1. Find creative ways to connect

While teens can’t physically see their friends during this time, there are other ways to connect socially.

"Youth groups all around New Zealand are doing a whole lot of TikTok challenges so people can stay connected. People are keeping in touch through Messenger, Instagram and Zoom parties," rangatahi advocate Talei Bryant says.

You might want to encourage time away from devices, but remember that social media provides an important 'lifeline' to their mates. Encourage them to use Skype, text, Zoom... whatever the latest social media craze is.

2. Create a safe space

If your teen is hanging out in their room a lot, try thinking of ways to engage them with the whole whānau. Use this time during the rāhui to take some time out with your teen – be an ear to listen.

"It's the way that you approach them as well. Rangatahi are sometimes told to harden up or just 'go for a walk' but it's all about creating a safe space and just listening," says rangatahi advocate Talei Bryant. 

Our teens need us to really hear them. Guidance and understanding from whānau is so important. 

3. Avoid the guilt trip

Be clear and direct, not confrontational. Include your teens in the conversation. Make sure they understand your whānau expectations during this time, and involve them in setting the expectations.

Ask them for their ideas. Watch out, they might want you to join their TikTok. You could be a star!

Talei Bryant says this is a great time to learn a new skill with our rangatahi. 

4. Make it realistic

Make spending time with the whānau easy by setting realistic goals. You could ask them to join every mealtime for just five minutes. Little bit at a time, then over time increase it so they can get used to it.

"Routines are good, but having opportunities for them to have times of boredom is good too as it helps them to hook into their creativity," Deb Rewiri says. 

Avoid forced family fun. Teens need just as much time alone, so don't be surprised if they aren't at every whānau activity. Some privacy might be just what they need. 

5. Change the scenery

It's all too easy to spend this rāhui hiding out inside watching TikToks. Encourage active time to get out and about as a whānau.

Take a walk around the block together. Pass a ball around. Change the scenery once in a while, explore your local neighbourhood.

Deb Rewiri talks about rangatahi breaking the bubble

Teen brains need other brains to connect with.

Deb Rewiri