I wasn’t ready for it. It happened so fast. It feels like yesterday that I was just drowning in the chaos of life with my 3 kids under 5. And then it happened. Last spring as I was trying to figure out how the heck I was going to survive the summer with the kids. My 12 year old declared that she would not doing any camps this summer. She felt very passionately about it. She said that camps were for little kids. I saw a vision of her sleeping in and laying around all day and that scared the crap out of me. I told her that she had to do something. She needed to give me a few reasonable ideas…and that did not include sleeping until noon and binge watching Once Upon A Time. I said I would consider letting her out of camps if I liked her ideas. She came to me with a plan and I accepted. She spent the summer volunteering as a junior swim coach for our neighborhood swim team, babysitting and dog sitting for multiple families, and completing her required summer homework. She set everything up herself and managed her schedule all summer. The result was a happy mom and a happy daughter.
Here is a list to get you thinking. I do believe in lazy days and late nights so be sure not to over schedule.
- Have your tween/teen create a list of goals. Does she have a summer bucket list?What does he want to improve on? What has she always wanted to try? What makes him happy? There are so many cool journals if they need help getting started. Check out this Journal.
- Find a home project you can do together. Does she want to paint her room? Plant a garden? Build a lending library? Check out these blueprints.
- Start a business. This could be babysitting, pet sitting, starting a youtube channel, becoming an Instagram brand influencer, starting a car wash, a blog, selling stuff on eBay. The options are endless.
- Volunteer. You can use your network. Ask friends for ideas. Ask around at your local school, library, church, and hospital. Here is also a great website that focuses on opportunities for kids and teens www.kidsthatdogood.com.
- Do something new together and let them pick the activity. Check out your local community center or college. Many have fun classes over the summer.
- Hold a family night once a week and take turns planning the activity or outing.
- Spend time outside. Beauty is all around us. Do they like to walk, hike, run? Sit on a beach or in a park and read?
- Have them research your summer vacation. Is it a big trip, an overnight or a series of day trips? You pick the destination but ask them to help find activities, restaurants, and other cool spots. As they get older, they may begin to resist these family trips. By letting them get involved in the planning, they feel invested in the vacation.
- Surprise them. You trust them. You are teaching them values and responsibility. What are they asking for that you keep saying no to? Is it a different haircut or hair color? Dying the tips of their hair with kool-aid? Is it a cell phone? A second ear piercing? Is it walking downtown with friends to shop, is it wearing a certain item of clothing you don’t love. The bottom line is, sometimes when you give a little, the reward is great.
- Recharge your battery. Make sure they have downtime. It is summer. There should be days to sleep in, binge watch your favorite show, eat ice cream for breakfast.
- Learn a new life skill. Check out this list put together by Thriving Family.
My daughter read this article and told me that she is not going to let me forget about #9. I cannot wait to see what she has in mind for this summer. I’d love to hear what your tweens and teens are up to this summer. Please leave a comment and let me know!