Planning ahead for summer is a good idea, no matter how far away it is. This is especially true if you’ve got teenagers in the house. Summers for teenagers are often filled with practices, camps, and hanging out with friends, so if you don’t plan now, you may have little say in what they do.
Vacations and family reunions have been well documented on other sites, but what about mixing them up? Here are three ideas that are non-traditional but can be impactful for you and your teen.
Non-traditional sports are a great way to get a teen to try something new and constructive. In addition to the possibility of discovering a new talent or hobby, there are also practical reasons for doing so.
There are more opportunities to grow and progress in many non-traditional sports. For example, the United States has nearly 1.1 million high school football players. It is very difficult to stand out and succeed with so much competition. That isn’t to say that a kid should quit their favorite sport just because of competition, but it’s something to consider.
A non-traditional sport, such as rowing, offers just as many, if not more, opportunities to excel and compete at a high level. Across the country, there are less than 10,000 high school rowers. Despite this, there are hundreds of college scholarships and opportunities to compete internationally.
Another benefit of non-traditional sports is that the skills and fundamentals they teach can be applied to other sports and activities. In a typical ultimate frisbee match, an athlete may run over five miles without even realizing it. Try getting your kid to run five miles and see how well that goes!
In addition to cardio, teens can learn hand-eye coordination, how to work as a team, and how to perform under stress.
Practical Summer Jobs
Summer is a great time to discover a new city, meet new people, and find a short-term job. While many teens think of working at McDonald’s, lifeguarding, or stocking shelves when they hear the phrase “summer job,” those may not be the best options for teens. It’s best if high schoolers find summer jobs that will teach them skills they can use throughout their lives.
This will look different for every teen. Some may find an entry-level job in an office or work on a construction site. Many companies will even take high schoolers for summer internships. Many kids will gain a new understanding of what they want to do in the future and a greater sense of purpose during the last few years of high school.
The summer can also be spent flipping burgers or scanning barcodes, providing skills and habits, but it is better if a teen gets into a field they are passionate about from the start.
Make Time For Your Teen
The teenage years are only five summers between the ages of 13 and 17. These summers can be jam-packed with summer practices in sports or band, summer camps, friends, and jobs.
Despite the first two recommendations sounding contradictory to this final recommendation, finding time to get away and enjoy time with your teen is important. Even if they don’t seem interested in spending time with you, studies have shown that teens who spend quality time with their parents are much more likely to succeed and have better relationships with their families for the rest of their lives.
Taking time for your teen doesn’t necessarily mean going on an extravagant vacation. A simple act like fixing up a car, going fishing, camping, or even having a quality conversation with your teen will benefit them and you.