Supporting Teens and Tweens in a COVID Summer

Adeeba Jafri

Adeeba Jafri

Adeeba is the author of several books including The Baby Garden, A Zoom with a View and Show Yourself.

Does your child have “teenager unproductivitis?”

Symptoms include:

-> Intense moodiness when asked: “Did you finish your Khan Academy?”

-> Regular bouts of late night gaming (“that’s when everyone is online!”)

-> An immeasurable amount of screen time (was there ever a chart?)

-> Phenomenal increase in appetite, but only for snacks because at dinner time, “I’m not hungry.”

Productivity is at an all-time low this summer for tweens and teens, but even moreso for expat kids that are stuck in the desert, with little to no prospect of traveling home, enjoying outdoor activities, or attending a summer camp that is NOT based off a computer.

So now what?

How do we encourage our kids to stay productive despite these limitations? I’ve teamed up with some Doha and Dubai-based moms to offer great suggestions on how to support our teens and tweens this summer.

Invest in virtual learning activities

Face it. They’ll spend most of their time on a screen anyway. Why not have them learn while they’re on it? My 13 y/o was gifted an Arduino Robotics gift from Qatar Robotics Club and he loves it! Because he was already at an advanced level, he was placed in a class on his own. The individualized attention has really given him an edge and he’s enjoyed his classes.

My 16 y/o enrolled in the Creative Fusion – Introduction to 3D Modeling course offered by Texas A&M-Qatar. With regular sessions and weekly assignments, this course has expanded his knowledge of 3D modeling and printing.

Recreational and physical support

When quarantine started, we realized that staying home day in, day out, would have a negative impact on the kids’ health. We invested in some gym equipment from GoSports. Small things like dumbbells, a pull-up bar, jump ropes and a step won’t cost that much and they’re easy for the whole family to use.

Academic Prep

My kids have divided their week into different subjects. My high schooler, for example, is studying for his upcoming SAT exam and prepping for the IB courses that he will enroll in this fall. My 13 yo is focused on completing a pre-algebra course through Khan Academy. Make sure to set daily and weekly goals to keep your teen / tween on track.

Make space for creativity

Stores like Jarir Bookstore and WHSmith-Qatar are now open during the day. Those are great places to pick up some art supplies. Even teens and tweens need a creative outlet. My youngest likes to draw cartoons on our white board while my high schooler enjoys constructing LEGOS.

Encourage READING

Bribe, blackmail. Whatever. The most important thing to encourage is reading. Seriously, if all else fails, have your kids read. As a mom of college-age kids, reading makes a HUGE difference in their vocabulary and critical thinking skills so make sure to invest in books. Borrow them from a neighbor. Buy them from a bookstore like Jarir Bookstore or Borders. Just make sure they are reading for at least 20-30 min per day, if not more. My son participates in a Zoom book club with his friends and they’re currently reading Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. For suggestions on MS reads, check out my friend Nadia at her website An Introverted Blogger.

This blog post is part of a collaborative effort to curate ideas and suggestions on how to support teens and tweens in a COVID Summer. Please take the time to check out the suggestions by my fellow collaborators on Instagram.

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Mama Baba Ganoush



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