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What does a 14 y.o. kid do during summer break?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Pretend I haven't been parenting children for 18 years already.  bag.gif  This is something I've never mastered.

 

You've got a 14 year old child.  He's got a week of band camp coming up, but that's not till August.  He's got taekwondo, but that's in the evening, a couple days a week. You don't mind if he sleeps in a couple days a week. You don't mind some mindless video game time.  But that kind of thing needs to take up a small percentage of the day. You're a sahm.  You want him to get together with friends regularly.

 

What would you suggest he do with his time?

 

I have some ideas but I want to hear yours first. 

post #2 of 17
lol! Not sure but i'd love answers from people who have it figured out! My oldest is only 12 and it isn't an issue this summer because we are taking a family trip for 7.5 weeks. Here are a few things I have in mind for the next few years though-

Food Project- our local CSA that runs a leadership program incorporated into the food growing, selling and serving. This is a paid position.

Youth Conservation Corp- Good program that really puts the kids to work. I learned so much during my summer of YCC. This is a paid position.

Park and Rec- Camp counselor/CIT

Hospital Volunteer- Our local hospital has a well established program for 8/9/10th graders to volunteer. Basically they transport patients around the hospital. They have to talk to lots of people, greet them, etc. Make small talk, or read body language that the person doesn't want to talk, etc. No $.

School- In high school they can pay a bit to take courses over the summer. Things like gym, to get it out of the way. Or more serious subjects they either want to take AP or are struggling in.


We often take long family trips just to avoid the whole, "what are we doing this summer" question or the daily, "Can I use a screen now?" question! Good luck!
post #3 of 17
What are his interests? And he will likely want time doing nothing, after nine months of school.
post #4 of 17

I would be inclined to let him do what he chooses (within reason of course), with some added responsibilities around the house to balance things out.  

 

My 13yo has chores during the summer which we do not ask of her during the school year.  I don't allow much screen time (as in TV/ netflix).  She watches her little brothers on the days I need her to (which isn't much).  Other than that, she is pretty much free to spend her time as she chooses. 

 

I think it's important to let kids decompress from the school year and just have the freedom to be.  

 

Are you asking because he is asking for things to do over the summer?  

 

I know my kid does tend to get a little bored right around mid-july.  I told her I would look into an art class or perhaps a dance class for her, but I'm only doing it because she is asking for it.  I don't personally feel the need to schedule activities and stuff for her during her off time.

post #5 of 17

I would also start with his interests. 

 

It can be a tough age - too old for a lot of scheduled day camps etc. and too young for part-time work. 

 

My kids had friends who became involved with the swim team at the local pool in the summers. They trained a few times a week and competed at least once a week. In addition, they spent a lot of time before and after just hanging out at the pool. It seemed to take up a fair amount of their time in a good combination of scheduled/relaxed time.  Unfortunately, it didn't interest my own kids.  A few of those kids went on to become lifeguards and had good summer jobs a few years later. 

 

Is he at all interested in gardening? If you don't have space, maybe you could find an allotment.  Community gardens are often looking for volunteers this time of year too. Or offer his services in the neighbourhood for lawn care etc. 

 

Mother's helper? Lots of SAHMs would appreciate some help for a couple of hours per day during the summer. 

post #6 of 17

volunteer someplace. Some of the cool things are already filled up, but our library is still taking kids.

 

spend a little time addressing an area of academic weakness -- not a lot of time. Just a little.

 

Attend a day camp related to an area of interest -- such as robotics, programming, anime, etc.

 

Swim. And then swim more. winky.gif

 

read. draw. play with the pets.

 

I find that my social teen spends a lot of time on line with her friends -- it's not all mindless games. Some of it is playing games WITH friends on-line, or skyping while surfing silly internet sites and laughing at the jokes together.

 

I agree about decompressing -- especially if your teen has a heavy school load

post #7 of 17

I have that problem too.  The past two years when dd was 13 and 14 she was a CIT (counselor In Training) - this year we tried to find work for her but the laws limit the 15 year olds to what they can do.  So, she will be a CIT again but at a Y camp.  I figure - she's outside all day, swimming and being run ragged by little kids.  She'll be tan and tired.  This is a good thing.  At the end of the Summer we'll try and see if she can get a $$ job at a DQ or local Ice cream place (as college kids leave) - this way she'll have a paying job next summer.  This age is hard, they can't drive and they're too old for a lot of stuff but too young for other activities.

post #8 of 17

It's a tough age. Many states will not allow a kid to work for pay until 15+ (and many of THOSE jobs are taken by adults who need work), and many of the volunteer opportunities that we had no longer take kids <18. Our local hospitals no longer have candy-stripers - they are all adults volunteers or interns w/HS programs. Our animal shelters went from taking 16+, to 18+, and now 21+ - they have too many people wanting to volunteer. Some assisted living communities still allow kids to come and read/interact with the residents. Our library is on a "who you know" basis only - if you don't have an in? Forget it. A lot of our summer camps (even Town Rec) will not take kids as CITs until 16. Counselors are mostly college kids.

