We have been very purposeful to create space and activities in our home for teens, so that our teens would invite their friends to hang out here. I vividly remember a conversation Todd and I had a few years ago about what we could do to make our home “teen friendly.” We made a list and got to work, and it has paid off.
Welcome Them In
I love seeing teens walk through our front door, and I make sure I make eye contact and welcome them in. I want every person who enters our home to feel cared for and this starts with a genuine greeting.
Create A Space Just For Them
Our basement is the designated space we have created for teens in our home. We finished our basement about 10 years ago when we first moved in, but just recently updated it to be a space where teens would thrive. We added a table for games, comfy couches, a TV for movies and video games, and a ping-pong table. We painted and added touches of decor that were simple, modern and would appeal to teens. I will feature our basement in an upcoming post.
Let Them Breathe
Yes, getting to know the teens in our home is important, but so is giving them space…lots of space! I know when I was a teen, I loved the presence of my friends parents in their homes, it made me feel safe, but I did not necessarily want them hanging out with us all of the time. Teens are all about learning how to live independently, and Todd and I work really hard at the balance of being present without being all up in their space!
Make Them a Snack
Teens palates are some of my favorite. I can make them popcorn or just set out chips and salsa, and they are happy. I like to keep ingredients for special sweet treats on hand for when a group shows up unexpected. I love using teens in my home as an excuse to make something sweet that we don’t normally have around.
These no bake Funky Fritos are an example and always a hit with teens and so simple to throw together.
Salty Sweet Peanut Butter Caramel Funky Fritos
Teens are loud. They just are. They like music and laughter and talking over each other. Our home is older and their noise drifts up our vents and we find ourselves turning the volume up on our own upstairs television. We find ourselves chuckling when the laughter is continuous. It’s contagious!
Have A Variety Of Things For Them To Do
Like I said above, we have the typical options for teens, like movies and video games. Our ping-pong table is pretty popular, too. We also made sure we added a table that seats at least 6 to encourage interaction and board game playing. Healthy and fun interaction is key to getting teens into our home and having such a positive experience that they keep coming back.
A new game we have that is great for teens is called Escape Room: The Game. I’m sure you have heard of The Escape Room, and now the excitement can be had right in your own home!
There are various themes within the game –Prison Break, Nuclear Countdown, Virus, Temple of the Aztec. Players have 60 minutes to work together, find hidden clues and to solve puzzles to escape from one of the 4 included rooms. To make their escape, players must correctly enter a four key combination into the Chrono Decoder. They must think quick — the clock is ticking!
My nephews recently tested it out and had a fun time putting their heads together to figure out how to escape. I’m happy to report there were no knives involved in the “Prison Break” even though one of our guys is a young entrepreneur and creates high-quality knives!
The game is challenging and takes teamwork and logic. It is for ages 16 and up. Phones can be used in a positive way, as a flashlight, calculator, or for note-taking. You can enhance the game experience by downloading the free Escape Room app on iPhone or Android for thematic background music and to share a photo of their team. You can purchase your own Escape Room here.
Get To Know Them
My 3 teens all have very different personalities from each other. I love their differences, and the friends they invite over all have their own unique personalities, too. It has been so much fun for us to get to know their friends and I am very purposeful responding to each personality that comes into our home in a way that makes them feel most comfortable.
Keep It Simple
Teens are the most forgiving of guests. They don’t care if your house isn’t perfectly clean. They are just fine if you just serve them ice water or use paper plates. They don’t notice or care if you decide to get comfy and throw your sweats on even though you have guests. They can sit with a fun board game and make it extra exciting just because they are teens. Don’t have a ping pong table? Don’t worry…teens are great at entertaining themselves.
Todd and I are well aware of just how quickly time goes by. We cannot believe our 3 teens are now 13, 15 and 17! We are really proud of them, their cousins, & the friends they chose to hang out with–yes, we are even proud of our two oldest girls’ boyfriends! They are great young men. We are so glad we made the decision to create space in our home for teens. We are holding onto every memory made in our home and are trying not to blink!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.