Depending on where you live, summer vacation is either here or right around the corner. Here are some potential considerations for your teenager’s summer schedule.

Employment: Jobs are an excellent way for teenagers to build independence, strengthen communication skills, and differentiate their view of the real-world. Working has become somewhat of a lost tradition, but even working part-time for two or three months, provides tangible and intangible dividends. Much value stems both from a paycheck as well as the process of being held accountable to a third-party adult.

Job Shadow: Many teenagers have a general sense of what they might want to study in college or pursue as a career path. There’s no better way to test the waters of these potential endeavors than by experiencing the environment first-hand. While many businesses do not offer formal internships for high school students, many do offer the opportunity to shadow within the setting. I’ve known corporate parents and small business owners to arrange a trade, where one working parent/adult agrees to foster that experience for another family’s teen and vice versa.

Remediation: It’s not uncommon for a student to experience this need at least once during middle school or high school. Perhaps they fail a class (F), or nearly fail (D), or squeak by with passing grade but minimal understanding of the material (C-). For students who have failed a class, the summer is an ideal time to take remediation classes either through the school district, or an approved online or in-seat alternative. For students who passed, but lack foundational understanding, it’s also a great time to brush up or solidify requisite skills in preparation for future courses.

Enrichment: With college requirements looming, teens often discover little room exists to take a class simply because it looks interesting or speaks to their passions. However, during the summer, many community colleges, high schools, and organizations offer classes and camps that are specified by interest (STEM, coding, business, theatre, music, film etc.). These classes or camps, taken simply to be taken, often stoke the flames of authentic learning, as teens discover what it’s like to pursue learning for personal growth and expansion as a person, intellect, artist, athlete and so on.

Service: Perspective cannot be parent-lectured into the heart of a teenager. Rather, perspective best evolves from experiencing new paradigms, socioeconomic and cultural realities that push comfort zones and challenge core beliefs. Of course, parents best know the degree to which these need to be addressed. Regardless, summer offers time freedom allowing teenagers to become involved with a local, regional or international service efforts. Service learning heightens appreciation for inequities and decreases tones of entitlement.