From making friends to managing money, surviving on your own, to resisting peer pressure, adolescence is a time when kids need the guidance and support of their parents more than ever. After all, teen years are defined by new challenges and opportunities for growth. And that’s why summer learning programs are so important. They will build their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills while developing essential soft skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving. And most importantly of all, they will do this all in a fun and engaging way!
One of the first skills to teach your child is the importance of boundaries. As kids grow older, they need to understand that their bodies are their own and not open to anyone who wants to touch them or take advantage of them. An example of this could be that you don’t allow people to kiss your child on the cheek or hug them when they don’t want to be touched. Boundaries apply to social media too. Ensure your child understands that they must be careful what they post online and who they speak to. Your child should also be encouraged to report inappropriate or bullying behaviour on social media.
Another critical skill is to teach your child to be respectful towards others. This can be applied both in person and online. Your kids should always be encouraged to be respectful towards you and other adults. And online, they should also be careful what they say to others. This includes being careful about what words or images they use in their posts or comments. Your kids should be respectful when engaging with others.
Focus and self-control
Kids will find it harder to focus on one task as they get older, which is why building up their self-control skills is essential. This will help them stay on task and stop themselves from getting distracted by their peers. To help your kids build up their focus and self-control skills, you can try some of these activities:
- Exercise and sports: Exercising releases endorphins, hormones that help improve focus. This is why professional athletes often exercise to help them stay focused and motivated.
- Meditation: This is a great way to calm your child down and help them to focus. You can help them to find a meditation technique that works for them.
- Reading: Encourage your child to read when focusing on a task. Reading takes the brain out of its current state and helps it to focus on something else.
Speaking and listening skills
Reading is great, but kids also need to be able to speak clearly and confidently. This will help them when they are presenting in class or public speaking. It is also something they will need when applying for jobs in the future. To improve your child’s speaking and listening skills, try these activities:
- Public speaking: Sign up your child to give a short speech at a public event. This can be at the library, a local business, or even a school.
- Debate: Debate is a great way to build up your child’s confidence in speaking. Your child can join the school debate team or attend seminars or conferences encouraging debate.
- Storytelling: Encourage your child to tell you stories from their day or their imagination. This will help them practice their speaking skills and confidently tell stories.
Collaboration and cooperation skills
Children must learn to work and play well with others as they grow older. This is particularly important in school when kids must collaborate with their peers on projects and group assignments. This will help them stay on task, share the credit when they do well, and accept the blame when they make mistakes. To help your child develop good collaboration and cooperation skills, try these activities:
- Group projects: When your child is doing a group project in class, encourage them to work and communicate well with their peers.
- Clubs: Clubs and sports teams are great places for kids to learn how to work with others. Your child can join as many clubs as they are interested in.
- Sports: Sports are another great way for kids to learn about cooperation. They can enter as many sports as they can.
- Peer tutoring: Your child can also try being a peer tutor. This is when a child who is good at a subject teaches another child who is struggling.
- Mentoring – Your child can also try being a mentor. This is where an older child or adult mentors someone younger.
Critical thinking and problem solving skills
It is also essential to help your child develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This is a skill that your child will use in their work life in the future, and it is something that they need to practice now. To help your child develop these skills, try these activities:
- Journaling: Encourage your child to journal about their day. This can include problems they are facing and their ideas on how to solve them.
- Brainstorming: This is where your child and their friends get together and brainstorm as many ideas as possible on a given problem.
- Problem-solving puzzles: Many puzzles help kids practice problem-solving skills. These include jigsaw puzzles, logic puzzles, and math puzzles.
Money management skills
Kids must learn how to manage money from a young age. This will help them prepare for their future and avoid debt. You can sign up your child for a digital “teen savings account” where they can make deposits and withdrawals. This will show your child how to manage their funds without having to access your own money. To help your child build up their money management skills, try these activities:
- Banking: Take your child to your local bank and have them open up a “teen savings account.” You can try these digital teen savings accounts too.
- Budgeting: As soon as your child is old enough, encourage them to make their budget and learn how to manage their funds.
- Investing: As your child ages, they can start to practice investing. This will help them to grow their funds and prepare them for the future.
Resisting peer pressure
One of the essential skills that kids need to learn is how to resist peer pressure. This will come up in school and later in life when they apply for jobs and start their own families. To help your child learn how to resist peer pressure, try these activities:
- Roleplaying: Have your child and their friends come up with situations where they would face peer pressure and then practice how to solve them without giving into the pressure.
- Ostracizing the pressure: If your child feels peer pressure from one or two people, have them ignore the person and not give them any attention. This will help them to resist peer pressure.
- Deflecting attention: If your child is having a party and is worried that someone will pressure them, they can talk about other things instead.
These are just some skills you can teach your child this summer. It is an excellent time for them to try new activities to help them in the future.