Spring break: It’s a week off from school during what is often during the nicest weather of the year. Most parents need to work during spring break, so this means that your teenager might be completely unattended during this time. Summer jobs don’t usually extend to weeklong breaks, so what can you suggest to your teen to help them keep out of trouble and, at the same time, away from staring at a screen for 10 hours per day? Here are eight fun and healthy ways for teenagers to spend their spring break.
#1 Babysitting Younger Children
The elementary school children in your district are off the same week as your high-schooler, so offering to babysit could be a way for your teen to make some money while also helping a parent who doesn’t have childcare arranged. If your teen isn’t a fan of young children, many parents of middle schoolers aren’t keen on leaving their kids home alone all week but also might not have a better option. Your teenager could hang out with a pre-teen and make a few bucks for their efforts.
#2 Volunteering for the Week of Spring Break
There are many worthy causes that your teen might be passionate about, and he or she might be able to find a local or online volunteer opportunity to help one of those organizations or causes. Volunteering comes with a wide range of benefits. First, of course, it helps someone else. It also can keep your teen out of trouble, provide them with some adult supervision, and improve their self-esteem. They might make new friends and keep in mind that volunteering helps to round out college applications. Your teen might even get some real-world experience that will help them later when it’s time to pursue a career. Have your teen narrow down what interests them and look in the community for ways that they can help.
#3 Go on a College Tour
If you are off from work or your teen has the opportunity to go with another family, a college tour is a great way to spend part of their spring break. They might choose to visit a couple of local schools or the tour might entail flying or driving to a different part of the country to visit campuses in another state. This can even be a good idea for teens who might not be college-bound; sometimes when a teen sees what’s available in terms of campuses and majors, they change their mind and decide to give it a try after all.
#4 Work on Scholarship Applications
If your teen is college-bound, chances are good that you will be encouraging them to apply for any and all scholarships that might reduce your out-of-pocket expenses (or their school loans!). Spring break is a good time to work on these applications. Sometimes it can be tedious and will push their time management skills, but if it’s interspersed with relaxation and, let’s be honest, a couple of Netflix binges, filling out applications and writing essays can be more manageable and even an interesting diversion. After all, there’s only so much TV that a teen can watch without getting bored.
#5 Apply for Summer Jobs
If you live in an area with a large tourist population or amusement centers, now is a good time to start applying for summer jobs. As college students begin to come home in May, many of them will be applying for those very same jobs, so your teen could get ahead of the crowd and start putting in applications now for the most desirable jobs. While many adolescents aren’t excited about flipping burgers all summer, they might not mind working if they can score a job as a lifeguard or manning the waterslide at a local amusement park. Another job that teens should start applying for now is to be a camp counselor; these positions tend to fill up quickly and work starts the week after school lets out for the summer.
#6 Visit Faraway Family
If you have relatives in other states, spring break is a good time for your teen to go to visit. With most airlines, 15- or 16-year-olds can fly alone as an adult; younger kids often need to go as an unaccompanied minor, which is a service provided for a fee. While you might not find your hometown exciting, it’s likely that your teen will find fun things to do in the area, particularly if their grandparents or an aunt and uncle can show off the surroundings. It’s a low-cost vacation for your teen (and a break for you).
#7 Host a Camp at Home
Something that your teen might enjoy is hosting a weeklong day camp for the neighborhood kids. The theme can vary each day or it could be a common theme that runs all week. Young kids might enjoy doing a week’s worth of science experiments and exploration, learning about Ancient Rome, delving deep into the world of Harry Potter, or participating in a home-based sports camp. Your teen will probably need some help planning this and it works best when several teens work together to think of activities and provide adequate supervision to the children.
#8 Spend Time With Friends
Of course, it’s likely that your teenager will want to spend some time kicking back, relaxing, and spending time with their friends. Rather than letting them simply hang out at homes where there are no adults home, try to find out which friends have a stay-at-home parent who can keep an eye on things, at least sporadically. Another option is to encourage the teens to plan activities, or outings such as bowling, mini-golf, or if the weather is warm enough, the beach.
Keeping your teen safe and entertained during spring break can be a challenge, but with a handful of ideas to present to your child, chances are good that they’ll agree that something sounds fun. It’s okay if they want to simply stay home and play video games one or two of the days, but encourage them to do something that will keep their minds and bodies busy for at least some of their spring break.