It’s harder than ever these days to keep young people engaged and out of trouble, especially because many parents have to work full-time jobs that require them to leave their kids on their own for most of the day. Teenagers, in particular, who hang out with the wrong crowds or who don’t have the right amount of focus on their schoolwork can get themselves into a lot of trouble. But there are steps you can take as a parent to make sure your children have plenty to do outside of school hours, whether you’re home with them or not, to keep them occupied, happy, and safe.
Encourage After-School Activities
After-school activities have never been more valuable, especially because so many kids spend the majority of their time behind a computer screen, missing out on the beauty of the natural world and on physical activity that will not only keep their bodies healthy, but will also ensure that their minds remain sharp as well. So encouraging your children to pursue a passion outside of school is a great way to keep them on the right track. Whether your child loves music, dancing, art, or sports, see if there are any classes that he or she can take after school or any groups that he or she can join in order to interact with other like-minded people of the same age.
Interact with Your Child
Interacting with your child is equally as important when he or she is a teen as when he or she was a baby and a youngster. Remember, teens need a lot of support and guidance. And while you definitely do not want to turn into their best friend who behaves like a fellow teenager, you should be able to make them feel comfortable enough to open up to you about issues that they are facing. If they have to bottle up their problems and find another outlet to resolve them, it increases the odds that they will get into trouble. Giving your child gentle support and guidance, a shoulder to cry on, and an ear to listen are all great ways to develop trust. It is also a great way to make them take you more seriously when you tell them about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and sex, which are all temptations throughout high school.
Make Your Home the Place to Hang Out
Sure, it might be annoying to have a bunch of teens hanging around at your home, but would you rather they were out on the street or somewhere else where you can’t keep an eye on them and ensure that they are staying out of trouble? By making your home a place where your son or daughter can enjoy some time with friends, you can rest assured that they won’t be drinking, smoking, or committing crimes that could land them in a detention center, so make sure that there is a space for them to enjoy that gives them privacy and safety at the same time.