Ah the teenage years! As your teen gets older, some will find a part time job. Others will go to summer camp or an extended school year (summer school) program. Some will do neither. Here’s how to navigate respecting your teen’s summer vacation while ensuring they stay active.
- Get Them to Crack Open a Book – Most schools provide a summer reading list. How many times is that list forgotten and then there is a mad dash as school approaches to read those titles? Why not create a schedule? Depending on your teen’s daily commitments, try to carve out the same time each day or week to focus on reading. Could it be right after dinner? Spending time reading for at least an hour or 2 will get a lot of the required reading done without arguments.
- Encourage Them to Volunteer – What are your teen’s interests? Is it sports, medicine, animals, older adults, or children? Aligning their interests in a volunteer position will be a win win for everyone involved. Check with organizations like Special Olympics if it’s sports. Look into animal shelters if they love animals. See if your local senior center needs any volunteers or is the hospital looking for help. Volunteering is sometimes a requirement for high school graduation, however, what a life skill to expose them to now.
- Tell Them to Get Physical – Fresh air and natural sun light is important for all of us. Making sure your teen isn’t just inside all summer may be a challenge. Limit the screen time by balancing time doing physical activity. Swimming, bike rides, walking, or joining a summer sports team will get your teen some healthy workouts. Compromise by setting time limits on how long they can stay inside glued to their video game consoles or phones. Offer an allowance incentive for outdoor-related chores such as mowing the lawn and gardening.
- Let Them Have Plenty of Downtime – Just like we enjoy our vacation and time off of work, respect that your teens need down time after school gets out. During the school year their time may be overtaxed so make sure you don’t overschedule their summer as well. Let your teen sleep in on days they are not working. Look the other way if you catch them lounging on the couch for a few hours.
Achieving a balance with your teen between work and play can be challenging, but it is possible. Set firm rules, be willing to compromise when it won’t compromise your teen’s well-being, and offer them rewards for working hard at a summer job, household chores, or summer school work such as reading. You will be happy and so will your teenager.
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