 

At 14, my son spent his summer working on music (playing, composing, learning theory) and helping my parents with stuff they needed done around the house. At 15, he got a job at Six Flags. My daughter, at 14, parlayed her dog-sitting for the neighbors into some gigs in the neighborhood walking/watching pets while their owners were on vacation, out for a long day, etc. As well as volunteering with several beach conservation groups through her school. 

post #9 of 17

Both of my girls - ages 7 and 14, go to summer camp at the YMCA.  They take kids up to age 15.

I work full time so I'm glad there's somewhere for my eldest to go to.  Otherwise she'd probably be watching TV or surfing the web all day.

 

The summer camps in my area hire teens as camp counselors.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortune Teller View Post

I would be inclined to let him do what he chooses (within reason of course), with some added responsibilities around the house to balance things out.  

 

My 13yo has chores during the summer which we do not ask of her during the school year.  I don't allow much screen time (as in TV/ netflix).  She watches her little brothers on the days I need her to (which isn't much).  Other than that, she is pretty much free to spend her time as she chooses. 

 

I think it's important to let kids decompress from the school year and just have the freedom to be.  

 

Are you asking because he is asking for things to do over the summer?  

 

I know my kid does tend to get a little bored right around mid-july.  I told her I would look into an art class or perhaps a dance class for her, but I'm only doing it because she is asking for it.  I don't personally feel the need to schedule activities and stuff for her during her off time.

 

 

I completely agree.  The kids and I all need to decompress from the stress of relentlessly going, going, going during the school year.  He'll still have plenty of time to decompress. He isn't asking for things to do, but it's clear that after even a weekend of tv and internet and video games only, he is bored. He gets peevish and sad and wiggly and nutty. I figure it's my job to suggest and insist on some activities. 

 

There's a Junior Lifeguard program that would be excellent, if it isn't already full. I picked up a library volunteer application yesterday.  There is a parents/teen ceramics class, I'll ask him if that would interest him.

 

We've got a badly neglected gym membership.  I think he, his sister and I could commit to going a couple days a week. 

 

That Youth Conservation Corp looks really fantastic, but he's too young. Perhaps next year.

 

I'm looking into volunteering both kids and myself for the food closet a few times this summer.

 

He's really too irresponsible to be a camp counselor yet.  But that Counselor in Training at the pool sounds like a good possibility.

 

Great point about hanging online with friends.  He does that frequently. I also want to help him get together with them face to face a few times. Maybe bowling or cheap movies. This one is really important, because I know he misses his friends, gets lonely and feels like he's out of the loop. 

 

I'll ask him if he'd be willing to do some math catch-up periodically, too. 

 

The school district used to have a wonderful summer school program. But all but the most necessary classes have been eliminated.  Pre-algebra and algebra and other classes for juniors in danger of not graduating.

 

I would really, really like to go on a long trip. We did this every summer when I was growing up, but dh and I haven't been able to afford anything like it for about 5 years. It just kills me.  But, there are day trips we can make.

 

Thank you, these are some good ideas!  Share more if you think of them. 

post #11 of 17

good for me to read all your answers ... will be giving me ideas for DD1, just turned 14

although in Europe, young people don't get opportunities to volunteer as much as in the USA, it's a culture thing really ...

 

so far, with younger siblings (now 12 and 6) in past summers i usually tried to arrange at least 2 playdates per week in a local park with friends, with or without a picnic, sometimes to a paddling pool ...

 

am keeping in mind that this winter, DD1 asked me after a holiday "please Mom, arrange ALSO playdates with kids OVER 7 !!!!"

it had been easier for me to keep on doing what we were used to doing ....

 

as a result, DD1 is going to be enrolled for a week in a day camp where they do a different sport each half day & with a friend she was at school with with when she was 3, 4 and 5 (now in a different school) with whom we kept in touch

 

am also planning to get DD1 and DS (12) to use a program to learn to touch type during the summer (i started DD1 on that 2 years ago but then i fell ill and let it drop after a few months)

+ am going to try and come up with an individual detailed list of chores that i would like them to get used to doing on a regular basis, AND implement it (i want it written so that i don't have to nag, they would refer to the list instead .... i tried 2 years ago but the list concept wouldn't work, they would argue no end about who got to do what etc .... so i've been instead calling for help at random times in the meantime .....)

 

there was a topic discussed last year about what qualities, traits, skills one would like one's children to acquire when growing up .... am going to try and find it again & try to get some ideas of general goals to aim towards, & see what type of activities we could do during the summer to help us reach those goals ... (budgetting for food for a week ?)

