Bad news for all you moms who were hoping your teens would spend their summer earning some cash at a part-time job. New information is proving that adolescents these days just aren't getting seasonal jobs like they used to. In fact, this year, fewer than three in 10 teens in the US will hold a summer job!

The decline is partly due to the bad economy and partly due to a shift in interest among youths. Some teens are reportedly spending summer in school, at learning camps or in other activities that can be listed on college applications (which is great!). But the drop in employment is also troublesome, especially for teens for whom college is not in the cards (whether due to finances or different plans) as it leaves them with lots of times and nothing to do.

So how can you help your kids fight the boredom (and keep yourselves from going insane with their complaining and incessant TV watching)? Below 5 ways you can help your teenagers stay active and productive throughout the summer:

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  1. Set guidelines: If you know that your teens have a tendency to stay in bed and watch TV all day if they have no plans, try to prevent it before the habit even starts. Tell them that since they have so much time, you'll expect them to help around the house more or do something other than just staring at the computer or playing video games. To make it easier, compromise—let them sleep in if they want to, but make sure that they spend equal amounts of the rest of the day engaging in productive activities.  
  2. Plan family activities: Summer is the perfect time for some quality time with your family. Go camping or to the beach, have a BBQ, do anything that will be enjoyable for the whole group. Even if they complain about having to go at first (they are teenagers), once they're actually participating, they'll start having fun.
  3. Help them cultivate their interests: Whether or not your teenager is planning on going to college, summer is the ideal time to let them explore their favorite activities. If they are planning on forgoing college for culinary school, enroll them in a cooking class or encourage them to try new recipes at home. If they like swimming, suggest setting certain goals for them to meet by the end of the summer (like making a certain amount of laps in a short time, etc.). You get the idea!
  4. Help them get paid even without part-time jobs: Not finding a job can be frustrating, especially if you want your teen to pay for all of their activities or "must-have" items themselves. So help them out! Talk to neighbors or friends and see if they'd be willing to hire your teen as a babysitter, a dog walker, an errand runner, etc. It might not be their ideal job, but it's better than nothing.
  5. Kick them out: Seriously. If they're completely ignoring your repeated requests to get out of the house, shut off the computer, take away their Xbox, and make them leave. My sister and I were always outdoor kids but when we both went through brief lazy teenage periods in early high school, my parents would come into the living room, turn off the TV and straight-up say, "You need to go outside"--so we would! And we actually got to enjoy the sunshine.  

How is your teen keeping busy this summer? Tell us in the comments below!

Image via Virgina Guard Public Affairs/flickr

About the author

Michelle Regalado is a Staff Writer at MamásLatinas. She loves reading, travel, pop culture, and writing about anything and everything.

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Jeann...

I think it's important to keep all kids busy during the summer no matter if they are teens or young children. It's easy to fall into a rut and end up laying around doing nothing.

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