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Maximizing Summer!

Hello, PATH Parents!

In addition to incredibly hot weather, July is known for special barbecues, beach days, and other family fun. It is also the month in which the novelty of summer vacation has worn off and our teens are looking for different things to do (hence the designation of July as “Anti-Boredom Month”).

Since it’s natural to take the path of least resistance, it’s easy for teens to simply reach for a cell phone or nearby device when bored, wasting hours of their summer (indoors and on the couch)! It’s up to us as parents to help our teens maximize their summer break, to take advantage of these free blocks of time that are finally available to them!

With that in mind, consider having your teen sit down for a few minutes this week and write answers to the following questions:

     1. What do I want to experience this summer, and how can I make it happen?

Time with friends:  Create some meet-ups at a park for spike ball or at the beach to swim.

A part-time job:  Apply to nearby businesses.

Travel:  Go to Chicago for the day and have a cool experience.

A new hobby or activity:   Skateboarding 

A new skill:  Try to learn piano from those YouTube tutorial videos I saw the other day.

Improve skills:  Do what I love for hours all week (instead of just minutes a day). 

     2. How can I create something new each week?

Your teens might surprise you with what they write here. Teen writers could create short stories, novelettes, or even blogs over the summer. Artists could pick up their favorite medium and follow YouTube tutorials to improve their drawing or painting skills. Musicians and vocalists could connect with others to jam and create performance sets. Teens who enjoy creating content could make creative iMovies or interesting Instagram Reels. No matter what they come up with here, if they actually start being creative with what they enjoy, at the end of the summer, our students can see a body of work that their summer hours have produced (and celebrate their growth in those weeks).

     3. What things can I do OUTSIDE every week?

Even teens will agree that one perk of summer is getting outside and enjoying nature. They simply have to be reminded (and even made to do it) sometimes!

Being outdoors improves mood and facilitates movement, so encourage your teens to commit to having fun outside, to picnic, hike trails, ride bikes, swim, play favorite sports, learn to play pickleball (a new fad in our community), garden, skateboard, draw outside with chalk, or even just walk around the neighborhood. Sunshine, exercise, and fresh air are game changers that our teens need, so let’s see that they enjoy them whenever possible!

     4. What schedule will make sense for me this summer with these goals?

In business there is a common saying: If it is not in writing, it doesn’t exist. That tends to also hold true for our good intentions with a summer schedule. Without a specific plan that is written out and referred to often, resolve wains, and days fly by without much to show for them.

So as you have your teens make plans (as discussed above and then approved by you, of course), ALSO have them create a weekly schedule for actually doing it (the literal when and where each week). As they intentionally schedule their time, they will be developing a skill (of valuing and organizing their time) that will serve them well throughout all the stages of their lives.

As always, remember to enjoy some summer fun yourself. We work HARD as parents, doing all the responsibilities of adulting, so make sure that summer dynamics give YOU that needed mood and endorphin boost, too! 

Happy summering with your amazing teens,

Lisa Raftery