Spending time in the outdoors is good for us. We all know it. Unfortunately my tween-age and teenage daughters don’t get out much. Fizz likes us to go for walks, but I can’t do that yet since my foot surgery. Belle says she loves fresh air, but she doesn’t much enjoy our garden.
When my girls were younger they spent hours outside on ride-on toys and on the slide. Later they played on scooters with neighbours, but no this no longer appeals to them. It’s a common teenage problem. It seems more entrenched nowadays with the smartphone and online lifestyle making it harder to get your teenagers into the garden.
Tactic no. 1: a suitable and appealing garden space
The first goal is to have somewhere nice to go. Our garden isn’t very attractive now as the grass is quite soggy, so it’s dying. Next door our neighbours have switched to fake grass. This might be a smart solution to make our lawn usable again. We Brits love nothing more than a good lawn beneath our chequered picnic blankets on a summer’s day; am I right? To encourage wildlife we could add bird feeders, pot plants and climbers.
Teenagers grow to have much more sophisticated tastes so a stylish outdoor space is going to be a winner. Enclose garden seating with tall, lush plants to make a private nook. Make sure your outdoor furniture is cool and appealing. A fun place to sit is irresistible, like hammock or rope-chair. This wooden swing seat would be perfect with some cushions and blankets.
Whatever you set up, don’t forget the importance of shade. Shade is not just for sun protection but also it’s much easier for reading books and (you guessed it) phones. If you haven’t got the time or money to grow plants over a pergola then with a few hooks you can install a triangular sail shade.
Strings of lights and fire pits are fun for after dark. Being responsible with fire is a good skill to learn growing up.
Tactic no. 2: Food and Drink
Teenagers can be easily led by their stomachs (some of us haven’t grown out of that). Once the lawn is fixed up that picnic blanket can be the place you spread out snacks. Eating family meals outside is great if you have a table and chairs. Plate up in the kitchen to save carrying too much outside.
Put the barbeque to good use and teach older kids to light it and cook on it. Or toast marshmallows on a fire pit.
Tactic no. 3 Cool Gadgets and Garden Activities
If you have the space there’s quite a buzz about slack-lining at the moment. This is a tightrope hung low between trees and is a great activity for older kids. Many of us have smaller gardens and there’s not space for proper sport. However swing ball never gets old. For more sitting around ideas, get your teenagers into the garden after dusk to watch a movie. Use an outdoor movie projector screen and multimedia projector. Attach a smartphone and headphones, then your teenager’s movie night won’t disturb the neighbours.
Tactic no. 4: Get your teenagers into the garden with their Friends
The movie night idea above brings me neatly to the subject of friends. Her bedroom may be an almost unsalvageable mess, but I can say to my teen – you can meet your friends in the garden any time you like! The adults will still get to use the living room and the spills and crumbs can feed the garden birds. It’s also a much better place to meet the opposite sex than the bedroom, am I right? I know someone who made the greenhouse into a comfy place for her daughter to meet the boyfriend in all weathers.
Tactic no. 5: Earn Pocket Money
I have a pre-written list of jobs that I will pay my children to do. It’s a good deal on both sides – at least in MY view! I pay a higher rate for strenuous jobs like digging and weeding. It hasn’t tempted my girls to do any gardening yet but maybe it will work for your family.
I do pay for my garden pots to be watered and they like to do that. Other jobs you can put on your list for payment are sweeping leaves, hanging laundry, picking fruit, dead-heading plants and clipping hedges. If they are shown what to do, they could use the lawnmower and that may be a bit of a novelty for a while.
Do you have any tried and tested methods to get your teenagers into the garden? Share your ideas in the comments and use the affiliate links below to shop some ideas from this post. Visit my shop page to find details about all my affiliate links.