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For teens, summertime is no time to slow down

June 17, 2009

Now that school’s out, many elementary schoolers will head off to sleepaway or day camp to spend their summers doing anything from arts and crafts to playing capture the flag.  And while these are great ways to keep younger kids occupied during the day, their older counterparts tend to be less interested in camping out and more interested in sleeping in.

An all purpose summer camp isn't the only way for older kids to stay active over the school break.

An all purpose summer camp isn't the only way for older kids to stay active over the school break.

What can parents do to make sure their teens and tweens stay just as active over the summer?  Brian Daly, a child psychologist at Temple’s College of Health Professions, says that exploring ways to bring out a child’s interests is a good start. 

“For adolescents, the summer is different – mostly due to their advanced developmental stage, so general summer camps may be replaced by more specialized camps, like those for sports, art or acting.”

For those that are of age, Daly suggests getting a job.  “Either part-time or full-time,” he says.  “They can also start looking for volunteering opportunities, since some high schools require community service hours to graduate. And take advantage of academic opportunities that may also arise – such as SAT prep classes, or specialized science courses.”

And, even though it may be tempting to be a bit more lax during the summer months, Daly says it’s critical for parents to be just as vigilant, if not moreso, about where kids are and who they’re with.

“The summer period for adolescents can represent an ‘increased risk’ period for things like sexual behavior or substance use, so parents may need to enforce rules not previously employed.”

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