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post
Great point about hanging online with friends.  He does that frequently. I also want to help him get together with them face to face a few times. Maybe bowling or cheap movies. This one is really important, because I know he misses his friends, gets lonely and feels like he's out of the loop. 

 

The school district used to have a wonderful summer school program. But all but the most necessary classes have been eliminated.  Pre-algebra and algebra and other classes for juniors in danger of not graduating.

 

 

My kids are in a group that meets weekly and watches a movie in one of their homes. It's cheap because its just pizza and a movie. The same kid pretty much always hosts, and they have a facebook group to keep track of the plan. They also sometimes go see movie openings together. The weekly things holds the group together.

 

Both my kids are taking summer classes this year. My DD in highschool is getting a requirement out of the way so she has more room next year to take what she wants, and my college DD is taking a class she is very interested in. Both are on-line courses, so they aren't helping with the you-really-oughta-get-up-and-leave-the-house-and-interact-with-the-3D-people that so many of us moms of teens are concerned about.

post #13 of 17

My kids use summer as a time to dive into the activities they love but don't have as much time for during the school year. My eldest likes to pack her summers with activities and social time. In her case, I have to remind her to schedule in some down time. My youngest always says he wants to do "nothing" all summer but a week into break, he's climbing the walls and is sorry that he didn't plan anything. In his case, we encourage him to continue his year round activities and require he pick a couple camps or intensive programs in areas of interest (and he's always grateful.)

 

This summer DD 16 is working as a camp aide part-time, performing in a musical, taking a college course, taking an acting intensive camp and working on her college applications. I know she'll be spending a lot of time with friends and her new boyfriend. DD 12 is doing a show, taking a theatre camp, a robotics camp and then continuing with piano, tae kwon do and basketball (which are once a week activities except basketball at twice a week.) 

 

So, I'm all for balance. It's great to have those weeks where you can stay in your jammies and futz around. My own kids don't enjoy 10 weeks of it straight though. For them, just getting to sleep in most of the summer and only do things they are excited about is break enough.

post #14 of 17

You mentioned bowling - There is a free summer bowling opportunity I heard about last year:

 

http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/

 

You sign up and get an e-mail each week with the free bowling coupon.
 

post #15 of 17

Our situation is a little different in that I'm a WOHM (so no transportation during the day) and my 13 YO has a 10 YO little sister, but here is what my 13 YO has lined up:

 

2 weeks of "just hanging around the house" -- this will be our first experiment in letting them stay home on their own during the day.  I expect that these days will be a combination of sleeping in, video games/TV, playing with the dog, walking to the Y to swim and going to friend's houses.  They will also have a few more chores to do than they do during the school year and will need to get the summer reading the school assigns done.  My 10 YO will probably spend most of this time doing crafty things as well.  I expect the house to be an absolute disaster each day when I get home!

 

3 weeks of sleep away camp -- rock climbing, horseback riding, general

 

3 weeks of day camp -- video game design, lazer tag, fencing

 

1 week of family summer vacation

 

This is always the time of year when I wish I were a kid again since they spend their summer doing all sorts of cool activities which I never had the chance to do. 

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Fencing!  I nearly forgot, there's a fencing class ds could take. I'll have to mention that, too. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaFrench View Post

+ am going to try and come up with an individual detailed list of chores that i would like them to get used to doing on a regular basis, AND implement it (i want it written so that i don't have to nag, they would refer to the list instead .... i tried 2 years ago but the list concept wouldn't work, they would argue no end about who got to do what etc .... so i've been instead calling for help at random times in the meantime .....)

 

 

 

I did this.  It helped that I made separate lists for each kid.  It really helped me to put it in writing, so I know remember what the kids and I agreed to.  I think for the summer I'll add a couple more responsibilities.  Maybe a dinner each once a week. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragana View Post

You mentioned bowling - There is a free summer bowling opportunity I heard about last year:

 

http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/

 

You sign up and get an e-mail each week with the free bowling coupon.
 

 

 

Whoa! That's pretty cool!

post #17 of 17
My kid is just finishing 6th grade, but has been volunteering during the summer and doing a couple of camps. She is at the age where she is a little old for many camps, but I found some cool ones for older kids and teens in my area, like filmmaking and cooking classes geared towards 12-17. There is a film camp in my city that gives kids the opportunity to submit the finished product to a festival with cash prizes (what kid doesn't like money?) and a lot of other internship type opportunities where they can make a little cash. DD volunteers for a school that has summer programs for young kids with disabilities to keep them prepared for fall, and she loves it. Last year, she was helping with a class of 3-5 year old visually impaired students who would be starting pre-K or Kinder in the fall, and she loved it. She is also on swim team in the summer, most public pools offer swim team pretty cheap ($50 a month and meets 1 hour a day every weekday for 8 weeks) which would definitely help him become a lifeguard for money next summer if that's something he's interested in.
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