Prepping for an Unusual Summer During a Pandemic

Summer 2020 will be unlike any summer your child has ever experienced. Many plans and activities have changed or been cancelled due to fears of spreading COVID-19. Part-time jobs for teens are in short supply. Parents fret over whether sports, pools, theme parks, and other amusements are safe. Camps and youth programs are cancelled or moved to online. Many vacation plans and even educational trips are ruined. So many plans that our teens had for their summer have been scrapped.

Although the change in plans is disappointing, there are still ways to make the most out of summer. Experts remind parents of teens that the primary role of summer is for teens to take a break from school and explore their own interests, consider future plans, and work on their hobbies. Many of these things can still be done this summer. Here are some ideas for making an unusual summer still productive:

Online college courses. Most colleges offer online classes over the summer for high school students. It’s a great way for your teen to earn some college credit that they can transfer to their future school or just to learn something that interests them. An online course provides the added benefit of providing some structure to your teen’s day and keeping them engaged to avoid boredom.

Online classes and camps. Many camps and classes, ranging from art to computer programming, have moved their offerings online. Your teen can use fun online activities to learn something new, discover a new passion, or work on skills needed for something they already love to do.

Sports drills. For teens who love team sports, the pandemic has been particularly devastating. But rather than lay around and mourn the loss of their team, teens can use their backyard or local park to get exercise and fine tune vital skills for their sport. There are tons of online videos circulating from professional athletes and famous coaches that can show your teen how to drill for their sport of interest. Teens often don’t want to put the time into drills, but experts repeatedly say that drills are what really improve a player. Then when sports start back up, your teen will be ready to impress the team!

Become entrepreneurial. Starting a small business demonstrates that a student has a good work ethic and is learning how to work with others, take initiative, manage their time, and adapt to new processes. There are actually several opportunities for teens to make money this summer while still maintaining social distance, including pet care (walking dogs or taking care of pets while families are away), yard work, errand services (if your teen has a car and a face mask), helping senior citizens (with projects or running errands at a social distance), or running an eBay business. Running their own small business is a fantastic resume builder for college or future employment.

Develop skills with a home project. Brainstorm ideas with your teen to improve your home. Perhaps they would like to redesign their bedroom, install a patio in the backyard, organize a closet, or plant a garden. You can pay your teen an hourly rate to act as a project designer, and your teen will gain invaluable hands-on experience and great material for a college essay or job interview.

Volunteer. Serving the community provides youth with so many benefits, such as instilling a good work ethic, developing a sense of purpose and self-confidence, providing new perspective on life and gratitude for what you have, and offering hands-on experience in the real world. Both colleges and future employers love to see community service on a resume because it shows growth, skill development, responsibility, and a willingness to contribute to a better quality of life. If your teen is willing to venture outside your home during the pandemic, they could work at the food bank or deliver meals to the elderly. If they prefer to stay at home, there are virtual volunteer opportunities, such as working for an election campaign or writing letters of encouragement to senior citizens, sick children or members of our military. Some young adults are starting their own initiatives to fill voids they see in their local communities.

Prep for college. If you have a rising senior at home, then this can be the summer of preparing for college. Although campuses are closed, every college has virtual online campus tours that students can use to narrow down their search. Most colleges also post their applications at the end of July or beginning of August, so your teen can begin filling out applications and writing college essays before school begins. Your teen can also use the summer to research scholarship opportunities and apply.

Learn life skills. Before leaving home, every teen needs to learn vital independent living skills in order to be successful as an adult. This summer is a great chance to teach your teen money management and financial literacy, how to read a map, proper health and hygiene, cooking, how to clean and keep a home, and stress management.

Final Thoughts…

This summer may not be what your teen imagined, but it can still offer great opportunities. Talk through options with your teen and find a way to make the most of this unusual season.

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