“Life is more fun if you play games (with your teens)!“–Roald Dahl
This is so true, and we are going to help you out this season to find some really great games to play with your teens!
Many people think that they only have time to play games on vacation or at the holidays. Unfortunately, we fall into that group a lot of the time. But, when we do take the time to actually play a game, it is always so fun!
Have fun with your teens with Game Night!
And, let’s face it, time with our teens is so precious. We know that the times that they are with us is limited. They leave for college, and are home for vacations less and less. Also, even when they are still living under our roof, they get busier and busier with school and work. Plus, there are real benefits for everyone if you do this!
So, my resolution for time going forward, is that we are going to try to play a game on those weekends when my boys are randomly home from college, or when we are just bored and turn on the t.v. for another binge watching session. I know we will be glad once we have done this!
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“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game!“–Michael Jordan
Here is the list of games to play with your teens that we have put together for you. Some we have played, some have been recommended to us, and some look too great to not mention! *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
Password (This is the original version) I have many great memories of family and friends playing this hilarious game! You can play it so many different ways, and each way is fun! Here is the travel version.
Pick Your Poison -a modern day version of “Would you rather?” Super fun for all ages, and the answers just might surprise.
“Spending time as a family is not a matter of convenience, it is a matter of priority.“–unknown, but true!!
Trivial Pursuit -This is an oldie, but a goodie. Always fun to see what your people know-or not! There are so many versions, but the original is always a good choice. Here is the Harry Potter version and the Back to the 80s Stranger Things version. Quelf: Obey the Card This game is sooooo much fun! You have to obey the card, and the commands can be super silly. The last time we played this, we laughed so hard. It is a more active game, and great for all ages–I’d say 12 and up.
“Some games are fun even when you lose. Even when you know you are going to lose before you start. It’s fun just playing them.“–Nevil Shute
Sequence This is such a fun card game! It combines a board with a card game. It involves strategy, and can be played individually or with teams.
Wits and Wagers Questions, guesses and bets. Great multi-generational game with all sorts of crazy questions and answers. I have only played this once at a friend’s house, but we had a great time!
“We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.“–unknown
Spontuneous Do your kids quote movies or song lyrics like crazy? Then this is the game for them! Words are given, and then the race is one to blurt out a song with that word in it. You don’t have to sing, so no talent is required! I think that my teens will love this one.
Goat Lords This sounds like a crazy fun game. The goal is to become the Goat Lord. The way to do this is to have the biggest herd of goats (cards) at the end of the game. There is much magic and dueling involved!
“Families that play together, stay together.“–unknown
Taboo This game will make you laugh so much. Get your teammate to guess the word, but the trick is to not use certain words which makes this challenging. This is fun to play with big family groups or friends. Here is the Midnight version, for older teens and adults.
Apples to Apples Our boys love this game. We’ve played for hours with their cousins and my sisters. Some very funny red apple cards have been thrown down to describe the green apple card. Their is also a junior version and a Disney version!
I hope you enjoy playing some of these games with your teens soon!
Holidays are a great time for good family fun. Let me know if you have any favorites that I didn’t list. I can always add more later!
I wrote a book about having conversations with your teens.
It has been a life long dream of mine to write a book. When I was young, and I loved reading the Little House books, I thought that I would write a story about a pioneer family. Well, it turns out that I have a lot to say about parenting teens. So, I wrote about having conversations with your teens to help them figure out life.
Have you got a teen or two in your house? For awhile, we had three teenage boys. Our oldest is now in his 20s, and we have survived so far. One thing that we have used in our parenting journey is conversation. Lots of talking. Here’s a link to another post, 5 Ways to Improve Communication With Your Teen.
College Bound came about as a way for me to give back to other parents. My husband and I struggled to find our way parenting our teens with no real road map in our hands. There is no “what to expect” when your teen is 13 or 15 or 18….! We stumbled onto a system of having regular conversations with our teens. It has really worked for each of our boys, and they are all as different as they can be. *This post may contain affiliate links. This means , at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
Grab the Conversation freebies here! I realized since publishing my book that I left out the questions and conversation starters for the end of each conversation-ugggh! So, here is a link to that list of questions.
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Did we use magic?
Many of you might scratch your head and wonder how it is that we got our teenage boys to talk. It was not magic, if that’s what you’re wondering. We started these “talks” when the boys were younger, always around the time that their grades arrived home. This occurred about every six weeks. You too, can talk to your teens.
