Summer is coming to La Lumiere. The trees are blooming, the skies are blue and the seniors are restless. Soon, the always busy campus will become silent and still as the Northwest Indiana summer kicks in. Summer can be a wonderful time for taking trips, relaxing and creating unique adventures for our kids. Summer can also mean teens sleeping late, refusing to part with their electronic devices or just acting sullen as they get bored on long, hot days with little structure. It is hard as parents to understand how to best balance our kids need for leisure time or “down time” with structure and enrichment. I think if my son had his way, he would spend 8 weeks in his room playing with his pets and video games and sleeping late. While, I don’t blame him for wanting down time, I don’t think that is quite the best plan for an energetic 15-year-old.
Here are some ideas as summer approaches:
Create new technology rules for use your kids. Many teens will use every spare moment playing, socializing or streaming shows from their phone or tablet. Consider having your teens earn tech time with either a job, taking a class, creating a project or doing chores around the house.
Create a jobs chart for the summer that gives consistent chores every week. Hang it up and tell the kids you expect those jobs to be done every Sunday. If not, they lose technology time.
Encourage older teens to begin job hunting. Keep in mind that youth summer unemployment is at its highest point since 1999. If employment is tough to find, encourage your teen to offer personal services such as babysitting, tutoring, teaching a sport to a younger child or lawn care.
Prioritize family time. Consider taking a trip if possible or setting aside one night per week as family night.