Ages 13-16: Teens and Summer!
Your child has progressed to secondary school and are now on holidays from late May to the end of August, yikes! The teenager in your life is probably only delighted at the prospect of what seems like never ending freedom. You on the other hand, may have feelings of anxiety as to what this long period of unstructured free time means for your teen. We’ve discussed how to entertain them from babies to toddlers to children. Now it’s the tough one, entertaining your teen in summer. We’re here with you so don’t fret. We can figure this out together!
Your teen has probably been putting up a fight for independence for a long time now. When they were younger and on summer holidays you more than likely arranged a babysitter or daycare for them to spend their time in whilst you were in work. Now however, your 13+ year old will not be impressed with the idea of being left in the care of a slightly older teen or a family member they may deem “no fun.”
How do you approach this situation? Of course, every teen is different and as their parent you’re the only one who can gauge their level of maturity. Leaving your teen alone can seem a daunting thing, so why not start small? Pick a weekend or a day you’re not in work, and head to do the grocery shop or into town for a coffee leaving your teen at home alone. This way you’re in a short radius of your house and your teen, and can leave at the drop of a hat should they call (not always possible when you’re work).
The truth of the matter is, you’ll have to leave your teen home alone sooner or later, giving them a bit of independence lets them know you trust them. Hopefully they live up to that trust.
While it can be tough for a teen to decide what they want for dinner, it’s not their fault; their brain hasn’t matured to this level yet, they may have plans for the summer. At the beginning of their holidays sit down with them and see what they might like to do with their time off. Even if they don’t approach you first, bring it up in conversation and make them aware that you’re willing to drive them places and pay for things they might like to do (within reason, obviously). You may be surprised that they may want to improve a skill at a camp, or get involved by volunteering. They will of course want to spend time with friends.
If you have an older teen they might also wish to find a part-time job. Help out by putting some feelers out and perhaps helping them put a CV together.
If you’re giving your child some independence, it’s important for their development to also have some responsibility. They’re off school for over 2 months, it’s easy for them to slip into a life of having no routine. To make the back to school transition a bit easier, try keep some routine at home. Give them some responsibility within the household by designating some chores. You’ll be encouraging their independence and teaching them valuable life skills.