Just a few weeks shy of the COVID-19 pandemic, I lost my mother. My son, who was a college freshman, received word that he had to move out of his dorm and back into our home. My daughter learned that her junior year of high school would end abruptly, a few months earlier than expected. My husband and I learned that operations at our respective places of employment would halt at their brick and mortar locations. Then, enter stage right, the quarantine. You wanna talk about lots of change in a very short period of time?
What we thought would be about a month-long quarantine slowly turned into a long-term entanglement that neither of us was particularly thrilled about.
After just a few weeks, I knew I needed to dig into my magic hat and learn how to entertain teens during a quarantine!
The Gang’s All Here
The first few months of quarantine were amazing! Our family was all back together under one roof and we were able to spend so much uninterrupted time together. We were not disturbed by the practices, meetings, and appointments that had once robbed us of so much family time. We stayed up late (almost) every night. We vegged out on our favorite junk foods and drinks. And, we could tell you all the latest social media updates without flinching. Even my social media-less husband could tell you what was trending because our conversations were oftentimes related to many of those trending topics. Even though it was the most fun that we had all had in weeks, we knew that we could not continue these shenanigans for much longer.
Now, I’m sure that several of you have stories that match or even outdo (if we’re competing) my story. Nonetheless, I’m going to share how I’ve managed to keep my teenagers entertained during this seemingly never-ending quarantine.
How to Entertain Teens During a Quarantine
- Playing Board Games. Playing board games is something that I did frequently with my parents when I was growing up. When my children were younger, we played board games together, too. Somehow, along the way, we stopped playing board games together. (I’m sure it had nothing to do with the electronic video game surge that has hit this generation of teenagers.) Embarrassingly enough, when I suggested that we play board games together one evening as we were sitting around the house, we couldn’t find one single board game in our house. No fear! Supermom logged on to Amazon and went on a board-game shopping spree.
I purchased the following games:
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- Auburnolopy – This is the Auburn University version of the classic board game Monopoly. Since my husband and I are both alumni of Auburn University (and my kids have grown up visiting the university), we thought this would be really fun…and it was!
- Monopoly Electronic Banking – This game is played just like the classic Monopoly game, but there’s not paper cash involved. We had fun playing this game using our “debit” cards, but it didn’t take us long to admit that it’s so much more fun being able to visually see how much (or how little) money your opponents have. We really enjoyed playing this game. Again, though, we missed the paper money aspect of the original game.
- Operation – Even though my children are older teens, we had so much fun playing this game. It brought back memories from when we played this game together when they were younger.
- Monolopy: The Simpsons Edition – Okay, okay. I may have gone just a tad bit overboard with the different versions of Monopoly. But, there were hours of laughs involved with playing each of the different editions, so I have no regrets.
- Binge-watching old television series. After we played games until we just couldn’t play anymore, we decided to binge watch some old television series. I may be being a little too generous by describing it as binge-watching because we were literally glued to the TV for most of our waking hours. Here are some of the shows that we watched.
- Lincoln Heights – We liked Lincoln Heights so much because the starring family kinda reminded us of us. Minus all of the action. Our lives aren’t nearly as action-packed as the Suttons. We did, however, enjoy seeing that the family was close-knit, enjoyed doing things together, and communicated well with each other.
- A Different World – This The Cosby Show spinoff is one of our absolute favorites. We have watched some episodes of this show together in the past, but because my son is now a college student, he was particularly interested in this show. He loved pointing out things that he had experienced that were similar to the show or people on the show that reminded him of someone he had encountered on campus. We had such a great time watching this show together.
- The Game – We are all sports fans, particularly football fans so this dramedy definitely captured our attention. Even though there’s not much actual football on the show, we fell in love with the characters and the storyline.
- Cooking meals together. At the beginning of the quarantine, I joked that I was going to apply to be a short-order cook when we emerged from the extended quarantine sentence at our house. My family used to just place their food orders and wait for me to produce their requests. Slowly, I figured out ways to get them into the kitchen. We began having “contests” to see who could bake the best cookies or brownies and eventually, they began offering a helping hand in the kitchen. It may have hit them that they’ll be leaving the nest soon and will need to know to make a couple of meals themselves!!
- Watching the evening news together and discussing it as a family. Social media and television have been saturated with news regarding the pandemic and current social unrest. It’s very difficult to avoid it. We decided that instead of trying to avoid it, we would find ways to use the news report as conversation starters for our family. So, we would watch the news and then discuss how it affects each of us personally. We certainly had some very rich conversations that we probably wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t watched the news.
- Taking walks in the neighborhood. When we finally got up the nerve to open the door to our house, we decided to start taking some walks around the neighborhood. It was so nice to get out to get some fresh air and some vitamin D!
- Making TikTok videos. I still haven’t quite figured out if this one kept the kids more entertained or me. Making TikTok videos was more of a “mommy and me” activity because my husband and son wouldn’t indulge in our request to join us on the dance floor. I do, however, I think they had lots of fun yelling at us as we worked to perfect our dance moves to make a post-worthy video to upload!
These are just some of the things that I have done to keep my teens entertained during this time of quarantine. I am very thankful that they still enjoy hanging out with me and I treasure every moment that we have together.
What have you been doing to stay entertained during the quarantine?