Summer Teenager Hacks

This is the first summer that my 16-year old, Jonah, isn’t scheduled with camp or a half-day job. I had a mild panic attack last week thinking about how I was going to keep him from sleeping until 2 and binge-watching “The Office” on Netflix. I didn’t want to constantly nag him to doing his daily reading, jogging, and chores. So, I have come up with the solution. It’s a list. Yes, I love lists. My family mocks me and my OCD lists, but they work.

For Jonah, I write out the five or six things that have to happen during the day. When he completes them, he can feel free to do his binge-watching and long boarding with buddies. It’s like a written contract. I don’t have to remind him what he needs to do. He just has to consult the list.

On today’s list, he’s shadowing Ian at a computer camp for the morning. Then he has all day to get in a run, make some progress on his online class, help me with mulching, and clean up his suitcase from our weekend trip to Cleveland.


I have my own list for the day. With Ian safely in camp for the next month or so, I have to get back into a writing schedule. A few weeks ago, I had a nice rhythm going, but now I’ve forgotten everything I was doing. The article that I had begun in early June sounds dumb now. I need to pump out one or two articles this summer, so I’m going to blog for a while to get my brain back to thinking-writing mode.

5 thoughts on “Summer Teenager Hacks

  1. Great plan! It gives him the freedom to do things when he wants, but it also gives structure.

    My girl is in Bermuda right now. We got an e-mail from the band director yesterday that there were rough seas on the first day and some kids were pretty seasick. I’m hoping she wasn’t one of them.

    Sometimes I’m amazed at how much my children love music and playing in the band. But I was just looking through tons of family papers and found my grandfather’s WWII discharge papers. I thought he was a bodyguard for his commanding officer (there’s a funny story about how he tripped once and his gun went off and he almost killed his CO) but his official title was Field Music Marshall! He was a bugler. So it’s in the family. 🙂


  2. Have had daily summer lists for my teens for years. Works wonderfully. A list of must-dos before screen time or friends. It’s brilliant, really. 🙂


  3. When I was 16, over the summer I used to build pig barns and grain bins. Or maybe I was 17 then. I can’t remember.


  4. The list sounds like a good idea. Eldest is busy with a full-time job, workouts and her friends. Autistic Youngest has started going to the gym – we’ve splurged to get her working with a personal trainer for two weeks, and then we’ll see if she can follow a routine with one of her family around to keep her on track.We’re also having her check out coursera this summer to see if one of her prospective degree programs really is a good fit (CS).


Comments are closed.