August 11, 2008 —
It's the dog days of summer. After several months of summer vacation, our kids are walking the fine line between reveling in the time before school resumes and keeping out of the sweltering August sun. Luckily, my daughter is having a great time at summer camp, where she can enjoy these last few days before school starts up again.
If your kids are around the house, though, the final days of summer can seem like they drag on. While it can be trying for our teens, it presents a great opportunity for parents. Challenge your kids to try new activities, and discuss how they can make good choices with what to do with their free time.
This is an important conversation to have. When kids have down time, or are home alone, they sometimes make the decision to experiment with things that they wouldn't do if their parents were there or they were busy with school. One unexpected thing that teens may do is abuse cough medicine to get high. It is important to talk with our kids about the dangers of cough medicine abuse and share information about cough medicine abuse with other parents.
Put things in perspectives for your kids and make sure they know the real facts. Explain the dangers of abusing cough medicine and that you disapprove of it. But also follow up the conversation by providing good ideas on what they can do to beat the lazy days of summer.
If you need fun suggestions for you kids when they say they are bored, I found a great blog post from On Teens Today that gives 7 Ways to Beat Teen Boredom in the summer. The post was written by Shannon, a 16-year-old girl from Maryland, who explained:
"Before I had a summer job, I spent a lot of time lying around the house, feeling like my summer days were slipping by me and I was completely wasting them. During the summer months, many teenagers without licenses or jobs have no specific way to occupy their time. Even though sleeping in and watching daytime television is fun for the first few weeks, it gets old quickly and suddenly you're left with an endless amount of time to fill while you parents are at work"Shannon had some great tips in her article on how your kids can stay occupied when around the house this summer. Take a look at her ideas and decide if you think they would be safe options for your kids, or suggest a few of your own. The summer is a great time to encourage kids to try a new hobby or focus on one they already have. This could be anything from playing an instrument to drawing to learning a new sport. The last few weeks of summer might also be a good time to find some volunteer work that the family can do together.
Encourage your kids to stay active and pursue their interests in these final summer days. Every time you talk with your kids, it shows them that you are willing to have an open dialogue with them on everything from drug abuse to their leisure time. And, of course, it will help them understand you're there for them to help guide them toward making good choices.