After the school bell rings and teens are dismissed from school for the day, trouble lurks behind almost every corner. The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center notes that between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., teens are most at-risk for participating in juvenile crimes, engaging in teen sex, drug and alcohol use, and may even become victims of violence. With the decline of available after-school programs, it’s essential that parents find ways to keep their teens busy and safe, once the school day has ended.
Work To Do
Teenagers, looking for an after-school activity that can also help them earn extra cash, can secure an after-school job. From working at the pizza shop to babysitting to dog walking, teens who work learn responsibility, a sense of self-worth and how to manage their money.
Take a look at your teen’s work schedule to ensure that he’s not being overworked. While teens with after-school jobs reap many benefits, Family Education, an online website for parents, suggests that if teens take on more hours than they can handle, they risk getting less sleep, spending less time with family and friends, and cutting into their homework and study time.
A teen’s academic performance in high school greatly impacts his college search process, so it’s essential that teens invest time in studying after school. Teens form study groups to review class materials, work on projects, study for advanced placement tests and college entrance exams, such as the SATs.
The College Board notes that study groups are beneficial to students because students can offer each other support, learn from each other and share ideas.
Get Active and Fit
Your teen does not have to be a star athlete to participate in sports and athletic activities after school. Whether he is on an organized team for the school or community, or plays sports in a neighborhood with other teens, getting involved in physical activities can keep your teen busy after school. Playing sports keeps teens fit, teaches them communication skills, how to work in a team environment and helps them build a positive self-image.
Help the Community
Participating in community service activities teaches teens the importance of giving back to the communities around them by volunteering their time and skills. Community service activities might include serving dinner to the homeless at a local church, creating posters for an area non-profit organization’s upcoming charity event, reading to young children at the library or tutoring younger students. The DoSomething website, and others like it, offers teens ways to volunteer their time by completing community service activities online.
Help Around the House
From cleaning up his room to mowing the lawn, there are many chores around the house your teen can do after school to help keep the household in order. Create a weekly chore chart which lists your teens’ responsibilities for the week. Parenting Teens Online suggests letting your teen have input on which chores he’d like to do. Keep your teen encouraged to do his chores by offering a weekly or bi-weekly allowance or some other incentive.