How your teenager could make the best of the summer – practical suggestions that do not cost an arm and a leg!

Here comes the summer holiday again – what do I do with the teenagers!

As the summer holiday begins in earnest, for most parents, the conversation that started in their head a little while ago may still be going on, despite the fact that they may have one or two short holidays planned. Those young people who finished their GCSEs and A-level back in June have already had about four or so weeks of lying-in and some parents are a little fed up with having to replenish the fridge constantly and cleaning up the mess!

What I must say about the summer break is that the child should have plenty of opportunity to relax and let their hair down a bit. I’ll go a bit further and talk about the concept of the “Three Rs” and I’m not talking about Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. I’m speaking here about Relax, Reflect and Renew (or re-energise). I wrote extensively about this and you can see a link to that particular article at the bottom

Although many parents may have mixed feelings about the summer break, it is actually an excellent opportunity for everyone in the family – particularly the young people. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, but that conversation needs to be had with your teenager. I’d suggest that the talking does not take place when the smartphone, the TV or other electrical devices are switched on, as they are such a huge distraction to us all.

The good thing for us parents is that not everything the children do should require spending money. There are so many things that can be done without costing us an arm and a leg; however, it requires the will. The investment that is required is more than money; it is time. The time to think about it and to engage the teenagers in discussion and, hopefully, after a few conversations, both parent and child can come to some sort of consensus on what to do. Going on holiday is one; it is important and can be costly, but there are other ways of relaxing and switching off and all that is required is a little bit of creative thinking!

Below is a long list of practical activities that your teenager can do over the long summer break and I hope this helps in getting the conversation with your child started. At the bottom of this article, I list links to past blogs and also a BBC broadcast, where you can listen to a conversation by parents and experts.

Practical recommendations of what teenagers could do over summer break.

  1. Walking in the park or by the river
  2. Reading for pleasure – preferably a printed book and not electronic!
  3. Cycling
  4. Swimming
  5. Going on a bus ride
  6. Offer to nanny or to baby-sit for a little money or for free – some people need it and can’t afford to pay
  7. Cooking – including
  8. Baking a cake!
  9. Learning a new sport or skills – including water sports
  10. Playing games – or teaching others
  11. Voluntary work – including helping the elderly
  12. Taking part in community projects
  13. Volunteering to teach younger people
  14. Gardening
  15. Writing – including creative writing or writing a letter to the local MP about an issue you are concerned about – including Brexit!!
  16. Learning public speaking
  17. Organise a sleep-out (camping)
  18. Visit a museum or a big library – like the British Library (there is more to it and not just books!
  19. Learning a new musical instrument – or teaching others
  20. Learning a new language
  21. Learning or doing sewing or knitting

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest task is getting to discuss this with your child, but believe me, it is possible; but only if you believe it is and you do not give up.

Over the summer, I’ll be sharing with you some ideas, including a link to websites, where you may find useful information about how your teenager could make  more productive use of the summer break.

Please remember to comment after reading this as your opinion is highly valued.

Enjoy your summer and speak to you soon.

Links to related articles and a broadcast are below:



  1. Janet Thomas on July 25, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Amen, to all the above is what and how I was taught to be independent. The library was my best friend as we did not have much money.

    • Idris Musty on September 11, 2019 at 9:20 am

      Thank you for your comment Janet. Good to see that there are some of us out there who are not afraid to admit that a library is like a third home to us!