Summer break is right around the corner! With teens being out of class and with little to do, they’ll be looking for something fun to pass the time and enjoy the season with their friends. That said, while there are many activities that are fun and healthy, there’s a real risk of kids turning to substances and other concerning and addictive behaviors. They might feel pressured to binge drink and consume addictive substances with their friends or stay at home and scroll through social media until it becomes a cell phone addiction. While it’s important to provide teens with the freedom and ability to do the things they want, it’s essential to provide certain rules to keep them safe. If you’re looking for ways to keep your teen occupied and out of trouble during the summer break, we have a few suggestions you can try.
Are teens more likely to suffer from addiction?
While there’s no conclusive evidence about how addiction affects teens, we do know that those who begin consuming substances and engaging in addictive behaviors at a younger age puts them at a higher risk of developing substance abuse disorder (SUD). There are some studies that suggest that while teenagers might be more susceptible to high-risk drug use, the withdrawal symptoms are less strong — which highlights the importance of dealing with substance use issues early on individually or as a family.
One recent trend that has been gaining traction is regarding smartphone and social media use. In a recent study published by the National Institute of Health, around one-fourth of the adolescents polled were addicted to social media. While the effects of social media addiction aren’t certain, spending hours seeing a curated and edited highlight reel of someone’s life can cause feelings of depression, anxiety and low-self esteem. In order to reduce the likelihood of social media addiction in teens, rather than prohibiting it altogether, setting timers, educating them on healthy social media habits, offering them something fun to do and keeping an eye out for concerning behaviors can go a long way!
Activities that your teen can participate in during summer break
There are so many camps, programs and activities out there, so you’re bound to find something that they’ll enjoy. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider:
- Join a summer program: There are many after-school and summer programs they can attend that focus on different things, like the Clubhouse by Ashley.
- Find them a summer job: Whether it’s with a local restaurant or being an apprentice, a job will teach your teen valuable life skills and build a sense of accomplishment every time they receive a paycheck. Take this opportunity to teach them about taxes and managing their finances!
- Do volunteer work: There’s nothing quite like the feeling of giving back to the community! Volunteer work can help bring your family together, cultivate a feeling of gratitude and community and teach them about important social issues. It also doesn’t hurt to put on a college application!
- Plan a fun vacation itinerary: Since school is out and the weather is warm and sunny, it’s a great time to do fun activities both outside – or staying indoors. You can plan a fun family vacation so you can spend time together exploring somewhere new.
While teenage substance use is a sad reality for many, you can take steps to educate your kids and give them fun things to do so they can stay safe and meet like-minded people that will keep them walking on a healthy path.