The beauty of this system was that it happened regularly. The boys knew that when their grades came home, we would soon be setting up a time to meet with each of them one-on-one. (And, just so you know, our expectations were that they get all As and Bs. The occasional C was only ok if they were trying their hardest in a subject that was hard for them.) They knew that whether or not we were pleased with their grades, a meeting would occur. It was amazing how many times we had to tell them to do better in school-still do to this day! It was a good and regular interval of time to have these conversations. Our teens could talk about all sorts of things that were going on in their lives at that particular time in their lives.
Keep in mind that my husband and I are not parenting experts. Far from it. However, we have gotten one kid out of his teens and into his senior year of college. Another is into his sophomore year of college, and our baby is entering high school. This has been a fun, but challenging journey. I hope that some of what has worked for us will work for you!
I broke College Bound into 14 conversations. They range in topics from setting up a college budget, obtaining letters of recommendation, contacting colleges with questions to finding scholarships, and more. Each chapter covers a conversation, why each is important, different things to think about, and how to talk about each topic.
There are many other conversations with your teens that need to occur, but for the sake of the book, these topics were the ones I felt were the most important when thinking about college and life prep.
Will these topics matter if my child decides not to attend college?
Yes. All of these topics matter because if your child decides to go into the military, get a job, or go to trade school a resume will always be a good thing to leave high school with. Grades and test scores will matter. Maybe not to the degree as getting into college, but the real world is competitive.
The better your teen looks coming out of high school compared to the next guy who is applying for the same program, the better their chances for getting that job or higher rank or whatever!
A lot of it is common sense. When we first started out in these teen years with our oldest, the amount of things that we did not know was overwhelming. This book was born out of frustration with not knowing what to ask or even who to ask about parenting teens. Counselors at high schools are awesome, but totally overworked. They are also usually trying to help those kids with no support systems in place.
It seemed like other parents had the same questions as we had. So, between my husband and I, we started researching and asking questions to anyone who looked like they might have an answer. I read books, Googled a lot of things, and we both asked parents with older teens what had worked for them.
Have lots of conversations with your teens!
We talked with our kids a lot. Note the use of “with” and not “to”. Of course, there were times that we did talk to our kids, but we really wanted to engage them in conversation. There were times that it seemed like our conversations were going nowhere fast, but then one of the boys would make a decision that made sense. Or one of them would tell us something that gave us a glimpse into the fact that maybe we were making some sort of headway into this parenting thing.
Parenting teens is NOT for the faint of heart. It takes consistency, patience, and stamina to say the least. Remember that many, if not all, of these conversations will need to take place gradually. Start where you are.
If none of these topics have been discussed before, then choose one. Talk with your spouse or significant other first to make sure you are in agreement or at least know where you each stand. Teens are super smart and will be able to tell if you guys are not of the same mind. They will use this to their advantage every time, so be prepared!
Do not try to talk about all of this at once! Have discussions a little at a time, and spread them out. It would be really easy to overwhelm both you and your teen.
The key is to just start.
Just because your teen might not be talking to you at this moment, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start these conversations. Try to find some common ground. Call a truce. Talk about starting this in the context of making plans. Most teens are wanting to talk about the future, they are feeling lots of mixed emotions. They are scared, excited, overwhelmed, and usually have many questions if given the right situation.
These conversations with your teens are for them to start the process of preparing to leave your home. These are all topics that need to be covered in most situations. Set some goals together. Make the time. Remember not to lecture, but have discussions. Let your teen talk and ask questions. Try not to interrupt.
My teen thinks that they know it all.
I feel your pain. Have them do some research about the thing or things that they are trying to convince you of. This has worked for us, a lot. We had one son, who really thought he knew a lot about a lot. He is super smart, but through his research online and asking around, he realized that maybe we knew a few things as well. This was something that we let him discover over time on his own.
We also have learned so much about parenting teens. Our teens were smarter and more responsible than we had given them credit for. Patience was something that we had to use in all of these conversations. We learned how and when to shelf a discussion for later without everyone getting mad–not always, but most of the time. There is also the fact that our teens have so much going on in their lives, that they really appreciated these times to debrief and make plans.
Try to have some conversations with your teens!
