Last week I wrote a list of suggested activities you could introduce into your son’s life that might encourage him to more readily unplug. Today I thought I’d do a list for the girls. Only the merest hint of pink I promise. Many on this list will also be of interest to boys but I know some will more readily resonate with your girls.
It can be almost impossible to tear a teen girl away from her mobile device and social media clan. Used as the digital form of the local milk bar, shopping centre or school playground, it is now where they choose to define themselves; both emotionally, physically and sometimes spiritually. I encourage you to take some time to read the article by Ethan Rosenberg (a teen himself when written) in Forbes magazine on why kids feel an overwhelming, sometimes compulsive need to stay connected and how he kicked the habit. A link to the article is below.
Meantime, here are some ideas:
- Suggest she think of her favourite fragrance and then have a go at making some soy candles using that scent. It’s easier and cheaper than you think. There are some great instructional videos on the Internet like this one. The video is a bit of a waffle for the first minute but then they get stuck into it.
- Invest in a basic science kit and let her at it. Starter kits will cost you around the $40 mark.
- Suggest she pull something apart and put it back together again. At my daughter’s school, in Year 11, they pull a car apart and put it back together again. All the girls LOVE this form of learning. Obviously it doesn’t need to be on such a grand scale in your own home. Old toasters, cameras or radios will do and are generally easy to find at garage sales or kerbside during council clean ups.
- At least 3-4 times a week, have your daughter take the dog for a walk. Not just around the block. Instead, give her a few poop bags and tell her you don’t want to see her for at least 40 minutes. If you don’t have a dog, have one of her mates come over and together they can head out. Sadly, I still have to subscribe to the view that it’s safer if girls travel in packs. Hopefully that will change one day.
- Suggest that she write a book or short story. If she enjoys drawing, she could also illustrate it.
- Encourage her to join the local touch footy team. Not only is it great exercise, she’ll get to meet new people outside her normal social circle or cohort which can be a positive thing. And if she joins a mixed team, it’s a nice way to meet some boys
- If she is starting to get into makeup she could have a go at making her own. Doing so is like a mini lesson in chemistry. She’ll also learn about some of the nasties that go into most commercial makeups and how to avoid them. Again, there are many simple instructional videos available on the internet.
- Invite a friend over, build a fort in the back garden or up small tree. Then together they could make a pizza and eat it out in the fort which they could also sleep in overnight.
- Together, set a reading challenge for her that is achievable. It might be one book a week, or a month, or every few days if your daughter is a bookworm. If not, a reward chart might be handy here. Slowly, slowly will win this race if she’s not a natural reader.
- Encourage her to invite five friends to dinner. She could send out formal invites including a dress code, devise a menu and then cook the meal herself or with her friends, which can be great fun. Suggest that she pay you or your partner to be waiter for the night for the full effect.
- Pick a craft and master it. I hear knitting is all the rage. Or you could suggest she has a go at something old-fashioned like making an upside down doll. Again, there are instructions on the Internet and also kits you can buy rather than sourcing the individual components of the doll.
- If they have access to a body of water encourage them to spend an afternoon fishing or kayaking.
- She could start a business venture. Babysitting, a regular lemonade stand, car-washing, dog walking, watering the garden of a neighbour when they go on holidays, selling their soy candles (see No. 1) at a garage sale or flea market are all good options.
- Start a veggie patch. Research and then design the patch (which doesn’t have to be on a grand scale), choose the seeds or seedlings, plant and tend them and then make something for dinner from the first bounty.
- Insist that once a month she cleans her room from top to toe. This includes going through her school bag and her wardrobe. Have her bag any clothes or shoes that no longer fit and take them to your local charity bin.
- Start a found collection from nature or simply spend an afternoon indulging in some nature art.
Here’s the Forbes article mentioned above.
What’s your go-to activity to get girls to unplug?
Until next time…
For more ideas and tips on finding wonder in the everyday and getting your kids to unplug, consider buying my new book. You can purchase it via the link in my sidebar above, or at all good bookstores and online and as an e-book. For interview opportunities please contact Jackie Evans on 0407 776 222 or firstname.lastname@example.org