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Helping Your Teens Have a Productive & Meaningful Holiday Break

Doesn’t it feel like it was just the beginning of the school year? It’s hard to believe the holidays are now upon us, and with this busy time comes two weeks off from school for most teenagers in America. While your teens should certainly use the holiday break to relax and rejuvenate, the holiday season is also a time for teens to work on themselves – personally, emotionally and academically. Providing some structure for your teens to use their time wisely during the holidays will help them learn more about themselves and better prepare for their futures.

Here are just a few of the ways in which your teens can have a more productive and meaningful holiday break:

Family time. With most teens running a mile a minute between school and activities, it can be difficult to connect with your kids during a typical week. Using the holiday break to spend some quality family time together will give you a chance to reconnect with your teens on a deeper level. Holiday outings, such as ice skating, baking classes or dining out, can be great bonding experiences for your entire family in which you can learn more about what’s going on in each other’s lives. And, if you can make this time “phone free,” that’s even better!

College prep. If your teen is a sophomore or junior, the holiday break presents an ideal time to do some work around the college prep process. Many parents and teens utilize the two weeks off to make campus visits, which often turn into fun mini vacations. For example, is your teen interested in colleges in New York City? What’s better than visiting schools in the Big Apple while seeing the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! Doing SAT and ACT preparation is also a great use of time, as teens can focus on their testing for a couple weeks without the distractions of homework and activities. Last but certainly not least, high school seniors should use their time off to complete college applications and finish their college essays if they’ve been procrastinating throughout the fall!

Volunteering. The holiday season is one of the best times of year to teach your teen about the importance of giving back. The key is to encourage your teens to explore the types of volunteer opportunities that interest them most. For example, if your child has an affinity for animals, volunteering at the local SPCA a couple days a week may be a great fit. If your teen enjoys sports, there are many coaching opportunities with local leagues. Volunteering is not only a great resume-builder, but a great way for teens to discover more about themselves.

Even just a few hours doing something “out of the ordinary” can be powerful for teenagers, especially as they explore potential career interests and prepare to make the transition from high school to college. Put the tips above into action and experience how transformative a holiday break can be for the teens in your household!