Parenting a teenager is not an easy task. They’re at that point where they think they know everything and they don’t need you anymore. Maybe they want to stay up in their room all day playing video games or making TikTok videos. It can be a hard time for you to connect with them, let alone encourage them to connect with anyone else. It’s natural to worry. It’s natural to want your kids to be well-adjusted, happy, and healthy. One of the biggest tips to help get them to that place of health and happiness is to get them out of the house.
The world is so much bigger than your front door. Getting out and about allows you to meet new people, experience different things, and understand the value of community and the world around you. As an adult, you value your outside experiences and the benefit of going beyond your comfort zone. Your teenager may not understand that yet.
Truth is, getting outside will absolutely benefit your teenager. Not only will they get fresh air and sunshine, but their eyes will be open to new perspectives and the way other people live their day-to-day lives. For teenagers, they may think the world revolves around them. Remind them that they are truly a part of something bigger. Help them learn more about the broader community they are a part of by getting them out and about. There are so many benefits to showing your teenagers this new perspective, here are just a few to think about.
Learn to help people other than themselves.
When you’re in middle school or high school, every second of the drama feels like it’s the end of the world. Your life revolves around who’s dating who, who got promoted to head cheerleader, or who is playing the lead in the high school musical. It’s easy for teenagers to zero in on their own experiences and the drama of high school. Helping them get out and about will broaden their world view and start to encourage them to focus on people other than themselves.
This can happen in any number of ways. Maybe they volunteer at a charity and start to see and appreciate how great they have it compared to the less fortunate. Or maybe teaching at vacation bible school will help them reengage with bible stories and religious teachings that focus on treating others the way you want to be treated. By helping with these VBS programs, you’re often also helping with charity and giving kids from around your community a fun summer activity. Overall, getting out of the house gives your teen a new perspective about the people around them and helps them focus their attention on those individuals rather than only on themselves.
Experience other cultures and people.
When you grow up in one community all your life, it’s easy to feel like you’re inside a bubble. All your teen knows are people from the same community who have relatively similar beliefs and cultural practices. Visiting new places and experiencing the world can open their mind to other people and cultures they wouldn’t get to encounter from stuck inside their room. Going to a site for shore eyes or visiting New York City can be very different from a suburban lifestyle. Wherever you are raising your teen, remind them that getting out and meeting new people and exploring new places can be very beneficial for their broader perspective of the world they’re living in.
Enjoy the outdoors rather than being sucked into technology.
There’s no question that the current generation of teenagers has a technology problem that has never existed before. This is the first group of kids that were born into a world where everyone had a smartphone in their hand and television was available at the click of a button. It’s understandable that some of these teens suffer from technology addictions that can affect their health and communication skills. Forcing them out of the house can help your teens to enjoy the simple pleasures of the great outdoors.
Sunshine and exercise help make your brain and body healthier. It can also help you to slow down and enjoy the little things rather than demand instant gratification online. It can add perspective, increase gratitude, and encourage healthy habits to get your teens out to a golf course in Basking Ridge, NJ, or signed up for an extracurricular sports league. Whatever gets your kids out of the house, enjoying the real world beyond their screens can help them recognize the world outside their smartphone.
Staying in can lead to loneliness and stress.
The full effects of this technology addiction epidemic have yet to be determined, but kids who stay inside all day can often wind up lonelier and more anxious. Of course, a day in every once in a while can be healthy to recharge, but when your teen is spending days on end trapped in their room, that may be cause for concern. If anything, getting them out of the house can interrupt cycles of ruminating and comparing themselves to models on Instagram. When you’re stuck inside for too long, it can wear on your mental health, so encourage getting out and about to increase your teenagers’ moods and remind them that they aren’t so lonely after all.
Understand the value of a job.
While it’s easy to see that getting out of the house is beneficial, you may be wondering what kind of activities work best to help give your teenagers the push to get out. One effective solution may be for them to get a job. This can give them a brand new perspective on money. When you’re working to make your own, the value of a dollar suddenly becomes more apparent. Jobs teach teenagers responsibility, discipline, and time-management. It can also give them a new sense of pride and accomplishment. You remember the awesome feeling of holding your first paycheck in your hand. The excitement that you had money to spend and the pride that you earned it with your own two hands. Encouraging your teen to get a job will help them get out of the house, help to better understand being a part of a working economy, and a new perspective on finances.
Figure out how to work collaboratively and communicate effectively.
Usually leaving the house means you’re going to participate in an activity or attend an event. Overall, getting your teen out and about will increase their people skills and collaboration. Maybe they’re now playing in a sports league that requires them to learn teamwork and drive. Or maybe it’s just going to the park while respecting other people’s space and time while you’re there. Or maybe the whole family is going to a neighborhood potluck where your teen will learn how to small talk and be interested in the neighbors. Whatever the reason for getting out of the house, chances are your teen will be interacting with a new community of people or being forced to work on a team. This gives them a new perspective on how to be a team player. They’ll learn basic manners and how to interact with people face to face rather than through a screen. This will help later in life as they apply for jobs or work on group projects.