When working with teens on goal-setting and the college planning process, I also work with them on making arrangements for summer. The key point of our discussions is that what you do is not as important as why you do it. Students have the time and access to so many amazing opportunities! With a little planning, organization and forethought, the summer can be a time to gain skills, earn money, explore passions and learn about themselves, as well as spend time with family and friends.
1. Pursue a passion. If you have always wanted to learn sign language, or make homemade pasta, there are podcasts, community and online classes, and learning opportunities available in person and in the virtual world to learn more about many, many areas of interest. Encouraging students to learn about topics and hobbies that are intriguing, demonstrates intellectual curiosity and might spark a newfound interest or career path! Parents can support teens or even set a great example by pursuing a passion of their own!
2. Self-Improvement. Asking students, "Who do you want to be at the end of the summer?" sets them on a path of self-improvement. Sometimes a very driven student wants to read a certain number of books, become better at time management or work a certain number of hours per week. Adults can assist students who are very goal-oriented by talking through these specifics and making sure the goals are age-appropriate. Teens may also need guidance or encouragement throughout the summer to help them reach the goals that were set.
3. Don't forget free time! Enjoying social time with friends, family vacations or being able to sleep in once in a while are the reasons everyone loves summer vacation. Students can become very busy trying to fit everything in and may need assistance with scheduling along the way.
Planning early and having the teen take the lead are both key elements for having productive and balanced summer for teens.