February 05, 2009 —

February may only have 28 days, but if you live in an area that gets cold, dreary weather during the winter, it can feel like the longest month of the year. It's hard not to get bored during the short days, but it's important to try to find ways that you and your teens can stay active. Especially because, according to a study released by Columbia University some years ago, bored kids are more likely to turn to substance abuse. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you and your children avoid the winter boredom.

For Your Teens:

  • Put down the video games and get back to basics
Now is the time that many spring sports leagues are hosting tryouts for their teams. Indoor soccer and baseball are just a few of the sports available through schools and community centers. You can likely find intramural leagues in your town for many different sports. These leagues welcome beginners and have more flexible practice times than competitive or club sports.
  • Someone has to be the next Hannah Montana
That may be a little bit ambitious, but one can always dream... In truth, February and March are also the months when schools and community theaters hold auditions for their spring performances. Many actors, including stars like Zac Efron and Robert Pattinson, did not start acting until their tweens and teens, so your teens may yet have their own undiscovered talent for the arts. If they aren't interested in starring on stage, however, local theaters and high schools can often use help in backstage production, from costume design to set building.

And For You!

  • Be an educator and an advocate
Through the many activities in which your kids participate, you also can meet the other parents whose kids are on sports teams or otherwise involved. Sideline or intermission conversations are a great opportunity to talk about cough medicine abuse prevention and to ask other parents what they think. Plus, attending your kids' games or shows also will give you a chance to meet the kids with whom your children associate.

Making sure our children and teens are active in activities that make them happy is one of the best ways we can help prevent substance abuse problems, including a problem with cough medicine abuse. Do you have other suggestions to pass the time with your teens? Share them with us in our Gather community.