With summer in full swing, Chicagoans have emerged from a long winter of hibernation to kickoff off the start of festival season. It’s time again for the Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza. With the end of the school year, you are likely seeing more of your teen, which can be a transition for everybody at home. Some teens need a little help in planning their fun. Others race out the door before you know it. Either way, it’s important for parents to talk with their teens about keeping things safe and fun at this summer.
Having fun is healthy
Summertime serves as the perfect venue for teens to spend time socializing with friends. There are several mental health benefits to having an active social life. Research states that interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. One sure way of improving a person’s mood is to work on building social connections. Summer excursions can facilitate such efforts. For additional screen-free summer activities and suggestions, take a look at this blog post that my colleagues wrote.
Offer to drive
Parents can support their teen’s attempts to be social through extending transportation support. Volunteering your time in this way offers an added bonus as well. Assisting with transportation extends you the opportunity to work on your relationship with your teen this summer. Consider matching their excitement and actively listening as they share anecdotes from their day’s adventures. Furthermore, you to get know their friends better and encourages safe transportation. Implementing both of these suggestions into your summer routine can foster trust in the parent-teen relationship.
Keeping things safe and sound
Allowing your teen to venture into the city during the summer months does require some level of trust from Mom and Dad. Setting a few guidelines can make the experience far easier to navigate for both parent and teen. Before your son or daughter heads out, be clear on your expectations for their curfew. If they need it, assist your teen with navigating public-transit. Next, ask your son or daughter to share their friend’s contact information with you in case of emergency. Encourage them to use the buddy system in light of the expected crowds. Additionally, ask your teen to check-in via text or with a phone call throughout the event and suggest their friend group come up with a predetermined meeting point should they get separated from one another. Lastly, talk about how to handle drinking/smoking encounters. Let your teen know that they can reach out to you should they need an excuse to get out of a situation that makes them uncomfortable.
Living close to the city offers a litany of possibilities for summertime entertainment. By prepping your teen to have fun and keep things safe at Lollapalooza and The Taste of Chicago this summer, you’re setting them up for positive experiences. Being social and exploring different events this summer can build up your teen’s sense of self, boost self-confidence, improve their mood, and has the potential to build trust within your relationship with them.