Set up a time to have a conversation with your teen. Let them know when and why you are wanting to do this. Tell them that there will be time for them to talk about things that they want to talk about as well. Start out short and sweet. See what works, and what doesn’t. Each child and each conversation will be different. Take notes. Try again soon. Grab my book, College Bound now!
You will hopefully find that your relationship with your teen will improve. It won’t always be great, but in general, your kids will talk more in every day situations than they used to. They will have more questions. They want to plan for their own future, and you will find out that it is really fun to do this! Grab my three freebies for this system here. They are:
1. Template for keeping notes from each conversation.
2. Conversation starters.
3. Tips for success when starting this plan.
There may be more going on with your teen than you think. Talking with them will hopefully help to bridge that gap, if there is one, between you and your teen. If there is more going on than you can handle, here is the link to a good post about your teen and drugs. If you think that your teen may be depressed, check out this link for more information.
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Do you have a high schooler? Or a middle schooler and you are wondering what to expect the next few years? I am here to help. My high school survival kit for parents is a labor of love. It’s all the things that I wished we would have had when our older kids went through high school. Read on to find out more about what to expect, and I hope that this can help!
High school with your child is like riding a roller coaster.
Some days you feel like all is well. Then, one day your kid comes home and is freaking out over grades, friends or maybe just really despondent over any number of things. The range of emotions a family goes through can be intense and overwhelming at times. So, strap on your seatbelt, you’re in for a ride!
*This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
Let’s start at the beginning, before high school starts.
Transitioning from middle school to high school is an exciting time for everyone. You, as a parent, feel a little proud that your child is starting high school. I know I was! Your teen is growing up and you know the next four years are going to be challenging.
Looking back on high school, (hopefully, yours was a good experience), you know it’s about to get interesting. Before each of my boys started, I was really interested in waiting to see how each of my sons was going to navigate it all. If your kids are anything like mine were, your child is probably excited, but at the same time anxious as this is the time when many things can, and will, change.
Maybe some friends are going to a different school. That sense of security can be gone for some, and the thought of starting a new school without their best friend is frightening. And then, of course, there is actually starting school and handling all the new expectations and coursework because now grades count towards college acceptance!
My shoulders just tighten up thinking about all the things high school kids have to do. I also remember thinking, what am I supposed to do? How can I help?
Well, I survived it as did my boys (at least 2 so far). And, you will too. But, knowing what I know now, I wish I had been better equipped. That’s why I have created a survival kit for parents.
Your high school counselors may say, it’s time to start letting go and let your child “figure it out”.
Believe me, I agree with this philosophy with a BUT. My opinion is that our kids are inundated with school work, extra-curricular activities, jobs, a social life etc.
So, I do think they need to “figure it out”, but with some over-arching guidance. Not that we do the work, but have an open conversation with your child about what needs to happen concurrently. At the end of high school, there will be questions asked by colleges and scholarships such as: “What did you do during your high school experience?”, “Did you play sports, play an instrument, volunteer, have a job?”, “What are your hobbies?” etc.
The blog post I wrote to accompany the book, with a few freebies is here!
High school survival kit for parents
If you’re a freshman parent, you’re in a perfect position to start tracking now. If you’re a senior parent, don’t worry, download your survival kit and start writing down what you and your child remember.
Why? Well, if your child decides to pursue college, the above information will be asked on college and scholarship applications. If your child is applying for a job, similar questions will be asked. Two great scholarship systems for help in knowing what to do and where to start are here and here!
To Do List – A list of 7 items to accomplish over the school year.
Activity/Volunteer Tracker- Begin writing down ALL the activities your child participates in school, volunteer hours or anything “extra”.
Potential Colleges- begin exploring potential colleges or vo-tech programs. Why do they sound interesting?
A Yearly Calendar- Each kit comes with a yearly calendar to keep track of school/family activities. There is a space to write down a goal for the month and helpful suggestions each month.
Parents, all of these are available for FREE. Click here to download your specific grade or download them ALL. I wish I had this information when my older boys were going through high school. I would have felt more organized and secure knowing I was helping them be prepared to apply to college or their first job.
Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter below for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!
What I’m learning and loving in the month of May, “Smart Parents” is a series that I’m continuing. I will talk about a few things that I am learning and loving in my life right now. This may include recipes, books, movies and gadgets, etc. Here are some ideas for parents in May. Please know that I am thinking of you in these hard days, and will try to find fun and useful things to share with you each month!
