Top 10 Simple Ways to Engage Your Teens


Whether you’re Amish or not, your role with your kids changes as they grow older. They spend less time with you, and more time with their friends. The siren call of technology, hormones, and the in-crowd creates powerful suction to pull your kids away from the family . . . and from God.

What can you do, as parents? Yes, you definitely can pray for your kids and claim scripture such as Philippians 1:6 for them.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ESV

But you can also do hands-on, practical things to keep communication open and the family strong.

Nicole O’Dell is an author, mom of six, and leader of Choose NOW ministries. She has a passion for seeing kids (and their parents!) make wise choices. Here are her top ten simple ways to engage your teens.

  1. Games: Family game night is a great way to spend time together without turning on the TV. Also play games when your kids have friends over. It’s pretty likely, based on statistics, that your teen’s friends crave that kind of attention.
  2. Crafts: I’m not talking about preschool snowmen or paper dolls. There are some really cool things you could do together to repurpose or salvage old furniture, make light fixtures, decorate windows. You can get great inspiration from Pinterest!
  3. Hobbies: Learn something together. Teens love those cute beanie hats—why not learn to crochet and help your teen make some for her friends? Crocheting, knitting, and embroidery are just a few hobbies that offer lots of talking time.
  4. Photography: Take a class together on how to take great pictures and then get outside to find some cool shots. Have photo sessions with each other or other members of the family. This is another activity where you can engage your teen’s friends.
  5. Exercise: What about an exercise challenge? Teens love to show their parents up! 🙂
  6. Nature: Get outside by taking walks, biking, swimming, backpacking, geocaching, beachcombing…the list is endless
  7. Cook: Does your teen like to eat? One not work your way through a cookbook together?
  8. Garden: A garden is a great way to make a commitment to something worthwhile and then see the results come to pass. Your teen will feel a connection with you and a sense of accomplishment. If you already garden, consider a new patch where the two of you grow something new.
  9. Spa day: Use household items to do facials and manicures/pedicures for each other. Sure, you could go to a spa and let the pros do the work, but think how much more chatting and bonding you will do by serving each other!
  10. Give back: Find something you and your teens can do together to help others. Give time at a soup kitchen or shelter. Make meals for sick people. Shop for a family in crisis.

There’s more, though. Not only do you want your kids to keep talking to you, you want them to keep talking to God and become Christ-centered adults. Sometimes you feel alone and desperate to find ways to keep that connection alive.


May I introduce Powerline365 by Nicole O’Dell?

Nicole has created a multi-format devo-a-day for parents of teens and tweens. You can sign up to have it come straight to your inbox every day for a year. Not only that, it will be available in e-book, paperback, hardcover, and (hopefully) audio down the road.

Powerline365 is currently being crowd-funded at Indiegogo. Would you consider partnering with Nicole to help parents of teens stay plugged into the true Source, enabling them to power-parent?

You can sign yourself up, or gift a subscription to parents you know. As crowd-funded campaigns go, there are various levels in which you can participate. Bless others with a group study pack for the parents of your church’s youth group. Ask your church to host a weekend parenting conference.

My kids are grown now with little ones of their own. I truly wish I’d had a resource like this 15 years ago. Amish parents have a community to support them and their young people. Powerline365 can help provide that for your family.

Will you help make this available to parents of tomorrow’s generation? All the details for #powerline365 are right here.


Nicole O’Dell, author of 23 books since 2007, founder of Choose NOW Ministries, host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk, publisher at Choose NOW Publishing, and a national Christian event speaker, brings messages of hope to women, parents, teens, and tweens. The mother of six (including one adult, two teens, and preschool triplets) writes issue-driven YA fiction like her popular Diamond Estates Series and upcoming Drama Ensues series, and non-fiction for teens like Girl Talk, based on the popular advice column she writes with her two daughters. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s Focus-on-the-Family approved non-fiction series for parents, pre-empts peer pressure by helping parents tackle tough issues.

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Valerie Comer (21 Posts)

Valerie Comer is a fiction author and a blogger where food meets faith. She and her husband of over 30 years farm, garden, and keep bees on a small farm in Western Canada, where they grow much of their own food, preserving vast amounts of it by canning, freezing, and dehydrating. She believes taking good care of both the planet and her family is an act of worship and thankfulness to God the Creator. Valerie writes farm fresh romance such as Raspberries and Vinegar (Choose NOW Publishing—August 2013) as a natural offshoot of her passions.


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