Summer often means that there is less tension at home. Schedules are looser, and there are no grade cards to argue about! But summer has it’s share of challenges for parents and teens.

Renegotiate Rules

Teens often feel that because they are out of school they should be able to stay up late, sleep in and relax. Parents often don’t feel the same! We suggest you sit down with your teen and come up with “summer rules.” Maybe it’s okay to stay up an hour or two later, but not all night. You may let your teen get up an hour or two later, but not sleep until noon. Also, think about curfew, time out with friends and other privileges. Remember, privileges and responsibilities go together. If your teen gets new freedom, make sure there is some new responsibility (mowing the lawn, doing laundry) to go with it.

Money, money, money

More free time means more time out and about with friends. For most teens, this means spending money. Discuss with your teen how he or she can earn some more spending money. This might be a summer job for older teens. For younger teens, find a way to earn cash doing odd jobs for you or neighbors.

Keep some structure

Looser summer schedules can be a welcome break from the school year routine. Teens, however, especially those who are anxious or impulsive, really need consistent schedules and rules. Dinner together, worship on Sunday, family game night on Friday: whatever your family likes to do, make sure there is an anchor every week, or even every day, that your teen can count on.


Teens and families need down time, too. Don’t forget to keep a balance between scheduled activities and lazy, hang around time. You and your teen can sit down and talk about the balance. It can take time and some trial and error to figure it out, so keep trying!

Some Activities and Where To Find Them

  • Summer reading programs: Columbus Libraries
  • Day camps: Columbus Parks and Recreation
  • Art classes: Godman Guild
  • Sport camps: Silesian Boys Club
  • Drop in activities: City Year
  • Paid jobs: Urban League
  • Volunteer jobs: First Link

“From Our House To Yours” is written by Lara Palay, LISW and Team Leader of the Huckleberry House Family Support Program.