5 Ways to Keep Your Teen Productive

posted in: Parenting

School’s out and that means your teens have had lots of time on their hands. Many parents elect to take a hands-off approach, which can lead to a summer full of fun, but not much else! Here are my favorite tips to help your teen mix in a little productivity during all that play.

How to raise a productive kid | Many parents take a hands-off approach in the summer which leads to fun, but not much else! Get my favorite tips to help your learn to be more productive. It's a great way to help your teen learn responsibility too!

How to keep your teen productive

1. Get a Job

A job teaches valuable life skills, like dedication and reliability, and nothing feels better than working hard and earning a paycheck. The money they’ll earn will give them a sense of independence, purpose, and self-worth, and in the process, they can learn about saving and spending. If your teen is not working yet, have them explore local opportunities this summer to care for kids or pets, or perhaps they can try their hand at lawn maintenance, housecleaning, retail or food services.

If your teen has a little extra time, they can also volunteer. Giving back to the community and helping those less fortunate is a wonderful character builder. To find opportunities that suit your teen, try a site like VolunteerMatch, a site that pairs people with the right non-profit.

2. Check Those Appointments Off the List

Now is the time to set up all of the appointments your teen needs before school starts including a haircut, eye exam and annual physical and immunizations. Summer is also an ideal time to deal with your teen’s teeth straightening needs, since it gives them time to adjust to the changes before school starts. My daughter, Sadie, recently started Invisalign® treatment*, which I highly recommend to moms who are in the process of determining what teeth straightening treatment would be best for their teen. Sadie loves that they are virtually invisible and removable, and that she doesn’t have to worry about mouth injuries from brackets and wires. She can also look like herself throughout treatment. If it’s something you’re considering for your teen,​ Invisalign.com has an easy-to-use Doctor Locator feature to search for Invisalign-trained doctors in your area.

*My daughter received complimentary Invisalign® treatment, but all opinions are my own.

3. Hone a Skill

If your teen has a talent, skill or even just an interest, this a perfect time to make progress. In additional to practicing on their own, inquire about openings for weeklong classes or camps at the local university or museum. My daughter takes classes at our local School of Rock year ‘round, but during the summertime, she sings and plays keyboard in intensive music camps where in one week, kids learn songs from the Beatles or write their own songs in a songwriting camp. These classes and camps have been really fun for her and she improves by leaps and bounds every summer!

4. Avoid the Summer Slide

To avoid the “summer slide” where kids fall behind intellectually during summer break, make sure your teen sets aside some time for learning prior to going back to school. Their school might have provided worksheets or a list of suggested reading and now is the time to complete those before the summer flies by! You can also check with the library to see what programs they offer, or visit Khan Academy, which is a free website where kids of all ages can learn about everything from math to coding in a fun and engaging way.

5. Don’t Forget the Chores

Have chores fallen by the wayside this summer break? Get things back on track with the ChoreCheck app, which allows parents to assign chores and kids to ‘check’ off tasks once they are completed. Kids can even earn allowance through the app!


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Smart Shopping Expert

Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who has specialized in smart shopping, personal finance, and retail for more than a decade. She has appeared on TV over 1,000 times; including Today Show, GMA3, NBC Nightly News, Inside Edition, and network affiliates nationwide. She has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn, and her expert commentary has appeared in Forbes, USNews.com, Kiplinger, Yahoo Finance, and numerous others.