Most of us enjoy a lazy day when we can sleep in, piddle around the house and just relax a little – and our kids are no different. However, when the dog days of summer come, some teens take that one “lazy day” and stretch it over an entire summer break. Believe it or not, our teenagers are always looking for something to do during the summer break. Some teens get a job, complete an internship or volunteer at a local agency. Others attend camps or participate in volunteer activities. Of course, many just want to hang out with their friends and (just maybe) get into trouble. To keep your teen focused and on the right path, you’ll want to find some ways to keep him busy over the summer
Here are some tips to fight teen laziness and keep your teen active and engaged.
Communicate Expectations – Talk to you teen about what you expect from him or her during the teen months. If your teen is staying at home during the summer months, it is perfectly OK to let them know that you will not accept them just sleeping all day and laying around the house. It is perfectly reasonable to ask that they get up at a decent hour. Explain that you want them to do more than merely watch TV, play video games, or visit social networking sites all day.
If your teen wants you to help pay for their summer activities, they should be willing to abide by a few summer guidelines. Set an age appropriate, specific time that you expect them to be home, based upon the level of trust they have earned. Ask them to take on a couple of extra chores during the summer to earn some pocket money. These chores could be for you or someone else, but make sure they go above and beyond the normal, everyday chores that every member of the family should be expected to do.
Get Them Engaged – Whether you ask them to help you more around the house, participate in volunteer activities in the community, or help them get a job, you want to keep your teen engaged in something worthwhile. Give them encouragement to help at a YMCA, children’s program, volunteer at an animal shelter or at a nursing home. They may find they truly enjoy these volunteer activities and you will help them appreciate the joys of serving others that will last a lifetime.
You can help your teen find volunteer positions by calling around to local places of worship, daycares, charities, or nursing homes, and shelters. You can also help your teen to land a summer job. Many local businesses may be hiring summer help; offer to help them find a job to earn some extra money. This will help them learn to manage money, but will also help them realize the value of their time. If they get paid by the hour, they might be less likely to fritter their time away.
Family Time – Use the summer months as an opportunity to find activities that you can do with your teen. You don’t have to spend every waking moment with then, but you can set some time aside to take them shopping, out to the movies, to museums..etc. Summertime is a great time to reconnect with your teen. Don’t let these weeks go by without taking this time to slow down and just be together.
Get Physical – What better way to help you and your teen to get and/or keep in shape than to be physical with them. Why not take the time to learn or play a new sport with your teen. It doesn’t have to be a sport; what about a dance class or an exercise club? Not only will this help your teen be more active during the summer, it’ll help you get some much needed exercise, too. If you need a few ideas you can always give tennis, swimming, cycling, or rollerblading a try. You both will benefit your health and well being.
Ask your teen if there are things they’d like to accomplish before school starts, and then help them to meet those goals.
Summer can be filled with fun times, but parents must be on realize that at times, teens may try to use their downtime for destructive activities. To protect against bad choices, parents should kindly provide guidance, clear communication, and reminders of your expectations in order for summer to be not only fun but productive
For more information on planning a fun and active summer for your teen, visit School’s Out! Plan For the Perfect Teen Summer.