Teenagers often struggle with energy and motivation, particularly during the long school holidays. Spending long periods sitting around at home watching TV or wasting time on the internet isn’t ideal for them (or you!) So here are some alternative ways to keep them occupied during the summer break.
The benefits of keeping teens busy during the school holidays
Keeping your teenager occupied and active during the summer holidays is good for both their physical and mental health.
Everyone needs a lazy day now and again but if your teen is lounging about with nothing to do every single day, they may end up caught in a negative cycle. Without a purpose or a reason to get up and out of the house each day, their motivation will dwindle and any existing mental health issues like depression and anxiety can worsen, meaning they’re less likely to want to get involved with anything if you do suggest it.
You don’t have to timetable every hour of every day but making sure that they have plenty of activities lined up during their break can help keep them focused and reduce the amount of ‘catching up’ they’ll need to do when they return to school and it will help their social skills too.
Activities to help keep teenagers motivated
Every teen is individual and what they enjoy will differ but here are a few suggestions of activities you could suggest or arrange for their summer break.
Your teen may think they’re too cool to be hanging out with their parents or siblings but if you can arrange some fun family activities you know they’ll enjoy, it’s a great way to get that quality time with them during the summer break. A day out at the beach or a theme park is something everyone can enjoy. Or keep it low-key with a family movie or games night.
If they already have hobbies, make sure they keep these up during the school break. Having a consistent routine helps habits to form and stick so whether it’s swimming, football or playing an instrument, set aside a specific time you expect them to train or practice. If they don’t have a particular hobby, the long school holiday is the ideal time for them to explore new activities or interests. Find out if there are any local groups, clubs or teams looking for new members and take them along to try it out or encourage them to try something new at home, like baking or painting.
If you’re a working parent, then summer camps can be a great way to ensure your teen stays active without needing to organise lots of individual activities for them. There are lots of different types of camps, from virtual or single-day camps to week-long experiences and residential camps.
Older teens could volunteer with a charity or help out at local events. As well as keeping them busy, this will give them lots of valuable life experience and will boost their CV when applying for jobs or courses further down the line.
Learning a foreign language can be a fun and engaging way to keep your teens motivated during their summer break. Fortunately, there are numerous language-learning apps and games that can make the process more enjoyable. For example, Duolingo is a popular app that offers interactive lessons and quizzes in a variety of languages. Another option is Rosetta Stone, which uses immersive technology to simulate real-world language experiences. By incorporating these types of tools into your teen’s language learning journey, you can help them stay engaged and motivated while also making progress toward fluency. Additionally, you can encourage them to practice their skills by watching foreign language movies or TV shows, listening to foreign language music, or even planning a trip to a foreign country to immerse themselves in the language and culture.
Learn to drive
Learning to drive is a big rite of passage for most teenagers. In the UK, teenagers can apply for their first provisional licence from the age of 15 years and 9 months and start learning to drive a car when they are seventeen.
As well as teaching them to drive, or booking lessons, you should also cover some basic car maintenance ready for when they pass their test, such as how to change a wheel, top up the screen wash and what a car service is.
Get a summer job
A summer job is an ideal way to keep older teens motivated. Not only can it help build a great work ethic and look good on their CV but it will also help them develop better communication and leadership skills. They can also use the extra income to fund their hobbies or socialising with friends.
For teenagers with a clear idea of what they want to do in the future after leaving school, a summer job can also be a way to get their foot in the door of their chosen industry and start building up work experience and contacts.