Here are 3 tips to help families with teenagers thrive over Christmas Break:
1. Continue the family traditions.
When our kids were younger, we had the usual fun family Christmas traditions (baking cookies, certain holiday movies, pajamas on Christmas Eve, and many more). As they have gotten older, we have noticed it is still just as important to continue these traditions. Family traditions have benefits beyond the current moment. They strengthen family bonds, offer comfort and security, teach values, pass on beliefs, and connect generations. Although these traditions may look a little different as your child becomes a young adult, look for ways to continue family traditions.
2. Build in times of rest.
If your family is like my family, we are running at a sprinter’s pace most days of the year. With the addition of holiday activities, this pace has a tendency to increase. Of course, there will be days filled with fun, family, and if your my family – food! But build in days of rest. My wife and I sit down with our two boys and plan at least two days during our Christmas break where we do nothing. These days are on everyone’s calendar. On these days, everyone sleeps in. We have a late breakfast. You can stay in your pajamas all day. The only requirement is you have to brush your teeth! Life throws a lot at families these days. Use your holiday break to catch a few moments of dedicated rest.
3. Bless others.
One of the highlights of Christmas is the mystery and excitement of Christmas gifts. When our kids return to school in January, their conversations will undoubtedly turn to, “What did you get for Christmas?” So how do we balance the consumer mindset of the season with the temptation to get, get, get? How do we enjoy the gifts we receive while still remembering the one true gift? For my family it has been by blessing others. This looks different each year. A few examples include, serving at a local homeless shelter, sorting clothes at a non-profit, helping a special needs family, or even financially blessing a server at a few of our favorite restaurants. For teenagers, they understand the needs around them much better than when they were younger. So talk to your older teens. See what God is putting on their heart. Because when our eyes are focused elsewhere, there’s a lot less time and energy to focus on what we’re getting this year.