How to Get Your Teen Out of The House
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Summer Escape1 of 9
By Alison Singh Gee
Now that it’s the middle of summer, teens may be itching for some activities to keep them occupied. There are a number of positive ways to encourage your budding young adult to engage with the world, even stretch his or her wings just a bit, that don’t involve mindless video games or require expensive camp tuition. We talked to Erika Stalder, author of 97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School, to get some inspiration.
Idea #1: Dine Out2 of 9
Create an al fresco dinner party club. With a couple friends, teens can take turns transforming their backyards into stylish outdoor dining dens (think twinkle lights, low tables, colorful placemats). Create an easy but fun menu with items such as personal pizzas and grilled veggies, sparkling soda mocktails and homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches.
Idea #2: Hit The Road3 of 9
A mini road trip "provides adventure without stress, high gas costs and parental freakouts," says Stalder. Help your teen and a couple of his or her friends pick a destination (within 90 miles) that they’ve always wanted to check out. Help them pack snacks and water, maps, cell phones, an emergency kit and lots of great tunes. Be sure they hit the road early and return before sundown.
Idea #3: Bond With Family4 of 9
"Encourage your teen to take different family members out on a dates," suggests Stalder. Give your teen a small weekly stipend and allow him or her to surprise a family member, like a grandma, aunt or new brother-in-law, with a one-on-one outing, whether that means a park picnic, a bike ride to Starbucks, or a matinee followed by dessert.
Idea #4: Volunteer5 of 9
Perhaps your teen has a hobby or interest that can be translated into doing good, or a possible job. Is he or she curious about how an animal shelter works? How a professional photographer captures epic images? Help your child find a way to spend time with experts to explore what interests him. He or she might just find a passion that could later become a career. "When you try new things, possibilities are endless," says Stalder.
Idea #5: Get Reel6 of 9
"If your teen fancies herself the next Sofia Coppola, she can write a script, get her friends together and make her film," says Stalder, who suggest calling on the help of editing tools like iMovie or ProTools. (Some cameras also have their own editing tools.) Your teen could also provide a family favor by recording a family member’s wedding or a neighborhood barbecue.
Idea #6: Learn7 of 9
Summer is a great time for your teen to take a class in something he or she has always wanted to try. She could learn to sew a sundress (fabric stores have classes), change her car’s oil (try a community college class), speak Spanish (Bing "language lessons" in your city) or draw anime comic books (check out art store classes). If she devotes the next 90 days to mastering a craft, then by the end of summer, she should be a real pro.
Idea #7: Set a Goal8 of 9
Both active and not-so-active teens alike can try to set (and meet!) a physical challenge like mountain biking, competitive swimming or hiking to the summit of a local mountain. "Not only will testing his body’s limits feel good," says Stalder, "but setting a specific goal and reaching it, while communing with nature, feels even better. Who knows? This activity may be something your teen keeps doing for the rest of his life!"
Idea #8: Star Gaze9 of 9
Your teen can download maps of the stars (the ones in the sky, not Hollywood), then use a telescope or high-powered binoculars to check out such constellations as Scorpio, Orion or Ursa Major (the Great Bear). "Learning the constellations turns looking at the night sky into a whole new experience," says Stalder. For extra incentive, she adds, "your teen can use his new knowledge to impress someone special during a summer night walk under the stars."
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