I didn’t grow up in a house teenagers wanted to hang out at. It was me who was always looking for a friend’s house to escape to. It didn’t even have to be fun. With a teenager of my own, I’ve wanted our home to be a warm and welcoming one to her friends. Today we’re sharing how to make your house the fun house for teenagers.
During my high school years, my childhood home was a bit unstable. What I really wanted was a soft place to land. A place to laugh and mingle. It just wasn’t the home I lived in. So I spent a lot of time at my friends’ houses. I was always welcomed, I was always invited to stay for dinner, I wasn’t a nuisance – or at least the adults never made me feel like one. Some of my core memories were made in living rooms that were not my own.
My advice to you is: don’t put the emphasis on being the fun house but instead being the welcoming home for the teenagers in your life.
Why You Want Teenagers to Hang at Your House
Last holiday season, my daughter hosted her basketball team for a gift exchange. It was like they were all fighting to be the loudest in the room. I crept back upstairs because I knew there was fun being had and they certainly didn’t need me hanging around.
Here’s a few reasons why you want the teenagers to gather at your home.
- You get to know your child’s friends, teammates, or boyfriends/girlfriends.
- There is no wondering where your teenager is at.
- Your house will feel alive.
- You’ll know what’s going on with everyone without having to ask for it specifically. Just listen to them talk.
How to Make it the Fun House
Again, the focus doesn’t have to be on fun but here’s a few things that teenagers might appreciate.
- A designated spot in the house specifically for teens. In my house it’s the outdoor space in the backyard or the family room. My husband and I have no problem retreating to other areas of the home but your kids should also know that no space is off limits to parents (I’ll share more in house rules later).
- Welcome any and all. Like I said, the parents of my friends never made me feel like I was an inconvenience in their homes.
- Food and drinks at the ready – I get that feeding an army of teenagers can potentially be costly and you certainly don’t need to feed everyone dinner at a moments notice. If your budget allows, consider having a couple of frozen pizzas or snack foods on hand.
- Provide activities or games. No one is telling you to be the camp leader when your teenager and their friends are over. But sometimes teens need a gentle push to get off their phones – even when they are hanging out with each other. Jackbox will usually keep a group of kids engaged, board games, ping pong, basketball, pool toys are all ideas to keep them entertained. No one is ever too cool for charades.
Rules for Being the Fun House
I got myself into a sticky situation while hosting my daughter and some friends earlier this year. She invited two boys and two girls over to go into the pool. The day turned into the evening and they wanted to watch a movie. Sure, fine. Next thing I knew they lights were off. It was all very innocent but not what I expected when I came downstairs. I want my daughter’s friends to want to hang out at our house but not because they think they can get away with doing whatever.
Make sure everyone knows the rules at your house. Just because your home is now the designated fun house or hang out house, rules are good.
- It’s your home. Decide what is and is not appropriate and make sure your teen and all guests know these rules.
- You are the parent and you are allowed to be in any space the teenagers are in. Who cares if your kid is embarrassed that you just flipped on the lights while they were watching a movie. It’s your house, baby.
- Let them know what’s expected: mi casa es su casa but they also need to clean up after themselves. This isn’t some full service hotel.
- Be clear about what’s off limits. You don’t want them behind closed doors or in bedrooms, make it be known.
We’re Your New Best Friends
Hi, we’re Megan and Wendy! Join us every Thursday on Long Story Short: The Podcast as we rediscover the things that bring us joy! Podcast topics cover everyday life, parenting, fashion, beauty, pop culture and more!