Keeping kids busy during summer is always a challenge, even more so as they get older. They’re too old for day camps and play dates, and while they may be self-sufficient you don’t want them glued to their smart phone or video games for two months.
In Phoenix, we can’t just send the kids outside to play in the summer–for fear they come down with heat stroke (no joke!).
And, of course, recommending a book or a project around the house is usually met with eye-rolls or slammed doors.
It’s up to us as the parents to find productive and teen-acceptable ways to pass the time–that won’t drive either one of us crazy.
Get a Job
If your teen needs to pay for their own clothes or for going out with friends, it might be time to encourage they get a job outside the house. Recreation centers and community pools often look for extra help during the summer because they have an influx of children who use their services throughout the day. Other options include car washes, local sandwich shops, movie theaters or grocery stores. Anything that teaches them responsibility and time management while allowing them to make some pocket money is perfect.
Do Odd Jobs
For those teens who aren’t old enough for traditional jobs or those who aren’t ready for the commitment, odd neighborhood jobs are a good option. Babysitting, dog walking, house sitting, scooping poop for the neighbors, running errands for the elderly neighbor…odd jobs like these can be found on community pages like NextDoor or by putting a flyer out by your neighborhood’s mailboxes.
Brush Up on Skills
Local colleges, high schools and recreation centers tend to offer skills training camps for athletic teens during the summer. Even better, find a camp near a favorite vacation spot and turn it into quality time with your other kids, then a family vacation when your athlete’s camp is over. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Shop for Colleges (and Scholarships)
Older teens should start thinking about colleges they want to attend so they’re ready for application season. Challenge them to research and find the admission requirements for their top three to five choices, then identify scholarship opportunities. This will keep them busy while supporting their own future.
Better Your GPA
Sometimes the school year doesn’t pan out the way our kids expect. If they didn’t earn the grade they wanted during the school year, there are several options for improving the grade. Summer school through their traditional school is a free option, as is retaking the class through an online high school. Some students may also qualify to take a class at a local community college and then transferring it back to their high school.
Take a Class
Classes don’t have to be just for school; they can be for personal fulfillment too! Find a class at a local art studio, music store, youth theater, technology center or recreation center. Your teen just might find their calling, but at the very least they’ll learn a new skill or hobby.
While it’s nice to have your teens around the house to help with chores, you’ll feel like a lot less of a nag and a lot more like a super parent if you help them do something that’s enriching, educational and enjoyable for them. And you’ll cherish the time they’re at home that much more!