How to Help Students have a Productive and Fun Summer
Play this Episode by Clicking Below
How to Help your Kids have a Productive and Fun Summer - Episode 037
Worried that your teen is going to waste their summer break? Are they too old for summer camps? What options do older kids have other than unlimited Netflix binges? In this episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue, we discuss the options teens and tweens have to have a productive summer break. Some of these options are voluntary learning experiences and some…well some might be the result of your kiddo not doing too well during the school year.
What are your Summer Break Plans?
It’s May 15. School’s almost over! So, I thought we could start the talk about our kiddos and summer vacation, because I sure don’t want them sitting on their rumps all summer, doin nothing.
Of course, there’s time to have fun and relax, but let’s think of some ideas for activities that kiddos might take part in on their summer vacation that might inspire them to find out what some of their passions are. Let’s talk about opportunities – and forced opportunities that you might be looking at with your kiddos this summer.
But first, I want to give a shout out to my students this year. You guys are doing amazing, and I know it’s coming to the end of the year, and that’s when you sputter out a little bit. Keep fighting! You guys are almost there. To the teachers out there- you’re almost there, keep up the great work!
To make the taste of summer sweeter, let’s talk about some of the things our kiddos can look at doing this summer to think about what they want to do when they get big. The focus of this episode is how students might be able to use the time to do two things: relax and better themselves as human beings.
Volunteering Opportunities for Tweens and Teens
Whether your child is in second grade or in college, this is a great option, because giving back not only takes us away from the “me, me, me” mentality, but it can still help you learn about yourself. It’s a way to help your child get perspective on what life is like outside of their bubble of friends and family.
My go-to resource is volunteermatch.org. This website taps into the things you can do in your own community. It breaks opportunities down by area you want to get involved in, and by age. There are opportunities – and I know that sometimes it can be difficult - parents say “My kid’s too young,” and “there’s never anything for them to get involved in.” But, Volunteer Match does find opportunities for all ages. Some options might include assembling snack packs, or working with animals at an adoption event. The point is, there are opportunities to get involved.
The other great thing about Volunteer Match is that they offer virtual opportunities too. Not everyone has the opportunity to drive kids somewhere to volunteer; some parents are working, some don’t have access to transportation. You kids will be able to volunteer from the comfort of your own home.
Benefits of volunteering include:
It teaches respect;
It teaches giving back;
It teaches team work;
It also teaches time management.
If you are looking for a way to give back in some way, don’ think you’re limited. For example, if you’re interested in volunteering for Habitat, don’t think you’re limited to construction. All of these nonprofit organizations have multiple pieces. If you’re interested in photography, maybe you can take photographs for their newsletter, website or social media.
If you like creating websites, maybe there’s an organization in your area that has a website that could use some extra love. Maybe you can help develop it. Think of all the opportunities: you’re a young kid, and you have the chance to work on a big web development project, or social media project, and that’s because you volunteered!
Do you like to write? Maybe there’s an organization that needs help writing their newsletters or copy for a fundraising campaign.
If you don’t find anything that speaks to you on Volunteer Match, start with a Google search of nonprofit organizations in your area. Tell them what you have to offer. It’s probably something really cool and outside the box. Don’t think for a second that they don’t want you – They do. They just don’t KNOW they want you. So, tell them who you are and what you have to offer and how you’re going to do it.
If you need help figuring out what that might look like, email me – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll figure it out together.
It’s the same thing I tell students who don’t fit into the cookie cutter school system: You have to kick down the door and make your own opportunity – SO GO DO IT!
Job Hunting for Teenagers and Middle School Students
I don’t care if you’re 10, you can go to work. If you’re on the younger side, it might look like reaching out to your neighbors with your parents’ help.
Maybe you can walk their dog while they’re on vacation. Maybe you can water their plants. Maybe you can start a lawn mowing service.
Summer is a good time to start bringing in the Benjamins and then learning how to save them so you don’t have terrible money management skills.
If you’re older try:
Don’t assume that just because you’re young, you don’t have something to offer. Start reaching out in a professional manner to your parents and their friends to see if there’s something you can do this summer. Do you like little kids? If you live in a family-friendly neighborhood, maybe you can organize a readers club or activities to help kids. Again, if you need help coming up with ideas, email me! I love this kind of thing!
If your child is looking to babysit consider looking at taking the red cross babysitting program! You can find information by clicking here
Some might be looking at summer school because maybe you didn’t have the best year. You can’t avoid it; it’s just where you are. Parents, sometimes it’s not as bad as it seems. Some students go to summer school and flourish, which makes parents want to think: What’s in the school year environment that makes them struggle? Get curious. Could it be the social aspect? Is it because the sessions are online?
If you aren’t going to summer school because of a low grade or a failing grade over the school year, you might look at virtual school. There are a ton of opportunities. But first, make sure the classes you choose aren’t going to destroy your GPA. Make sure you’re going into it with the right intentions and that you’re actually going to build your GPA.
What you don’t want to have happen is something that screws up your college trajectory. Talk to your counselor. Talk to your teachers about what a good plan might be. Talk to them about taking classes to explore your passions. Maybe there’s a non-degree college class you could try to see how you vibe with the college intensity. There are so many opportunities to learn. Use the summer to learn about things you want to learn about, not what the school says you have to.
If you’re one of those students who says they don’t need college because they’re planning on being the next Sir Richard Branson, it couldn’t hurt to find a reputable program that could help build skills you’ll need later – like marketing and accounting.
Start your College Search
If you’re traveling and you’re traveling, why not stop by colleges near your travels?
For students who are just starting high school, it’s a good time to research programs that you might like to study. Let the summer be that time to have the conversation about what college entails and how to pay for it. Make a list of classes that get you where you need to go.
If you’re a senior, start working on your essay. You don’t want to wait until the last minute!
You’ve earned it! The school year is hard. We’re dealing with missing work, low test scores, high test scores, bad teachers, awesome teachers, detention, suspension and everything in between.
Take some time to relax a little. Enjoy your family and shut your brain off. Get your battery recharged and ready for the next year.
It doesn’t matter if your child has had an amazingly hard or amazingly awesome school year. They need to take some unwind time BUT let’s use this break to gain a skill, evaluate their learning habits and grow as a human being. I am super excited to offer my course The Organized School Year™ this summer. It helps your child create and take ownership of an organization system that works for THEIR BRAINS.
Volunteer opportunities for teens and middle school students
What to do if your child is in summer school
Job hunting for teenagers
Summer vacation college search
Marni Pasch| Host of School Counselor Gone Rogue| Academic Coach | Team Pasch Academic Coaching
I work with students in grades 6th and higher, who struggle with academic confidence and motivation. I help them survive school with less stress by helping them create concrete goals, tackle procrastination and learn creative study techniques. I empower students to take charge of their education and reach their goals. I do this through individual or group coaching so students achieve success in life, school, career readiness and their social endeavors.