If you don’t have a kid who’s grown up playing a sport to keep them occupied after school, it can be difficult to get them to do something besides just watching TV or playing video games every day. According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, teens are most at risk for participating in juvenile crimes, engaging in drug and alcohol use, and becoming victims of violence between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. To avoid these risks and allow your teen to participate in something that helps them develop as a person and prepare them for college and adulthood, encourage them to try these activities.
Your teen doesn’t have to be in competitive team sports to be active. Biking, dancing, martial arts, and horseback riding are just a few activities that your teen can participate in if they’re not interested in the typical team sports like soccer or football. You can also sign them up to establish a regular workout routine. Some gyms offer special pricing and memberships for teens, which can allow them access to all equipment, machines and workout classes.
Find a Creative Hobby
There are plenty of opportunities for your teen to explore their creative side. Consider signing them up for acting classes or music lessons. Your local community college may offer art classes in specific fields, such as drawing, painting, or sculpting, as well as creative writing classes. They can also pick up a new passion through watching YouTube videos on a variety of different topics, such as jewelry making or coding.
Work a Part-Time Job
Afterschool is the perfect time for your teen to pick up a part-time job! They can apply at your local grocery store, clothing store or restaurant. Or they can start their own business as a babysitter, lawnmower or dog walker. Your teen can apply to work at the Y at age 16 to be a lifeguard, after completing the Lifeguard Training and Certification. Having a part-time job can provide many benefits to your teen. Besides giving them extra spending money, it can teach them valuable life skills that they can put on a resume or on college applications to prove that they are responsible and good at time-management.
Join a Club
High schools often have many different after-school clubs from Chess Club to Student Government. If your teen can’t find one that interests them, see if they can start their own! This will allow them to share their passions with their peers and teach them leadership skills. The YMCA’s Youth and Government program is an activity that your teen can join to learn more about systems of government and engage in civic and political processes. Learn more here.
Encourage your teen to give back to the community through volunteering their time and skills. They can serve food to the homeless, tutor younger students, walk dogs at the local shelter and more. The Y can always use more volunteers, both for special events and regularly around the Y. Your teen can volunteer with child watch, swim lessons and coaching a youth sports team. Volunteering can broaden your teen’s perspective of their community and give them the leg-up on college and job applications.
However your teen decides to spend their free time, encourage them to find something that interests them and keeps them busy when they’re not in school. Active teens are less likely to get into trouble and they can gain skills to help them in the future, both for job prospects and when applying to college. Check out all the programs that the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati has just for teens!