POLARIS & BUILD
One challenge of parenthood is occupying your kids, especially during the summer when schoolwork and extracurricular activities are no longer part of the equation. Leaving your kids to their own devices can be a recipe for disaster, which is why we’ve put together some helpful advice to keep your kids out of trouble in the summer.
Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, as they say, so it’s always good to fill your summer schedule with activities that promote physical well-being, community service, and family togetherness. Whether that be a youth conference, summer camp, or finding new opportunities for creativity, we have a few ideas for your kids to find something fun to do this summer.
Start a Chore Chart
Yes, you might get pegged as the villain for setting up a schedule of chores, but kids need to learn that just because their educational responsibilities have ended doesn’t mean that they’re free of responsibilities around the house. Just like in adulthood, kids, too, must learn to balance their obligations and leisure time.
Of course, you don’t have to be dogmatic about the chart if you prefer to take a more relaxed approach. The point is that kids can demonstrate their responsibility and earn their leisure time in a meaningful way. An allowance system is also beneficial to encourage rewards for helping out around the house.
Try a New Hobby
When a kid is passionate about something, you can rarely get them to stop talking about it. It’s usually better to have your child or teen eager about something than milling around with nothing to do. As such, invest some time this summer to find something your child enjoys, whether it’s sports, art, music, dance, theater, or a range of other activities.
A new hobby or summer activity serves double duty: it helps your kid get connected and participate in doing something you love, and (a plus-side for parents) it might just wear them out enough to stay out of trouble around the house.
There’s always lots of volunteer work to do around the summer, and including your kids is a great way to prepare them with a mindset of generosity for adulthood. Whether you and your kids serve at an animal shelter, participate in public cleanups, or just root through the house for old toys, clothes, and unneeded belongings, taking time out of your summer schedule to help others is always appreciated, sets a positive example, and keeps your kids out of trouble.
Some examples of places where teens can volunteer include the following:
- Volunteering at a library
- Helping a local food bank
- Assisting a local soup kitchen
- Volunteering for a nonprofit that delivers meals and services to the homeless
- Tutoring younger students
- Helping at a nursing home
- Volunteering at an animal shelter
- Cleaning and maintaining local parks
- Participate in walkathons
These volunteer efforts get kids, particularly teens, involved in their community and provide additional outlets for young people to discover their passions and develop a mindset of community involvement.
Something fun for the whole family, arts and crafts can help kids get in touch with their artsy side. There are lots of different craft ideas available for very little to no input cost that you can use to engage your kids. For younger kids especially, simple projects are a great approach to stave off boredom and promote hands-on learning. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon to avoid having your kids bouncing around the house.
For teens and older kids, getting connected in the community is the most significant deterrent to risky behavior. Frequently, teens are overwhelmed with a sense of loneliness as they go through adolescence, feeling as if no one understands their inner turmoil. A spark of interest or a connection with a group that has similar interests can make a teen feel validated in a group setting and connect them with a positive community to help them grow.
Whether it’s your local house of worship, a teen community center, or a community service organization with an emphasis on including teen volunteers, there are several options to help teens discover their passions, get connected with a community, and feel less alone. These factors don’t determine a teen’s individual life choices, but they can help reduce the risk of dangerous or harmful behaviors.
To this point, it’s little surprise that teen rehabilitation centers focus on this exact effort: finding connections. Whether it’s through music, sport, or other creative outlets, these centers idealize socialization, community, and passion as the best tools to prevent recidivism. These efforts suggest that forging connections is one of the most critical parts of a teen’s social development and transition into adulthood.
Spend Time with Them
The most fundamental underlying principle behind all of these methods is spending time with your children, whether they’re younger or starting to exert their independence.
Children need approval from their parents, and lining up activities to fill their time productively is a labor of love, though they might not initially appreciate it. With that in mind, a better question than “How can I keep my kids out of trouble?” might be, “How can I help my kids grow into ethical, independent, and community-minded adults?”
Your primary responsibility as a parent is to demonstrate these virtues in your own life; moreover, you must show them unconditional love, regardless of their downfalls. Such is the way of parenting, and demonstrating your love and pride in your children is the most essential way to help them transition from childhood to adulthood.
The Bottom Line
Summertime is fast approaching, which means that kids will be out of school and complaining that they’re bored in no time. Whether you have a young child or an independent teen, there are many ways you can help them fill their time productively to avoid risky or harmful behaviors.
Take some time to explore activities they might enjoy, use your resources to help out the community through volunteering, and, most importantly, spend time with them throughout the summer. Doing so can help focus their time on helpful and uplifting activities to stay out of trouble during the summer months.