How to Keep Your Teens Engaged This Summer

July 17, 2020
How to Keep Your Teens Engaged This Summer
Jenna Nolan

Jenna Nolan is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Jenna enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.

How to Keep Your Teens Engaged This Summer

Summer is a time of the year most people look forward to. However, summer 2020 may be the exception as we’re in the middle of a global pandemic that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. If you’re a parent of teenagers becoming restless and bored you may be worried about how to keep them engaged. Whether you’re working or at home, how do you keep them entertained and ensure they aren’t engaging in high-risk behaviors?

Despite the social distancing measures in place, you can make the most of the summer months. Keep reading to find ways to have fun and create indelible memories with your teens despite inconveniences like masks and social distancing measures.

Create a Bucket List

A bucket list isn’t only for people celebrating milestones or trying to live life on the edge. They can be a fun idea at any time, including in the middle of a pandemic. Sit down with your teen and create a list of activities they’ve always dreamt of doing. Narrow down the list and see which are most realistic considering the current circumstances. Some factors to consider are your budget, the distance, and how COVID restrictions could affect your plans.  

To ensure it’s exciting and engaging for your teen, make them an integral part of the planning process. It’s a way of giving them responsibility and learning to work together as a team. For instance, if you decide to include kayaking on your bucket list, have them pick a location, find out the cost, and compose a list of items you’ll need to bring with you. Not only will this keep them busy, but you’re also teaching them core life skills like how to organize, stick to deadlines, and communicate effectively.

Encourage a Hobby

Hobbies can be a fun way of keeping teens engaged and building their skill set as well as self-esteem. It could also prove to be an effective coping strategy for substance abuse if that’s something your teen has struggled with. Aside from keeping your teens busy, research shows hobbies can be physically, emotionally, and psychologically rewarding. Considering how stressful a pandemic can be for teens, it can prove a healthy outlet for any stress, anxiety, and emotional distress they feel.

It’s important you give them the freedom to choose the hobby they want to take up so they’re more likely to commit and stay engaged. Encourage them to set SMART and tangible goals so they’re able to monitor their progress throughout the summer. It could be through journal entries or a checklist that outlines key milestones.

In case they can’t think of any hobbies on their own, some you could suggest include:

  • Gardening
  • Painting portraits
  • Playing an instrument
  • DIY projects
  • Mastering a sport
  • Picking up a new language
  • Learning to code
  • Writing short stories or a book
  • Creating YouTube videos

Carve Out Quality Time

Teens can often seem elusive, complicated and difficult to understand. However, actively creating opportunities to bond throughout the summer could help create the foundation for healthy communication. This can prevent them from internalizing their struggles, acting out, and going down a negative path. By carving out time to talk and bond while doing mundane things, you also create room for them to practice assertive communication––a skill they’ll need throughout their lifetime.

That said, think about enjoyable ways to spend quality time with them, be it over dinner, by watching a movie together, or going for walks. Considering they may not be able to see their friends as frequently or socialize in ways they normally would, this quality time could prevent feelings of loneliness too.

Plan a Road Trip

While some borders have opened and local airlines are now flying, not everyone is confident about traveling in confined spaces yet. If that’s the case for you, consider planning a road trip. Not only is it a chance to have summer fun, but the change in environment can be therapeutic, too. If you want to embrace the great outdoors, hiking or camping may be fun. Also, note that gas prices are the lowest they’ve been in the past five years, meaning you won’t have to shell out too much money on transportation.

If you’ll be staying in a hotel, make sure they’re socially distant. One way to find this out is to check for COVID policies via their website. Alternatively, book a private vacation rental or Airbnb. Don’t forget to take enough masks and sanitizer along with you.

Start a Book Club

Have you ever considered starting a family book club? It’s a clever way to get the entire family reading and engaging in conversation. Try looking for books everyone will enjoy and that aren’t too long. It's a way to keep your teen’s mind sharp and also making learning a family affair. To keep them engaged, get them to suggest books for everyone to read too.

As a parent, the current global climate can be worrying––especially when you think about how it impacts your young ones. However, by finding creative ways to keep them engaged this summer, you can turn negatives into positives.

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