(Here are the posts for March and April) Let me know what you are learning and loving so that I can add that to future posts! Without further ado, here are my ideas for parents in May. *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
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What is mindfulness? Everyone talks about it…
mind·ful·ness (according to Oxford)
the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
One of our all time favorites! We just watched it again as a family the other night, Secondhand Lions. If somehow you have missed this- you must watch! A great coming of age film about a boy who is basically dumped with 2 great uncles that he doesn’t even know. Great stories come from these two old curmudgeons played by Robert Duvall and Michael Caine. The boy is played by Haley Joel Osment in his younger days.
This was written by a 16 year old! Here are some things that he says in the description…
“During these past few years, I’ve learned a lot and executed and implemented like crazy. I’ve also made plenty of mistakes, and figured out workarounds and solutions to them. This book is not just a guide for how you can start making money on the side, but also a blueprint of ideas for you to expand upon.
While I cannot guarantee you any results, these exact methods have worked very well for me, and I am giving you every tip, trick, tool, technique and tactic I’ve learned and used, so that it can help you on your own journey.“
I think that this would be a great book for any teen to read and get ideas.
I usually only choose one book, but I wanted to share this amazing idea that these authors have for a great cause.
22 authors have a common goal.
They would like to raise $100k for veteran’s charities, specifically, Southeastern Guide Dogs and the Gary Sinise Foundation. It is a thriller and sci-fi genre, and they are putting out a mega box set. It is on pre-order and drops the 22nd of May, which is the start of Memorial Day weekend. They are trying to raise as much as possible, and they have set the price at $9.99, which is very reasonable for this size of book set. It is available in Kindle.
Thermal laminator machine with clear pouches for laminating. I never in a million years thought that I would use this as much as I have. I got it for my classroom, but I have used it at home for things like laminating our car insurance cards and a couple of pictures for family. It’s small and really easy to use!
I am a top blog for parenting teens! And, how you can help all bloggers…
Wow! Thanks to all of you who have been with me from the start! I have been working so hard to get my little blog off the ground since December 2016! I have been chosen by Feedspot as a top 30 blog for parenting teens, there are some amazing blogs on this list, and I feel so honored! There are some amazing blogs on this list! I want to let you know how this all happened and how you can help me move forward as a top blog for parenting teens🙂 *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
How did I get started?
My journey began as a conversation a few years ago when my friend, Ann, came back to Missouri for a visit. We both mentioned plans we had, and blogging was a possibility mentioned by both of us. We started a series of conversations, and here we are now! (Since this post, I, Mel, am now on my own.)
Neither of us had ANY idea what we were doing, and today, I still don’t know it all, but boy do I know a lot more! I have taken courses, listened to experts, listened to many webinars, and mostly just worked through a lot of hours trying out new things.
For a 50+ woman, I feel very proud of myself. I have learned WordPress, Canva, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and so many other things. I am by NO MEANS an expert on any of these things, but if you knew how far I have come, you would be proud of me too!
One subject that Ann and I kept circling around to was the fact that when we first had teenagers, we had no idea what to do with or about them. There are so many facets to parenting teens: social media, discipline, college and/or life prep, first jobs, dating, the list goes on and on. That is why we picked parenting teens. We wanted to be able to help other parents who were searching for answers.
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How does the work get done?
I write, post on Facebook, make pins for Pinterest, and write weekly emails a little at a time each day depending on my family’s schedule! My family is very patient with me, and I have found that some things can be done while we are all just hanging around together anyway!
How can you support a blogger?
I get this question a lot. Here are some answers, they apply to any blog that you follow.
If you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase within 24 hours, then I get a small commission from them. I will never know who it was that made the purchase, but I will know how much is spent because of the amount that I might earn.
I also have a few other affiliate links. It is the same story. You might have a longer time to make a purchase, but again, I will not know who you are, just that a purchase was made within the window of time set by that company.
Share my information! If it’s a post on Facebook or a blog post or a newsletter from me or anything, share away. I really appreciate it! Like me on any and all platforms and leave comments. Any engagement helps my statistics.
Thank you for reading, listening, supporting, giving me ideas to write about, and for just being there! I love getting emails from you guys with ideas and encouragement. Here’s my email: email@example.com
Ask me questions, send me links or ideas. You are what makes me better and better!