boosting everyone’s attitude.

Home for the Holidays

Being an adolescent is such a special time, it’s when we start developing our own interests and establish our own traditions. While most teens want to spend time with their friends or engaged in outside interests, they are still not too old to enjoy some quality time with the family. The time you spend with them may be shorter, so make it special, strive for quality not quantity and create special moments that make memories that will last a lifetime.

At Tilly’s Life Center, our mission is to provide teen mental health resources that help young people live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Since part of a positive life is feeling connected to family and friends, we hope these tips will help you engage in more family bonding activities this holiday season and in the new year to come.