It really is the toughest age group in the summer, isn’t it, parents?
While summer vacation is a time students wait for all throughout the school year -- and it's perhaps the best source of family fun and memories, it can also be a stressful time as parents for one reason: What do you do with a bored tween or teenager?
The tween and early teenage years range from 9 to 15 years old, and it can be dicey for parents in the summer, given kids in that age range are in no man’s land, so to speak.
They often are too old to go to summer camps or get involved in other activities, or maybe it's just harder for them to get enjoyment out of the things they did as younger kids.
Heck, the idea of the traditional family vacation in the summer might not excite them as much as it used to.
But they also aren’t old enough to drive or, in many cases, get an “official” job.
This leads to understandable worry from parents about how they can keep their kids out of trouble and make sure their summer isn’t spent holed up in their room.
Here are some ways to make sure your tween or teen can cure the boredom blues over the summer:
Try and get a jump start on the next school year
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean have them spend their entire summer studying and not having any fun or relaxation time.
But it’s never a bad idea to have your kid allot one or two hours a day in the summer to reading or doing math problems just to keep the mind sharp and the information they learned the previous school year fully processed. This is particularly a good idea if a kid has been placed in an advanced placement class for the upcoming school year.
Electronics can also be used in a healthy way, such as building a website or doing graphic design projects, according to verywellfamily.com.
Find odd jobs to do
One of the top desired destinations might be someplace like the mall, until they realize they have no money to spend.
This is where it’s nice to find jobs such as lawn cutting, babysitting kids or pets or doing simple household chores to not only keep them active, but provide them with spending money to make all the free time they have in the summer more enjoyable.
While this might not provide monetary opportunities, helping out at places such as church, summer camps, senior citizen centers or charities will not only help your kid be active, but instill in them a good feeling of what it’s like to give back to others.
Also, some school districts require volunteer hours as a graduation requirement, so this is a great time to fulfill those hours instead of on weekends during the busier school year.
Get them out of their room as much as possible
It can be just about anything, whether it’s joining a pool (or a gym that has one) for the summer, getting involved in athletics, going putt-putt golfing or just doing simple crafts around the house.
Suburban Simplicity lists 100 fun activities for bored teens that are great for summer vacation.
Let your kids be creative on their own
Some parents might think all their kids want to do in summer is sit in a room, play video games and not be bothered.
In truth, that is not necessarily the case. Many kids acknowledge the same boredom challenges over the summer their parents do.
Psychologists say it’s actually good for kids to be bored in the summer because it helps them become more self-reliant and creative on how to fill their time, according to Quarts.
Lyn Fry, a child psychologist in London, says in the article that tweens and teenagers learning how to fill their free time in the summer is good preparation for adulthood.
“If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves,” Fry said.
Are there any other tips you can offer to help with bored tweens and teenagers during summer vacation? Let us know in the comments below.
Graham Media Group 2019