Summer Activities That Will Benefit Your Teen News2america

A parent of younger students recently wrote in a viral Facebook post about how her summer plan for her children was for them to do “literally nothing.”

But it’s OK for parents of teens to have expectations and require them to do something productive over the summer, says Katharine Reid, K-12 school counseling systems specialist for Franklin Public Schools in Wisconsin.

However, that plan may include nonacademic activities with academic benefits that could help teens make the high school honor roll come fall.

For example, teens could complete community service, get a job, go to camp and fulfill family responsibilities – all great ways for students to develop as people and have fun, says Reid, a former high school counselor and 2016 Wisconsin School Counselor of the Year.

Teens could also pursue creative endeavors such as those described by a Twitter user to U.S. News.

“The idea of balance is so important,” says Reid. “Sometimes we can overemphasize the academics,” she says, but nonacademic activities are highly valuable and can shape good workers, learners and people.

Some students may benefit from summer academic work to combat learning loss, she says. But that could involve quasi-academic activities like reading to children while baby-sitting or participating in the local library’s summer reading program.

Reid tells parents that through nonacademic activities this summer, students can develop key social-emotional skills, such as self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills and social awareness.

Working, volunteering and baby-sitting can allow students to work on their responsibility, leadership, commitment, confidence, customer service, and time and money management skills.

Responsibility is especially important, says Reid, a National Board Certified Teacher. In both high school and college, students will need to think about their peers in addition to their own academic work.

Many students ask high school counselors what they can do over the summer to help them get into college, she says.

The specific activities are important. But students can also use the social-emotional skills they develop through these experiences to reflect on who they are and their purpose to shape college applications.

For some students, family responsibilities, like taking care of younger siblings or the home, are the main item on their agenda – and those kinds of experiences are highly valued in the college admissions process, she says.

Still, some teens have just started summer break, and parents may have realized students have nothing structured to do over the summer – and that’s OK. There’s still time for families to sit down and come up with a summer plan.

But that plan should include some downtime.

“Just to be bored, it’s a good thing,” she says. Boredom can sometimes help students figure out what they want to do in their life.

Research shows there’s a lot of pressure on students to accomplish things and that can create stress, Reid says.

But if students learn how to de-stress, that can help them manage things differently when they are under academic pressure during the school year.

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