Health risks are always just around the corner. They can result in some severe consequences for your teen year-round, but those health risks are especially poignant in the summer.
During the school year, you know where your kid is and what they’re doing throughout the day. With little to no structure, that may not be the case during the summer. All this unstructured time can increase their exposure to health risks, and it can cause you plenty of stress and anxiety as well!
Here are just a few of the most common risks that are increased during the summer months among teenagers, and what you can do about them.
Texting and Driving
Texting and driving is always a problem, no matter what time of year. According to Benson & Bingham, half of car crashes in recent years involved distracted driving. That risk can significantly increase in the summer.
During the school year, teens spend the majority of the day in class. During the summer, they have a lot more free time, and much of that free time can easily be spent behind the wheel, where texting and driving can cause massive problems.
Prevent texting and driving from ruining your teen’s life by requiring them to put their phone in the backseat while they drive, or ask them to download an app that monitors the use of their phone while driving.
Too Much Screen Time
Screens behind the wheel can endanger your child’s safety, but screens don’t have to be behind the wheel to have a significant effect on their life. Spending too much time staring at a display can be disastrous to their health also.
The adverse effects of screen time include:
- An increased chance of obesity
- Sleep problems
- Behavioral problems
- Social isolation
- Desensitization to violence
More free time in the summer means more time to spend playing video games or watching TV. Limit the amount of time they are allowed to spend in front of a screen to help prevent this from becoming a problem for your teen this summer.
The summertime comes with a lot of changes. It can be good to get out of your normal routine, but if you aren’t careful, it can cause problems. Food is one insidious problem during the summer months.
The warm weather comes with lemonade, hot dogs, and ice cream. It’s wonderful to have a treat every now and then, but it’s easy for teens to go overboard eating popular summer snacks that aren’t good for them.
Telling your teen what to eat, and what not to eat, is a recipe for disaster. There’s no need to cut out the junk food completely, but you should encourage your teen to make good food choices at least some of the time. One easy way to do that is to make sure there are plenty of fruits and vegetables around to snack on. That way, a healthy choice is always an option.
Life is a lot less dangerous inside during the winter. The summer comes with all kinds of outdoor health dangers that can include:
- Sports injuries
- Tick bites
- Dehydration and heat stroke
- Boating accidents
- Firework injuries
It’s true that remaining indoors can help prevent these accidents, but spending the summer indoors isn’t healthy either. Instead, simply address each one of these dangers as they arise. Make sure you send your teen with sunscreen to the pool, buy them a refillable water bottle, and provide them with supervision when the 4th of July rolls around.
Peer pressure is a challenge year-round. It’s true that there’s plenty of it to go around during the school year, but with more time on their hands, peer pressure can turn into a real problem in the summer.
Teens without anything to do can quickly find themselves in trouble. An otherwise well-behaved teen could find himself hanging out with the wrong crowd, it isn’t uncommon for teens to do a lot of drinking during the summer months, and many teens try drugs for the first time hanging out with their friends when there is no school.
Keep issues with peer pressure to a minimum by making sure your child is busy this summer with a sport or activity. Having an open door policy can encourage them to come to you with any problems they may be facing.
Don’t dread the summer because it comes with so many health challenges for your teen! This list will help you ensure your child has a happy and healthy summer.