For many teens, COVID-19 has taken away a good chunk of their school year, socializing with friends, and attending events like prom, graduation, or sports games. Now that summer is here and social distancing measures are still in place, this can be an especially tough time for teens. But by making time for a few basics you can help your older child to make the most of their summer despite the difficulties.
Make time for:
It’s tempting for teens to stay up late and sleep away most of the day, but this isn’t healthy for either their physical or emotional health. Although you can be more flexible in the summertime, encourage your teen to go to bed and get up at a regular time each day.
Developing a work ethic may not be popular with teens, but it’s important for them to take responsibility and contribute where they can. Assign them some regular chores, and, if necessary, establish a reward system and consequences for completing or not completing their assignments.
Teens need time with friends. While it can sometimes seem that they spend too much time with their peers, it’s important, especially during social distancing, for teens to feel connected. If you’re in a position to do so, allow your child’s friends to come over for socially distant activities, and allow your teenager a reasonable amount of time to connect with their peers electronically.
It’s also important for teens to spend time with family. Plan meals they like and activities they enjoy to make family time more appealing to them, and set aside time to be with them one-on-one. Spending time together can strengthen your relationship and allow you to continue teaching your teenager important lessons and values as they prepare for adulthood.
Summer jobs may be hard to find, but they are out there, and are a great way for teens to keep busy and earn some money for spending or saving. Job searching can be intimidating, so let them know about places that are hiring, help them fill out the paperwork, and be supportive in encouraging them to find work.
Of course, no summer vacation is complete without time to play, relax, and have fun. Make sure that your teen is rewarded with leisure time to do things they enjoy so that summer feels like a vacation—even if it’s not quite the one they had in mind.