Preventing Teen Boredom Can Prevent Teen Medicine Abuse

Every month, we keep you informed on the latest studies and research on teen development in our “Not My Teen” blog series. Today, we’re drawing from a recent article from Well Family that shows parents some ways they can keep their teens entertained (and away from risky behaviors) over the holiday break.

Sleeping in, eating cookies, and (probably too much) screen time are all pretty standard parts of a teen’s holiday break from school. Substance abuse, however, should not be. Several days off from school increases a teen’s likelihood of getting bored and getting into dangerous situations with their also-bored friends. In fact, researchers have found that boredom is one of the leading reasons teens get into risky behaviors like underage drinking and medicine abuse.

To prevent boredom and, by proxy, prevent medicine abuse, you should encourage your teen to make better use of their time while they’re off from school. A recent article from VeryWell Family offered up 50 Fun Things for Teens to Do This Winter that you can suggest to your teen. Whether your teen is an introvert or extrovert, athletic or not so much, there’s surely something on this list they would happily occupy their time with.

Outdoor Activities

  • Go ice skating.
  • Go sledding.
  • Go downhill cross-country skiing.
  • Build a snowman.
  • Build a snow fort.
  • Have a snowball fight.
  • Go on a winter hike.
  • Go ice fishing.
  • Go snow tubing.
  • Play pond hockey.
  • Shovel snow for someone in need.
  • Go winter camping as a family and learn survival skills.
  • Hold a bonfire and let your teen invite friends over.
  • Go snowshoeing.
  • Go star gazing.
  • Go on a winter photo scavenger hunt.
  • Host a snow sculpture competition.

Indoor Activities

  • Learn how to do a new craft every week.
  • Take turns picking online workout videos to do together as a family.
  • Cook a meal as a family with each member in charge of a different course.
  • Read one book every week.
  • Join a book club (or start one).
  • Go to an indoor water park.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Learn card tricks (or magic tricks).
  • Attend yoga classes.
  • Plan a family vacation.
  • Clean out clothes and household goods that are no longer wanted and donate them to charity or sell them online.
  • Go swimming at an indoor pool.
  • Take an art class.
  • Join a gym.
  • Watch a play.
  • Visit a museum.

Activities Involving Friends

  • Hold a board game or video game tournament.
  • Host a movie marathon.
  • Hold a slumber party.
  • Participate in a fundraiser with friends.

Activities That Teach Important Life Skills

  • Start a small business.
  • Babysit.
  • Volunteer to read to younger children at the library.
  • Build a website.
  • Volunteer at your community food pantry, soup kitchen, or church.
  • Practice budgeting skills.
  • Take an online class.
  • Visit a college.
  • Job shadow a professional.
  • Plan a digital detox.
  • Start filling out scholarship applications.
  • Start a family challenge, like a weight loss challenge.

List adapted from VeryWell Family.

Along with following our blog, you can stay updated on new studies and trends in teen behavior, advice for keeping teens away from risky behaviors, general teen parenting tips, and more by keeping up with the Stop Medicine Abuse initiative on Facebook and Twitter.

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