Its summertime and your teen may think its a free for all with technology. While there is nothing wrong with some added time to goof off watching youtube videos and surf social, consider adding some conditions. This will not only require them to be productive but also, help you too.
Read - I know no one (teens) want to read anything. I understand because during the school year, they read a lot! However, it's important that they keep their brains powered. Suggest reading an article OFF the screen. It doesn’t have to be a scholarly article, an article in a magazine or newspaper are great options.
The Other Screen - This summer my teens are required to clock in at least 30 minutes of CNN. To some this may seem “lame,” but I think it's important that they tune in to what's going on in the REAL WORLD and not only the social media world (aka the world of people “appearing” to have their lives all figured out). Keep them in tune with REALITY.
Bike Ride - Do teens even do this anymore? Well this is a great time to start. Take a quick bike ride around a block or two. This is a great way to exercise and release stress (if they are experiencing any).
Volunteer - The school year can get very busy. Sign your teen up for a couple volunteer opportunities in the neighborhood. This is great for those college applications and its an overall good moral practice.
Meals - Mama’s we spend the school year knee deep in curating meals for the family and answering “What's For Dinner?!” Girl, take a load off and hand over the responsibility to your teenagers. You can guide them or give them full range of the kitchen. BONUS: They won’t realize they have learned something.
Goal Digger - Create a set of goals to accomplish for the summer. For those high schoolers, this can include college research and for those middle schoolers, this could include social or personal development goals that will support them when school begins.
Family Time - Reach out to an elder family member and solicit your teen to help with something. Our elders always have projects and things to do around the house, teach your child the importance of helping family. (Toddlers have a special bond with elders too)
Summertime is all about fun but as we adults know, it is during the idle time that teens can get themselves in situations. We don't have to lay on the rules heavy however, making sure they are staying engaged in some way is never a waste of time.
Check out my latest article in the Chicago Parent Magazine Newsletter