All teenagers need free time to develop their own interests, spend time with friends and just to relax.  It can also be a great idea to find time for you and your teenager to do activities you both enjoy together. No two teenagers are the same, however popular activities for  many include, spending their free time doing things like shopping, going to parties, spending time with friends, using the computer for games or other online activities, visiting social networking sites, texting, watching movies and reading.
 
Many teenagers spend a large amount of time in structured extracurricular activities such as arts and sports and can therefore feel bored with unstructured spare time.
 
Free time with parents and family
One of the joys of your child becoming a teen is learning what you have in common or watching them develop their own interests. Finding the balance between showing an interest in your child’s activities and being ‘too involved’ can be tricky. Try to remember that teens are particularly fond of their privacy and independence.
 
Activities with you
Spending time on a one-on-one basis with one or both parents is important for children. Going to an occasional movie together, or even having a quick meal or a drink in a café can make them feel special.Here are some suggestions on other activities for sharing free time with your teen:
  • Seeing a movie you will both like
  • Listening to music together at home or going to a concert
  • Going to a sports game or activity together
  • Going away for a weekend to an event, such as a show or an exhibition
  • Cooking together
  • Going out for a meal together
  • Shopping together, make a day of it and go for lunch or a juice together
Activities for the whole family
Some activities the entire family can enjoy include:
  • Having a family-friendly DVD night
  • Having a picnic
  • Playing a favourite game or activity at a local park, such as soccer or having a game of rounders
  • Planning a special meal with everyone helping to prepare it
  • Planning a holiday or a camping trip
  • Going hill walking
  • Going cycling
  • Walking the dog
Free time with friends
Your teen will also want to do things with his friends. It’s important to agree on some ground rules before hand to help keep your child safe when he’s out and about.What information do you need about where your child is going, what are they doing and who are they with? Can she ring you if her plans change?
 
Money 
Often, the activities your child is interested will cost money. You may want to talk to your child about what activities you will agree to pay for, how often and to what value. You could also talk to your teen about pocket money or perhaps getting a part-time job if they are old enough?
 
Screen time 
Screen time is the time your teen spends either watching TV, surfing the internet, playing computer games and using a mobile phone. A balanced and healthy lifestyle for the whole family should limit daily screen time, and set a routine for when screen time finishes each evening. Hold a family meeting and negotiate about screen time during the school week, on weekends and in the holidays.
 
 

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