With summer approaching, now is the time to talk with your teen about their plans for the summer. While it would be great to think your high school student can finally get a break from their onslaught of school activities, it’s not a good idea to let their summer go completely unstructured.
Gone are the days when it’s OK to hang out at the beach or pool all summer, as most colleges request that students report what they did during the summer between school years. Aside from the college motivation, we all know that an idle teen is much like a bored puppy – if not engaged, they will make their own mischief! Additionally, study after study has shown that students lose academic gains over the summer if they don’t continue some type of academic pursuit.
So, what should the average teenager do this summer? First, make sure they continue to read. For advanced students, they will likely have summer reading. Other students need to take it upon themselves to set aside weekly, if not daily, time to read something that interests them. This is also a good time to hone up on study skills, be it math and reading, or standardized test prep. Taking an enrichment course is also a great way to explore new interests.
Part-time jobs, paid or unpaid, are always a great thing for teens to do. They teach responsibility and show commitment. Volunteering with a community organization on a daily or weekly basis will also allow your teen to learn about the importance of giving back to their community. Both of these activities can be continued during the school year.
Regardless of what your teen chooses to do this summer, try to ensure that they have some type of academic and/or civic engagement over the course of the break. While it is important to have fun and recharge their batteries, a teen who has been bored and idle all summer is seldom ready to face the new school year with enthusiasm.
Christine M. Hall, Ed.D., is owner of CMH College Consulting in Cary. Hall, who has children of her own, offers advice on the college application and decision process here on Go Ask Mom from time to time. See some of her earlier posts in the box above.