Quarantining is starting to get a little old for a lot of us, and there’s no end in sight right now. As parents of teens and tweens who are used to staying busy with school, sports, and activities, we are struggling to find ways to connect with our big kids while keeping them off their screens for 18 hours a day.

I sent an S.O.S. message out to my fellow parents of tweens and teens and asked how they are spending their days. While yes, there is a lot of time spent watching movies and playing board games, I loved some of the responses I received.

1. Ancestry.com is a great way to bond with your older kids and talk about your family tree.

It’s like a treasure hunt to piece the chart together and discover things you never knew about your descendants. It’s also a great way to keep connected to the older relatives in your family. Set up a group email for your teen so they can ask questions or clarify names, or have them facetime the grandparents with updates.

2. Do a new workout together.

There are so many free fitness programs available right now for download. Set aside some time for family yoga, kickboxing or maybe even a little Zumba. Added bonus: it may fulfill their physical education workout for the day.

3. Ask them what their favorite meal is you make, and cook that together.

Write down the ingredients needed and specific step-by-step instructions so they can do it on their own at a later date.

4. Make a TikTok together.

Wondering what their obsession is about but never had the time to care? Now is a great time to learn about the tech and social media your child uses—and they might have some new respect for your old moves.

5. Read a book of their choice and discuss it. 

Then they have to read a book of your choice. Bonus points if you listen to the book together using a service like Audible.

6. Build playlists.

Have each person in your family build a playlist of their top 10 songs. Each night at dinner, a different playlist is used. It’s a great way to find out more about the music your teen likes and adds to the dinner discussion.

7. Plan a trip.

Research somewhere you want to go, either a day trip or a vacation, and plan it together. Find museums to attend, trails to walk or sights to see. Write it all down on paper. Go a step further and create a bucket list of things you want to do together before they turn 18.

8. Create a photo book of their choice.

Do you and your adolescent have a billion photos on your phones? Now is a good time to create a photo book to record memories.

9. Go to a concert . . . online.

Many musicians are performing virtual performances daily. Find your favorites and listen to them together.

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Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a communications consultant, and blogger. She tries to dispel the myth of being a typical suburban mom although she is often driving her minivan to soccer practices and attending PTA meetings. She writes about parenting, relationships, and w(h)ine on her blog Playdates on Fridays.