Have you ever asked your teen what they’re interested in, only to get noncommittal answers or a shrug of their shoulders? This is pretty common, and it doesn’t mean your student doesn’t have anything they care about. It usually just means they haven’t had enough experiences to know what they like and what they don’t!
So how can you help your student figure out their interests and passions? There are tons of ways to encourage them to try new things. We’ve rounded up a bunch of ideas in three different categories to help you brainstorm ways to help your teen.
New places are full of new experiences and ideas. You never know what you’ll learn or who you’ll meet. And while going new places often means “travel extensively abroad,” we definitely don’t think that’s the case - you can find new places to experience right near you.
Here are some ways to go new places with your teen:
It’s hard to overstate just how many great benefits there are to volunteering. Your teen can learn about new issues or types of work, start gaining practical skills, and meet new people - all while doing some good in the world.
Here’s how to help your teen volunteer - or even volunteer with them!
Volunteering is an all-around win for everyone involved, so see what options motivate your teen.
After a long day at school, your teen might not want to learn anything else - so you’ll have to make it fun. Choose something completely different from what they do in any of their classes, and let them take the lead.
Here are a few ways to learn something new with your teen:
After reading this list, you might be thinking, “These sound awesome, but there’s no way my teen will do any of this willingly!” You might be right, but you also might be surprised at how easily you can coax your student into trying something new.
To best do this, remember not to force it. Your student needs to feel independent and mature, and prescribing what they’ll do and how they’ll do it is likely to backfire. Give them options, and rope them into your planning.
For example, if you’re planning a day trip to a nearby city, recruit your teen to plan it. Give them a time frame and a budget, and let them decide what you’ll do and when. They’ll need to find directions, plan for parking, choose an activity, decide what to do about food, and all sorts of other things. This process alone will teach them a lot!
It can be tough to get your teen to expand their horizons, but with a little encouragement from you, you just might see them come out of their shell. Give them independence and control over what they do - try not to force it! A little push toward something new could turn into a brand new hobby, volunteer role, or even a full-fledged career path.
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