For Adults

Tips for Making the Most of Your Family’s Summer

Summer! Ice cream and cook outs. Staying up late and sleeping in. No homework and no alarm clocks. With all of the fun and freedom of the summer season, it will pass in the blink of an eye. How can we make this summer count in the lives of our teens and the story of our family?

1. Talk about it.

Set a goal for something you want to achieve this summer. Would you like to learn a skill? Explore a strength your teen has? Find a new way to serve as a family? Build on a relationship? Go on an adventure? Try something new? Take time to talk about it as a family and brainstorm your ideas for goals you can set as a family. (Bonus Handout: Check out our list of summer activities for inspiration.)

2. Schedule it.

Set realistic goals and mark it on the calendar. For most teens, summer is only 11 or 12 weeks long. That means there are only 12 Saturdays to make the most of! When you add in summer camps, family vacations, and church events, much of the summer is already planned out.
Choose one thing to focus on this summer with your teen or family, then put it on the calendar. Scheduling it gives you the best chance that it will actually happen. If your schedule is tight, you may only have one or two Saturdays this summer to set aside for your goal. If you have more open time, you might be able to spend one day each week or month focused on your goal. If you are a parent, you may still work full time, or if you are a youth leader, you may be seeing your students even less frequently in the summer. Don’t be discouraged if you only have a small amount of time with your teen! Even a small amount of time is powerful if we invest it wisely.

3. Look to the future.

Go ahead and start planning a fall schedule for your family. Make sure your your calendar reflects your priorities. Whether is it serving together, learning together, or spending time together, block out a time every month to continue to grow with your teen.

We only get 5 summers with our teenagers. Let’s invest these days, not just spend them.

Start a Conversation with Your Teen

  • What do you think is the most important thing on our schedule this summer?
  • Is there something you have always wanted to try, but never gotten the chance?
  • If you had $100 to do something new, what would you spend it on?
  • What is something that you could spend time doing this summer that you would be proud of?

Need help with coming up with a goal for your family? Check out our list for inspiration!

We also have a blog post on making the most of the summer geared for teens! Share this post with your teen daughter or a teen girl in your life.

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For Girls

How to Have the Best Summer EVER

By Rachel Bryant

“I’m so bored!”

We have all muttered that at some time or another, especially in summertime. The summer becomes an easy time to feel this way – your friends are out of town, you’re stuck at the house all day, your phone battery died… It’s easy to forget summer is actually a pretty great time! Not to sound too much like a grown-up, but, seriously, summers are AWESOME! All that free time to do whatever you like, see your friends at camp, sleep in, go on family vacations—the list goes on! (#alittlejealous)

BUT.

You have to decide: Are you going to waste the whole summer? Or make it count?
Summers are so full of opportunities that you will only have in your teenage years; don’t miss out on them! The Bible tells us over and over again to “make the most of our time,” to not waste our days, and to be “good stewards” of the time we are given (Ephesians 5:15-16, Colossians 4:5, Proverbs).

Now, I give you full permission to spend the first week or two sleeping in, catching up on Netflix, eating junk food, and just taking a mental break from the brain-melting cramming for exams. But don’t let one or two weeks turn into the whole summer—before you know it, you’ll be saying “I’m so bored!”

So, what is there to do? To answer that, you have to figure out what you want out of your summer and what resources are available to you.

Some activities require planning far in the future. Being a part of E-TEAM or Truth & Peace Leadership Conference are really great experiences that can have a big impact on your life, future, and friendships—or even your college and career path decisions! However, to participate in these, you have to plan months in advance. (I highly recommend both of these opportunities. Plan now and you can apply for 2019!)

Other summer plans don’t take as much planning, but still require some effort. What kinds of things are you are really interested in? Maybe there are internship or volunteer opportunities related to your interests in your community.

  • Do you like animals? Call around to local veterinary clinics to see if they need to hire a part-time kennel assistant, or maybe the zoo in your city has a volunteer program.
  • Are you interested in medicine? Most hospitals have student volunteer programs.
  • If you like clothes or fashion, look for opportunities to blog or write about products you enjoy, or get a summer job at a store where you like to shop.
  • Love to read or help others learn? Plenty of libraries have summer reading programs for teens to help tutor kids.
  • Does your church have a VBS? They might need teen volunteers to work with the kids.

You never know what can turn into a paid job or get you connected to new opportunities. No matter what kind of opportunity you pursue, you are sure to learn a lot of new skills and ideas that can help you in the future as you apply for colleges, trades schools, and jobs. Plus, any jobs, volunteer positions, or internships will look great on a resume or college application!

Lastly, there will be some activities this summer that all you have to do is show up for!

  • What is your church youth group doing this summer? Are they planning a mission trip or a ministry opportunity? Make sure to attend these things and help out where you can.
  • Is your family going on a vacation? Google the destination so you can suggest a cool place to eat or visit to while you’re there.
  • Are there things you would love to learn? I know, I know, you’re on summer break! But I don’t mean like school—things you want to learn because you’re actually interested! Thanks to the amazing Internet, you can stay home and learn a new language, learn photography or how to cook, or learn all kinds of DIY things. (Maybe you can even sell some cool DIY projects and make $$!) Check out Pinterest for summer activity ideas and DIY tutorials.

Summer is here and it will be gone before you know it. Think about all the possibilities! What are you going do with the time you are given?

A Few Things to Think About

  • If you could do anything in the world you wanted to, if money, time, and logistics were all possible, what would you do? Where would you go?
  • Have you thought about what you want to do when you grow up? Or what your dream job would be?
  • Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reminds us there is a “season for everything.” What do you think this “season” is in your life? What is God’s purpose in this “season”? How are you seeking Him and His plans for this season of your life?