This post: Why My Teens Need a Break This Summer: 10 Ways I’m Cutting Them Some Slack
Written by: Morgan Hill
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m completely relieved that the school year is over and that my kids and I can finally chill out and regroup for a couple of months.
I swear, with each passing year, the rigor of my kids’ school schedules becomes more and more intense and demanding. Between the daily slog of school, homework, pop quizzes and final exams, sports, volunteering, their job and just plain keeping up with friends and family life, my kids are exhausted… and, frankly, so am I.
That’s why, now that summer is here, we’re all taking the much-needed break we so desperately need. And, that’s why I’m giving my teens the freedom to be kids for the summer. (Imagine that… to be silly and crazy and have fun with their friends!)
I want my kids to experience the kind of nostalgic summer I had growing up. You know, eating ice cream for dinner, coming home from the pool with suntanned faces smelling like chlorine, walking barefoot in the sand, long bike rides, hanging out with friends doing everything and anything, long luxurious naps in the hammock… heck, maybe even experiencing the feeling of actually being bored.
I want them to have a summer where their worries drift away, the weight of the world’s pressures is off their shoulders and they can take a deep breath and just “be.”
Sure, they’ll still have some chores around the house. They’ll still likely take on a part-time job. And, they’ll still find ways to be productive at least some of the time… I’m not giving them the freedom to be total slackers.
What I am doing is giving them the physical and mental break they need. Here’s why my teens need a break this summer and ways I’m cutting them a little slack.
Why My Teens Need a Break This Summer: 10 Ways I’m Cutting Them Some Slack
Catchin’ More Zzzzs
During the school year, my kids are up at the crack of dawn, and considering how late they stay up studying, I know they’re always tired. That’s why I’m cutting my teens a little slack this summer and giving them the freedom to catch up on some much-needed Zzz’s. Will I let them snooze the day away every day? Nope. But do they deserve to enjoy their slumber as long as their body needs it? YES!
TV Time with Friends & Family
When my kids are deep in the throes of the school year, there isn’t much time for them to “just chill.” So yeah… if they want to hunker down in front of the television to catch up on a Netflix series they missed or they want to invite their friends over occasionally for an afternoon of binge-watching and popcorn, you bet I’ll be down for it.
More “Free” Phone Time
The older my kids have gotten the fewer controls I’ve put in place when it comes to cell phone use. After all, it’s not like I’m going to be monitoring their phone use in college – they need to learn to set boundaries themselves. That’s why summertime (for older teens, anyway) is a great time to give them more freedom with their phones. Group texts, talking with friends, making plans and just messing around on their phones – I’m giving my kids a ton more “free” phone time this summer.
Easing Up On Curfew (a Bit)
I tend to be more strict during the school year, but now that summer is here, I’m definitely loosening my grip when it comes to curfew. I’m not giving them free rein, but an hour later means more time to hang with their friends, and boy, do they need that! (They still have to check in with me, though. No room for compromise there.)
One thing I absolutely love about summer is how my family and I shift from planned (stricter) meal times to “chill mode.” Sometimes, we hang out by the pool with sandwiches and snacks for dinner, and other times we plan a big BBQ with all the sides. And, truthfully, so often my kids are out and about with friends or at their part-time job, so it’s not always easy to plan much of anything anyway. When it’s summer, practically anything goes in my house. As long as my kids aren’t chomping on junk food every day, I’m okay with more relaxed food choices and meal times.
Saying “Yes” More Often
I really try hard to be more of a “yes” mom, but during the school year I often find myself saying “no.” “No, you can’t stay out past 11 p.m. on a school night. “No, you can’t go out until you’ve studied for your math test tomorrow.”
But now that we’re in the midst of summer, my aim is to say “yes” far more often. “Yes, you CAN go to the pool with your friends.” “Yes, you CAN go to that concert Friday night.”
Loosening Social Media Limits
TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram – all things my teen’s love (but I don’t), and so often how they communicate with friends. I’m loosening my social media time limits this summer and just letting my kiddos take a deep dive into silly videos, disappearing messages and posting photos of summer adventures (within reason, of course).
Video Game Time
I’m going to fess up here. My kids’ infatuation with video games drives me a little nuts. But, I’m here to tell you, they love them. And, I’ve realized that it’s not just the video games that have them so hypnotized, it’s their escape, their way of connecting with friends, and a chance for them to chill the heck out. So, this summer, I’m giving them more leeway when it comes to video games. Sure, I’ll still put some limitations on how much time they spend gaming (everything in moderation), but if they want to escape behind a closed bedroom door for a couple of hours to “game away,” I’m letting them.
Goofing Off with Friends
I hate that my kids are so bogged down during the school year. They barely have time to hang out with their friends and just “be kids.” So, this summer, I’m not only loosening my grip when it comes to “friend time,” I’m encouraging them to spend as much time with their friends as they can to be silly, go on adventures, laugh and just hang out. Summers as they know it won’t last forever. This is their time to make life-long memories.
Let’s face it, with our kids’ “always on the go” schedules, it’s not like there’s a whole lot of time for napping during the school year. But summertime is the perfect time for hunkering down for an afternoon nap on a cozy hammock with the summer breeze blowin’ on their cheeks or in their comfy bed with the air conditioning keeping them cool.
So, yup… if my teen is feeling a little sleepy and wants to chill out and enjoy a relaxing nap, you bet I’m going to give them a big thumbs up.
These precious summer days are slipping away. Soon enough, our kids will be working full-time jobs in their careers and these lazy days of summer will be nothing but a distant memory. Let’s let them make the most of them, while we still can…
About Morgan Hill:
Morgan Hill is an essayist and humorist. She has written for many online and print publications including Insider, Your Teen Magazine, Revel and MASK Magazine. She is the mother of freshman and senior sons in high school. When not writing, she can be found at flea markets, in her garden, photographing architecture, taking cooking classes or eating the stinkiest cheese she can find. You can also find her on Twitter @MorganHWrites or Instagram @MorganHillWriter
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