What comes to mind when you think of summer as a teen? Swimming, beaches, cold treats, no school, summer camp, family trips.
Teens are in kind of a strange position for a summer vacation. In fact, they are generally too old for many summer camps but also too young for most summer jobs. This may lead you to ask, what is my teen gonna do all summer? I know you do not want them sleeping their entire break away!
I have mentioned the importance of teens having balance in many of my blog posts. As well as how school is a major obstacle to achieving that balance. I believe summer can serve as a great reset and opportunity for teens to improve their mental wellness.
In this article, I am going to give you a recipe for making the most of your teen’s summer vacation!
Equal Parts Productivity and Relaxation
Summertime is the time for things that teens do not normally have time for. For example, having down time to relax as well as get involved with activities that are outside of normal school activities. You don’t want your teen laying around all day on their phones. However, you also do not want your teen to be so booked solid that they have no time to enjoy the bliss of not having to do anything. So how do you help your teen strike a balance between the two?
Help your teen find a productive activity to get involved with over the summer. However, not something that is not working 8 hours a day every day. They have their entire adult lives to work a 9-5!
Some ideas include...
A Summer Job
I know you may feel like making some cash is not an option for your teen. However, there are plenty of ways for your teen to learn some responsibility with a summer job even if they are under 16. I used to spend a lot of my summers babysitting. Which was a great experience and made me some extra spending money. Summer camps also often will hire teens to work. Do you have a family member with a business that can hire your teen to complete some tasks? Another great option is to help your teen start a side business doing things like cutting grass or dog walking.
A summer job is a great way for teens to learn many valuable skills. These include communicating with others, managing money, and being responsible for showing up on time. You could also use this as an opportunity to teach your teen about savings. For example, start a savings account for them that you encourage them to put a portion of their earnings into.
If finding a paid job does not work out for your teen, another great option is to get them involved in community service. Many museums, animal shelters, food banks, retirement homes, community gardens, and more need volunteers to help their organizations thrive.
Community service can be a great opportunity for your teen for so many reasons.
First off, they are helping others in need, which will not only feel amazing but may also look really appealing on college applications. The work experience gained from volunteering can be just as valuable or possibly more than what would be gained from a paid job. Additional bonuses of volunteering include accomplishing service hours that many high schools require as well as providing a chance for teens to network with those in settings they may wish to work in someday.
Find The Perfect Setting For Your Teen to Volunteer In
To find the right setting for your teen to work or volunteer with, it may help to learn more about their interests using the 16 Personalities Free Personality Test. This test can help you and your teen determine who and what your teen may find joy in spending time with.
Community Theater or Sport
Maybe working or volunteering is not the best fit for your teen this summer. However, there are other ways that your teen can get productive this summer and gain valuable skills.
Get Creative on the Stage
If you have a creative, shy, introverted, or anxious teen, the summer may be a perfect time to get them involved in community theater. You can read all about how theater is a great outlet for these teens in my blog post titled Center Stage: Where the Anxious Teens Are. Theater helps get teens outside of their comfort zone. Further, it helps them connect with others. As well as, sharpening their teamwork skills, and enhancing executive functioning skills.
Get Active in a Sport
In fact, any activity that requires a teen to work alongside others towards a common goal helps with these same skills. If theater is not your teen’s thing, maybe sign them up for a summer sport. I know softball, volleyball, swimming, tennis and more are popular summer sports. As a result, they often have leagues going in the summertime.
Most Importantly, Try Something New
The great thing about this is, even if they have not been doing these activities before, the summer is the perfect time to encourage them to try something new. However, it’s important to remind them of a few things! First, there are no small parts. Second, you do not have to be the best or most experienced to have fun and learn something new.
A Cup of Play!
Regardless of what productive activity your teen gets involved with this summer, try and only have it take up part of their day or week. You want to leave them with plenty of time for rest and relaxation. With jobs and volunteering, take measures to ensure they are working part-time. Do this so they are not working their entire summer away. For theater and sports, those practices tend to take place at specific times. This makes it easier to fit in some downtime.
