How to beat the summer laziness, maybe

If the summer holidays seemed long to us parents when the kids were in primary school, they are a fortnight longer in Year 9 and 10, and even longer than that in senior years (depending on the exam timetable).

This leaves our teens with a lot of time on their hands. Sure, there are the post-exams parties, beach outings and catching up with life in general, but then what? How do we motivate our children to use their summer wisely?

Family trips

Consider taking a family trip – while they still live at home! A holiday away is longer than the number of nights at your destination: there is also all the planning, preparation and packing, and then the memories at the end.

Many people take advantage of the longer vacation time to head for far-away places like America or Europe, but our country is gorgeous this time of the year, and there’s nothing wrong with tenting, camper-vanning or going to an Airbnb within New Zealand. Anything to spend time together in a fun location, and preferably with limited access to the Wi-Fi. America is still also a really great place to go though, as you can visit many areas like New York for the weekend, or you might want something a little more adventurous in Tennessee as there are plenty of Gatlinburg attractions in the Smoky Mountains like ziplining or even heading to a waterpark! Anywhere you choose to go, you’re bound to have some great family bonding time.

Travel with friends

Older teenagers will usually arrange a week or so away, on the cheap: either camping, or at a mate’s family bach. If nobody in their friend group comes up with the idea, you might want to suggest it yourself, but leave the organising to them.

As I’m writing this, my 17-year old is packing for a trip to Sydney with two of her BFFs. Am I petrified? Yes. Am I happy that she’s becoming more mature and independent? Also yes. My involvement extended to finding her passport in my documents file, helping compose a list of what to take, and setting my alarm for 4A.M. to take her to the airport ? so I’m super proud of the way she’s learning to plan and make things happen. It’s good training for when she leaves for university in a year’s time. (No, I’m not crying, my eyes are sweating.)


Are there any chores your teens can do during the holidays, over and above their usual allotted share? You could employ them and their peers to repaint the house, weed the garden, pave the driveway (under supervision).

Christmas is a perfect opportunity to de-clutter their cupboards and donate those barely-worn-and-now-too-small Jordans, the old guitar, boxes of Lego.

If you’re making a big Christmas dinner, or even just a plate for a shared Christmas meal, ask your teens to help you in the kitchen. And of course, they will decorate the tree, like every year. Right? Right?

Part-time job

A summer job will give your teen a sense of purpose as well as some pocket money. Plus, it can look really good in their resume when they apply for a full time. Remember how you send a cover letter with your application mentioning your summer jobs? Companies would want to hire people who are dedicated, and a cover letter with holiday jobs is a great way to prove this. Ask around, use your local Facebook community page, get your teen to drop off their CV at the nearby shopping centre. See the side bar for an example of a CV and below for ideas:

• House-sitting, pet-sitting

• Dog-walking

• Mall Santa or Elf

• Gardening

• Helping out in local shops in the pre-Christmas rush

• Selling Christmas trees

• Working as a waiter at Christmas functions

• Or as a lifeguard at the local pools

• Babysitting primary school children while their parents are at work

• Turning your hobby into cash: make things like soap, bath bombs, bird feeders, fudge, Christmas decorations ? then sell them on TradeMe or within your community.


Even if they can’t get a paying job, lots of charities would love to have your teen help out. Serving Christmas Day dinner is such a popular activity that it’s usually booked out months in advance, but there is lots of other volunteering that can be done: animal shelters, old-age homes, hospices, at malls as Christmas gift wrappers, at concerts as donation collectors. Google “volunteering” and your city for the list of current opportunities.


Now is the time to work on those abs, improve their swimming technique, learn to play squash, do a day hike, get their fitness levels up with a daily run. Encourage your teen to choose something they love doing and set themselves a goal (swim 100m freestyle under a minute, jog to the beach and back every morning, go to the gym for an hour five days a week). You could agree on a reward for every goal they achieve.

Learn something

Yeah, school holidays aren’t conducive to learning. But perhaps there is a horse-riding school nearby, or evening Spanish classes, or your teen and a few mates get together to learn the basics of filmmaking? Anything to keep those brains from turning to mush!

Get the balance right

Of course, a certain amount of laziness is very much recommended. Christmastime provides the opportunity to wind down, catch up, and recharge your batteries. But as much as your teens may think all they want to do this summer is sleep, watch Netflix and play computer games, they won’t want to get to February and realise that they’ve wasted two months of their lives.

How to convince them

You can’t force them, but here are some key phrases to toss around:

• Pocket money

• New experiences

• Serotonin (a feel-good hormone) from being in nature

• Oxytocin (a feel-good hormone) from being with people

• Endorphins (that’s right, feel-good hormones) from exercising

CV sample

Skye Walker
19 Tatooine ” Auckland, 1000 ” 021-123-456 ”

Creating positive learning outcomes and building life skills with children

Hard-working, responsible student with experience in babysitting.


• English first language

• Maori NCEA Level 2 (achieved with merit)

• French NCEA Level 2 (achieved with excellence)

• First Aid certification

• Experience with young children


Plan and implement a learn-to-swim program for children age 2-6.


NETBALL COACH(February 2016-December 2019)

Plan coaching sessions and weekly inter-school games for children age 8-11.

YODA HOUSEHOLD, Auckland North Shore

NANNY(November 2016-Present)

Plan, organize, and implement fun and educational activities for two primary school children during the school holidays.

HUTT HOUSEHOLD, Auckland North Shore

BABYSITTER(August 2017-Present)

Babysit two pre-schoolers on Saturday nights.


• Student Council member at Jedi Quest College for 2019

• Dean’s Award for 2018


JEDI QUEST COLLEGE, Auckland North Shore
NCEA Level 2, excellence endorsement

Enrolled for NCEA Level 3 for 2020

Related Coursework & Activities

2 Day Early Childhood Development conference ” Face-painting course ” Restricted Driver’s Licence


• Darth Vader, vicar at the Jedi Church, 025-123-999

• Kylo Ren, Drama Teacher Jedi Quest College, 025-456-789

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