June 24, 2014 —

With school out of session and summer in full swing, your teen has more free time on his or her hands. While summer offers many opportunities for your teen to de-stress from school-related anxiety and spend more time with you and your family, this increased time can also result in more opportunities to engage in risky activities, such as heavy alcohol consumption and cough medicine abuse. Additionally, your teen will be spending more time with friends, which can also add to his or her chances of giving in to peer pressure.

One way to ensure your teen stays out of harm’s way this summer is to keep him or her busy and engaged over the next 2 ½ months. By limiting idle free time, you instantly decrease your teen’s likelihood of partaking in potentially dangerous activities.

Here are 3 ideas for summer activities that can help keep your teen involved and out of trouble this summer:

  1. Summer internship or job. It’s never too soon for your teen to begin thinking about long-term career goals. Gaining work experience is a great opportunity for your teen to actively explore career interests while simultaneously boosting his or her resume. A job or internship will keep your teen busy during the week, and will give you peace of mind of knowing exactly where he or she teen is and what he or she is doing throughout the day. The enticing incentive of extra cash will make it easy for you to get your teen to seek out summer employment. 
  2. Travel. Summer provides ample opportunities for weekend getaways and vacations. By spending time together in a new environment, you and your teen will bond in a unique way that will help open the lines of communication. If an out of town vacation isn’t possible with your summer agenda, try being a tourist in your hometown. Chances are there are some famous landmarks and attractions in your own backyard that you have yet to visit.
  3. Summer clubs. There are many summer programs, camps and clubs that are focused on various interests like swimming, cooking and yoga that will allow your teen to further explore his or her current hobbies and/or learn a new and useful skill. Talk about and identify your teen’s interests together, so you can find a local program that will give your teen the most rewarding experience.

The suggestions above will provide your teen with fun and safe alternatives to risky behaviors, and will hopefully prevent them from choosing to engage in harmful activities. Summer employment, excursions and organized clubs and programs will also give your teen a new sense of independence, which can help enhance your teen’s personal development and even strengthen your relationship. Do you have any other ideas for positive activities that will help keep teens busy this summer? Please feel free to share them in the comments below!