1) Allow time with friends
Spending time with friends is likely at the top of your teen’s list of favorite things to do. Allowing your child to spend time with friends is important. Also important is getting to know your teen’s friends and their parents. Have your child invite their friends over to the house. Drive or accompany the teens to an event. Both are ways for parents to get to know their child’s friends. Finally, enforcing rules around acceptable activities and curfew will help your teen spend safe and enjoyable time with their friends.
2) Stick to a schedule
Most people love sleeping in, and no one loves it more than the teens in your life! There is something wondrous about crawling into bed, not setting the alarm, and waking up when your body is ready. However, imagine how difficult going back to school in the fall will be if your teen spends the summer staying up late and not rising until mid-to late morning?
The National Sleep Foundation states that the average teenager requires 9 ¼ hours of sleep to function at their best. While school performance is certainly a part of a teen’s healthy functioning, it is not the whole story. Getting enough rest is integral to your teen’s ability to maintain a healthy attitude (mood) and body. See the full NSF article here. Help your teenager feel their best by setting a summer schedule at home that allows time for work, time for fun and time to get enough sleep! You'll be thankful you did when the first day of school arrives!
3) Follow the rules
Teenagers thrive when they have a structured schedule to follow. Why?
Experiencing structure and rules at home are how children and teens learn to follow society’s laws and the rules/expectations they will be subject to in school, jobs, and so forth. Just because it is summer and your teen does not have to be up early for school does not mean they automatically get to stay out late, skip chores and do what they want. Parents should enforce the house rules, give consequences when necessary and reward good behavior. Consequences should be reasonable and enforceable. Rewards should also be practical and feasible for the family. Rewards do not need to be monetary but can include extra free time doing an activity of choice or a special activity with the family or friends. Additionally, genuinely praising your teenager is a very powerful reward that can help strengthen your relationship with them and develop positive self-esteem.
Check out this article from WebMD for more information on praising children of any age!
Here is another resource for praising older children and teens.
4) Keep their brain and body busy
Many teens may not want to be involved in a structured summer activity. However, this does not mean they should simply spend their summer sleeping, eating and playing video games! There are many ways to keep your teen active both in the home and in the community. The website Parenting a Teenager suggests that parents encourage teens to find a summer job, volunteer and stay active. Teens can also help with projects assigned by parents, other family members or neighbors. Doing yard or housework can help teens stay active. It also helps keep their parents happy! Joining a sports league, recreation center or YMCA are other ways for teens to stay active and healthy! Reading, going to the library, visiting a museum or joining a club can help your teen keep their brain active while they are out of school.
5) Spend time with them
Spending time with their family is not a preferred activity for most teenagers. They are at a time in their life where peer relationships and feeling independent are increasingly important. However, teens that spend time with their parents experience a number of benefits including improved academic success, stronger emotional bonds with family members, lower rates of violent behavior and drug use. See Familyfacts.org for more information!
Spending time with your teen allows them to ask questions, seek advice and share information about what is going on in their world. It is also a time for parents to ask questions and assess the physical and emotional health of their teen. Finally, it is a great way to have fun and create lasting family memories!
I wish your family the best over the upcoming summer vacation! If you have concerns about your teen, please call 720-722-0527 or submit a message here to discuss how Bethany may be able to help!