Help Your Teen Create Healthy Habits for the Summer

Are you ready for your teen to be home for the summer?

The school year is coming to an end. Pretty soon your teen’s schedule won’t be quite as packed. While the looser schedule is one of the joys of summer, sometimes our teens have too much idle time.

As parents, we know the summer is coming, and we plan activities like camp, travel, volunteering and when they are a bit older a summer job. Even with things put in place, the days are long. My teens’ summer is well over three months, so when some of their friends are in back to school mode, they still have four weeks of summer left. Creating a plan to incorporate healthy habits into their day assures me that they are using some of their free time more productively and staying fit mentally and physically.

How do you make sure your teen doesn’t fall back on unhealthy habits to fill the days?

The best thing to do is to focus on 5 to 6 healthy habits that you want your teen to do everyday. Then even if they spend their time less than ideally, you know that at least something healthy is getting done each day.

For example, one client was too young to work and had outgrown camp. Since her natural tendency was to be sedentary and hole up in her room for hours, her mom felt she needed a bit of structure to her day. We worked together and created Summer Action Steps which included 6 habits and activities she had to do each day.

  • Volunteered During Swimming Lessons at the Town Beach (Monday-Friday)
  • Walked Home from the Beach (1.5 Miles)/Went to Gym with Dad
  • Made a Healthy Lunch (Ate Outside if Weather Permitted)
  • Limited Afternoon Snacks
  • Screen Off by 10:00
  • Read Before Bed

Even though this still left her with lots of free time, by devising these Summer Action Steps, this teen was getting out of the house and connecting with a community, exercising, making a healthy lunch, limiting snacks and screen time and getting her summer reading done. Without these clear Summer Action Steps who knows how she would have chosen to spend her days. Although she still complained to her mom from time to time, she did enjoy tracking her accomplishments, celebrating her wins and the satisfaction of hitting her goals.

If you are worried about the unhealthy habits your teen might fall back on this summer, start devising Summer Action Steps for your teen today. Then once the last day of school hits, your teen will know exactly what you expect them to accomplish each day. (Hint: Some teens are more receptive if you give them a couple of totally unstructured days before starting the Summer Action Steps.)

If you feel your teen could use some support following through with Summer Action Steps, then my Creating Healthy Habits Summer Sessions program could be exactly what you are looking for. You can find out more out it here.

Originally published at on May 12, 2017.

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