As school ends, many teenagers find themselves with an abundance of time on their hands. Some teens will take this opportunity to sleep all day or binge watch their favorite shows - and some others will celebrate their newfound freedom with risky choices.
Free time and a lack of supervision can cause even the best kids to make poor choices. Krystal Koons, health educator with North Star Youth Partnership, says, “It can be more challenging to keep them safe and doing productive things during the summer.”
The following tips will help teens have a safe summer.
Form a Partnership
Talk to other families with teens the same age as your child and take turns planning and running kids around a few times during the week to break up the monotony.
Insist on the Buddy System
If your teen wants to go for a walk or spend the day at the mall, insist they take a buddy. Teens are safer in a group.
Talk about Internet Safety
The internet can be a dangerous place. Adults may find it difficult to keep up with the latest internet trends but your teen is likely well versed. Make sure they realized the dangers of apps like Snap Chat and have clear rules about what is acceptable.
Help Them Find a Job
Summer is a great time for teens to make some spending money. Movie theaters, grocery stores, department stores and restaurants routinely employ teenagers. Some teens may be able to make quite a bit of money babysitting. If your teen is looking for a job, ask your circle of friends if they know of any opportunities.
Know Where, What and Who
Always know where your teens are, what they are doing and who they are with. As plans change, let your teen know a quick text or a phone call is what needs to be done for their safety and your peace of mind.
The best way to keep your teen safe is to stay actively involved in their lives. Whether it’s a nightly family dinners or weekly parent-teen outings, staying involved in your teen’s life will help you know what is going on. Additionally, tackle subjects like substance abuse, dating, sex, suicide, etc. often. Openly discussing these uncomfortable topics will allow your teen the chance to ask questions.
Summer activities can get expensive. “Plan no cost activities such as water wars at the park, movies on the lawn, bike rides or just hanging out at a house with a parent home and lots of snacks and games,” said Koons. “The key is for them to not have a lot of free, unsupervised time on their hands.”
Learn more about keeping your teens safe in the summer with North Star Youth Partnership!