3 Reasons Your Teen Needs a Break this Summer

I have been teaching in one form or another for the past 20 years. This year has been right up there with one of the toughest (and I have been teaching one to one, not managing multiple classes of 30)!

I can only imagine how tough it must have been for teachers in schools.

But I genuinely think that it’s our teens who have been challenged the most. It feels as though all the stuff that makes school fun – the school trips, the sports days, the social side of school have all been taken away, yet the pressure to achieve academically seems to have ramped up as they are told that they need to “catch up”.  Their time has been almost entirely directed with Zoom lessons, homework tasks and booster lessons with little opportunity to choose how to spend their time.

Think back to your own adolescence. I’m guessing that the first memories which pop up have little to do with lessons and far more to do with sporting achievements, funny memories of school trips or the antics of fellow classmates. Our teens haven’t had these lighter moments this year.

This summer is the perfect opportunity to press the reset button – to bring some lightness and fun back into their lives so that they can start again in September with a new sense of energy.

We live in a culture where we often feel pressure to schedule our teen’s time to be seen as a “good” parent. We see images on social media of parents whisking their children off on daily trips whilst also ensuring that they read widely, start a revision schedule and take regular exercise.

When people ask us what we have planned for our teens this summer, we can’t just say “nothing”, can we?

Yes, we can.

And these are just 3 of the benefits we may see in our teens when we do:

(1) They will regain their energy

Imagine if you left a bath running with the plug in. Eventually the bath would overflow and create a mess all over the floor which would be less than easy to clear up. BUT you could prevent this from happening by simply pulling out the plug.

This is what we need to do for our teens this summer. They are likely to be experiencing information overload and we need to give them time to decompress and relax.

The way that each teen will choose to do this will differ. Some might spend the whole time charging around the football field or engaging in every sport on offer. Some might binge-watch Netflix. Some might spend all day gaming.

It doesn’t matter how they do it. The important thing is that they are able to CHOOSE where they get their energy so that they can recharge.

(2) They will gain independence

If teens always have all their activities scheduled for them, how will they ever learn to schedule their own? How will they know who they want to spend time with? How will they learn to plan their own day out or navigate their own way around public transport?

A teen will not wake up one day when they hit 18 and magically be able to do these things. They need to be taught and they best way to teach them is to give them the space to explore and experiment, whilst guiding from a distance.

(3) They will learn what makes them happy

Everybody parents their own way. But most of us have one thing in common: we just want our kids to be happy.

If a teen learns early in life what makes them happy and has the freedom to follow their own interests, they are far less likely to wake up one day as an adult realising that they feel unfulfilled because they have been striving after a dream that was never theirs in the first place.

Personally, I cannot wait to wake up each morning during the summer holidays with only the very vaguest of an idea about what I will be doing that day.  


If you are interested in reading more of my thoughts on helping teens with motivation, click here


For more on building independence in teens, click here.