Perhaps you woke up one morning recently and realized your child is now a typical teenager. When they were younger, spending quality time during the holiday season was a breeze. You could take a trip to the mall to visit Santa, watch The Grinch or decorate cookies, build a snowman together or even trim the tree with little or no resistance. Ah, the good old days.  Now, what used to be simple holiday pleasures comes with eye rolls, sarcasm, competing social events and of course, cell phone distractions.
They’re growing up so fast- there’s no way you want to let this winter break fly by without some much-needed quality time together. Here are some creative tips:

  1. Turn off the electronic devices– If you can do nothing else, do your best to get your teen to put away their phone for family time. Explain to your teen the importance of spending time together during the holidays, and how you’d like them to be fully present for the fun stuff. Ask them to put their phones on airplane mode for a few hours during activities together.  This goes for you too!  Remember that the more you can involve them with the planning of these activities, the more likely they’ll appreciate the value and comply.
  2. Go for a drive to see holiday lights– Here’s a twist on a classic parenting hack: car rides are a great way to strike a conversation with your teenager. During the holidays you have a fun reason to hit the road- to see festive holiday lights. You could drive through your own neighborhood or elsewhere to see which neighbors put on the best display. Your teen may even be up for Denver’s Lights Extravaganzas.
  3. Volunteer together– One of the best ways to spread holiday cheer is through volunteering. Local senior centers often seek volunteers during the holidays to serve meals or spend time with elderly who do not have visiting family. Organizations like the Salvation Army and Meals on Wheels, or your local church may also have volunteer opportunities during the holiday season.
  4. Get active outdoors– No teen is ever “too old” or “too cool” for the outdoors. With the winter months come more snow and colder weather. Skiing, sledding, hiking, snow-shoeing and ice skating are all fun activities that bring together people of all ages, especially during the holidays.
  5. Bake together– If decorating holiday cookies just doesn’t cut it anymore, maybe it’s time to get experimental in the kitchen with desserts. Ask your teen to look up a new holiday dessert recipe on Pinterest and see if you two have what it takes to avoid an epic #pinterestfail

If you ever have a question about your children’s health and wellness, want to schedule a check-up, or are looking for a Denver-area pediatrician and want to learn more about our practice at Mountainland Pediatrics, call us at 303-430-0823 or visit