Most of us enjoy a lazy day when we can sleep in, putz around and just relax a little – and our kids are no different. However, when the dog days of summer come, some teens take that one “couch out” day and stretch it over an entire summer break. Here are some tips to combat summertime teen laziness and keep your teen active and engaged.
Communicate Expectations – Tell your teen in a nonthreatening but firm manner that you will not accept their staying in bed all morning and afternoon. 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 them to be engaged in something worthwhile. Give them encouragement to help at a YMCA, children’s program, or 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.
Help them find volunteer positions by calling around to local places of worship, daycares, charities, or nursing homes. 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.
Spend Family Time – Avoid giving lectures about what they should do during the summer. (Lectures, period, are ineffective with teens.) Instead, find activities that you can do with them. You don’t have to spend every waking moment with your teen, but take some time to take them shopping, go to a movie, or out for a coffee. Keep it relaxed and let your teen open up to you in their own time and way. 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.
Encourage Physical Activity – Take time to learn or play a new sport with your teen. Not only will this help your teen be more active during the summer, it’ll help you get some much needed exercise, too. Boys in particular are more likely to enjoy “side by side” activities. These are often great times to open dialogue with your son about important issues. Give tennis, swimming, cycling, or rollerblading a try. You both will benefit your health and well being.
Parents all over the country complain that their teens get lazy during the summer break. But teens, just like toddlers, need guidance, clear communication, and reminders of your expectations in order to be successful. These tips should get you well on your way. Ask your teen if there are things they’d like to accomplish before school starts, and then help them to meet those goals.
For more information on planning a fun and active summer for your teen, visit School’s Out! Plan For the Perfect Teen Summer.
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