School’s out and your teen couldn’t be happier. But after the initial excitement of no homework wears off, let's face it, he's got a long, long summer ahead.
The Danger of Down Time
Summer days with nothing to do can create an unhealthy scenario for teens. In fact, boredom is a leading cause of teen experimentation with drugs and alcohol. To keep your teen engaged and out of a dangerous summer slump, give the following tips a try:
- Move it or Lose it!
Lying around all day isn’t healthy. Encourage him to get some exercise. Get him in the water, or on the volleyball court or on a bike ride. Staying active keeps natural “happy chemicals” (endorphins) pumping through his brain, so he’s less likely to seek man-made ones.
- Keep it Fresh
When vacations end or camp is over, melancholy can set in. Make new plans. Do something different, so he isn’t faced with the same-old, same-old. New ideas keep the dopamine going strong (the brain’s reward and pleasure drug.)
- Soak in the Rays
While sunbathing all day doesn’t provide the exercise and excitement we’ve been talking about, he does need some sunshine. Don’t let him hide in his teen-cave playing video games all day or watching Netflix for hours on end. Make sure he takes a peek outside every now and then to get the natural benefits of Vitamin D.
- Get Lost...in a Book
If he’s tempted to find an escape, fiction is a healthy alternative to drugs. Encourage him to read. What genre might spark his interest? Check out a few books at the library or buy him a set by an author you think he’d enjoy. Reading will keep his mind occupied and help him learn about new subjects.
- Plan a Parent-Teen Project
Find something fun you can do together. Plant a garden. Volunteer. Build something. When you both learn to do something new, you also learn about each other. Who knows? You might create lifelong memories he treasures forever. (“Remember that summer when we...”)
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