When you’re teen does have time to unwind, it is important to set them up to be able to enjoy their free time in ways that are not just staring at their phones. Maybe help them create a bucket list of other activities they may want to enjoy in their free time.
Some ideas might include:
- making popsicles
- bike rides
- playing with sidewalk chalk (yes even teens can do this!)
- taking a nap
- creating an at-home spa day
- watch a favorite movie
A Heavy Tablespoon of Friends and Family
In addition to the productive and relaxing things a teen can do in the summer, it is important to designate time for friends and family too. For 9 months out of the year, friendship time is primarily spent at school. Or perhaps, for a very limited time on the weekends. The same goes for family time.
Teens Need Other Teens
Socializing is a crucial aspect of teen development! Teens need to be in contact with one another to gain necessary social skills. As well as to work through discovering their unique identity.
Balance is Key
Some activities that I have already discussed in the productivity section are great for getting teens connected with other teens. However, just like they need equal parts productivity and relaxation, friendship time should be balanced. They need friendship time that is balanced between productive time and downtime with one another.
Plan Fun Events
You can help your teen achieve this by allowing them to have fun experiences with their friends. Things like sleepover parties, movie nights, pool time, and time to simply hang out. You can help your teen initiate some of these fun activities. Or maybe, collaborate with other parents that might want to chaperone or plan a teen get-together.
A Dash of Family Time
You may think you are the last person your teen wants to spend time with during the summer. However, family time is like a muscle. If you do not take the time to exercise it, it gets weaker. Summer is the best time to work out those family muscles. You can do this by routinely planning some quality family time.
Family Time Does Not Have to be Complicated
Family time can be a trip to the beach or a weekend of camping. But it can also be much simpler than that. If you think your teen will moan and groan over spending all that family time together, create small, low-key family bonding activities. These can be a meal together, going to get ice cream, or you set up a weekly movie night. You can even rotate who gets to pick the movie. If you are a mother-daughter duo, maybe plan a day to go get mani/pedis or facials.
Create a Family Bucket List
You can create a family summer bucket list in addition to the one for just your teen!
Got a Young Teen?
If your teen is a rising 6th-8th grader and they are just beginning their teen years, some of the options suggested may not work.
This is why I created Young Teen Wellness Camp.
Starting June 5th, I will be offering the first-ever Young Teen Wellness Camp at my Metairie office!
A Four-Week Program
This is a 4-week program that will be every Monday from 9 am-12 pm and is focused on skills that are not taught in most schools.
Learning About Emotional Intelligence
These are skills that help teens navigate their mental and emotional health! I will be covering topics of compassion, empathy, mindfulness, stress management, and more. All of these topics are in the hopes of improving teen emotional intelligence! In my blog titled Understanding Teenage Emotional Intelligence, I talk at length about the importance of emotional intelligence.
If you would like to read more about my Young Teen Wellness Camp to see if it is right for your child, you can check out the details HERE.
Begin Therapy for Teens in Metairie, LA Today!
If your teen is struggling with their mental health and its impacting their abilit to fully live and enjoy life, Therapy for Teens at Creative Counseling and Wellness is here to help. As a Therapist, I have both personal and professional experience with these issues and am prepared to walk this journey of self-discovery with your teen. Follow the steps below to get started. Through ownership, balance, and practice, your teen can own the stage and the stage called life!
- Reach out to me via my convenient online contact form.
- Get to know more about me and my story here.
- Begin the journey to self-discovery and healing
Other Mental Health Services Offered at Creative Counseling and Wellness
I specialize in working with teens and their families. I work with a wide variety of individuals such as: LGBTQ+ Teens, Teens with Anxiety, Theater Teens, Creative/Artistic Teens, Teens Questioning Gender Identity, High Achieving Teens, Teens with Social Anxiety, and Teens Struggling with Perfectionism. My own own life and experience gives me a unique perspective that lends itself to working with teens especially. Reach out today!