When summer rolls around, most kids are ready to veg out in front of the television and sleep until noon every day, but one of the best ways to keep them safe and out of trouble is to help them plan out some activities. You don’t have to schedule their entire summer, but sitting down with your teen and figuring out some ways to have fun before summer break comes is a great way to ensure they stay engaged during their break.
The key is to make it seem like their idea, because otherwise you’ll get some pushback. Invite them to sit with you and the calendar and write out a list of ideas to help them fill the days. Let them know that they can come up with their own activities as long as you approve them first, and be sure to write down important dates such as family vacations, birthdays, and other events.
Here are a few of the best ideas on how your tween or teen can have a great summer while staying safe and healthy.
Start their own business
Lemonade stands might be a bit juvenile for this age group, but you can still go in that direction. Encourage your child to start his or her own business doing something they enjoy, such as making jewelry or clothing, baking, or even graphic design. Offer to help them get started and make sure they know that running the business is their responsibility…and that responsibility comes with rewards. Earning money and finding some measure of success will help build confidence, self-esteem, and motivation.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to learn about work ethic, helping others in need, and how to grow as a person. Encourage your child to volunteer with your church, a school, a camp, or an assisted living facility for seniors. They could even learn how to build houses for the less fortunate with organizations like Habitat For Humanity.
Learn something new
Most cities have a lot to offer during the summer to help kids stay on track even while school is out, so check out your local library to see what sort of summer reading list they have for your child’s age group. You can also look into local science centers, art workshops, camps, and music classes, depending on what your child is interested in.
If it’s hard to get your child back and forth to these activities, try something they can do at home, such as learning a new language on Duolingo or how to play an instrument from YouTube tutorials.
Put them to work
Your tween may not be old enough to get a regular job yet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find work around the house or in the neighborhood. Depending on their age and maturity level, they might babysit, mow lawns, or perform housekeeping duties either at home or for neighbors to earn some extra cash. Having a part-time job is a great way to ensure your child stays out of trouble, because having the money will motivate them to keep at it.
Find a new passion
Many kids have a creative spark, even if they aren’t able to express it everyday. Find out if your teen has a particular interest in the arts and encourage them to pursue it, whether it’s drawing, photography, dance, singing, or acting. When they find something they enjoy doing and can be successful at it, many kids will stay motivated to keep at it.
Remember, you don’t have to schedule the entire summer. Simply find a few things your teen might like to try and encourage them to come up with their own ideas for how to fill the days. The more in-control they feel, the easier it will be for them to stick with it.
Guest Author: Laura Pearson, Edutude.net