How to survive the summer with your high school and college kids

survive summer with teens and college kids

7 Best Ways to Survive the Summer with Teens and College Kids at Home


So your college kids are home for the summer bringing their laundry and filling their rooms with piles of junk from their dorm rooms? And your high school kids are hanging out with friends in the evenings and sleeping in until noon? What's a mom to do? Strap on your laundry weight-lifting belt and ride along with me and we explore How to Survive Summer with Teens and College Kids at Home.


Other Summer with Teens and College Kids posts:

April 22, 2023: I now write at Next Phase Parenting. Check out this brand new post: 10 Must Do Activities to Bond with Your College Student this Summer.

7 Summer Musts Before Senior Year

Summer Jobs for Teens and College Students: Over 30 Ideas for Productivity and Earnings

survive summer with teens and college kids

7 Best Ways to Survive Summer with Teens and College Kids at Home


#1 Best Way to Survive Summer with Teens and College Kids: Enjoy the time together

The first step to survival is to enjoy that they are home. As a stay-at-home mom, I love summer. I love the time to watch movies and play games and take a trip together. My daughter and I love to get pedicures and shop. I still “get” to drive her around to her activities and I enjoy the time to visit and listen to music together. My husband and the boys enjoy a lot of basketball, racquet ball, running, and cross-fit.  Pack as much fun in as you can knowing that August looms.


#2 Best Way to Survive Summer with Teens and College Kids: Insist that they be productive

But, you can only have so much fun, so the next tip is to insist that they be productive. No staying up all night and sleeping all day. The best way to keep them from staying up all night is for them to have somewhere to be the next morning.

My home-for-the-summer college kid has been knocking out a language requirement at the community college. He also has a very flexible job as a transporter at a hospital. My middle son has been doing some sleeping in, but does manage to get going around 11. He likes to go to the noon cross-fit class and told his instructor that he likes the class time because it is “first thing in the morning.” He also has responsibility for our over-an-acre lawn.


#3 Best Way to Survive Summer with Teens and College Kids: Help them choose a productive activity

One of the best ways for them to spend their time is doing some college prep work or exploring a career. Read 7 Summer Musts Before Senior Year if you have a rising senior.

Consider paying your kids to study for the SAT/ACT. One point on those tests can be the difference in $1000s of dollars in scholarship money. Studying can be an easy way for them to earn some spending money and could be a good investment on your part.

A job in their chosen field is probably the absolute best situation. Our oldest son, who is pre-med, worked in a hospital in high school and on college breaks. Being in the hospital gave him exposure to the emotions and other gross things physicians see. Lots of time to confirm that the hospital is a place he wants to spend his life.

Sometimes a student is not able to find a job in their future field of study, but time spent doing any kind of work is gold on college applications and resumes. If a job is not available at all, send them to volunteer somewhere, anywhere….


#4 Best Way to Survive Summer with Teens and College Kids: Travel and camps

Let them travel and go to camps. There is so much out there to learn and experience. A summer doing the boredom triathlon (tv, phone, computer) is a waste. Don't pass up the youth group or family mission trips. Camps are awesome. They will not fail to keep your child busy. I have two at camp this week. One is on his second week of film camp (career exploration and fun). The other is at a traditional camp with friends. I miss them terribly and send them sappy e-mails, cards, and care packages, but I know they need the independence. Camps also teach them to work with others.


#5 Best Way to Survive Summer with Teens and College Kids: Allow time for your own projects

Do a project of your own. I remember the toddler/preschool summers when I would spend an hour packing us up to go to the pool, an hour at the pool, and then two hours cleaning everyone up from the pool. There were a few idyllic summers when I was one of the coveted “lawn chair moms.” The kids would play all day and I would visit with friends and read. Both those kinds of summers are gone now, but the good news is I have time for my own projects.



#6 Best Way to Survive Summer with Teens and College Kids: Make a Contract with your Kids with your Expectations

My friend Miranda Lamb of Reluctant Cowgirl recommends many other ways to survive the summer with your teens and even has a FREE PRINTABLE Summer Contract you can create with your kids. Her advice is to set out your expectations and help your teens and college students make goals for themselves for the summer.


#7 Best Way to Survive Summer with Teens and College Kids: Follow basic family etiquette

And finally, adult or not, if they want free rent and free food, they have to follow some basic family etiquette.

Insist that they let you know if they will be eating with the family for dinner or going out. They also may not keep the productive members of the family, who have to be somewhere early the next morning, up at night and they must follow the moral code of the family. Again, if they want to pay for their own place and their own everything, then they are free to behave as they wish, but until then….

Having kids underfoot for the summer is a blessing and an occasional curse. There are so many great ways to spend the summer and a few ways to waste it. Jobs, college preparation, and travel are just a few productive uses of their time.  For more ideas read Don't Waste the Summer: Over 30 Ideas for Productivity and Earnings. Be sure to share your “How to Survive Summer with Teens and College Students at Home” tips in the comment section below.

Check out this BRAND NEW Post at my new home Next Phase Parenting:

palm leaves and flamingo border with Title: 10 Must Do Activities to Bond With Your College Student this Summer

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Hey There!

I’m Laura

Welcome to Almost Empty Nest! I began this blog in September 2014 after leaving my oldest son at college and realizing that my nest was emptying. Join me on this journey as we explore the path of guiding our children to adulthood and rediscovering ourselves beyond the mom years.


  1. I completely agree w all you’ve written. Any job or volunteer gig is good experience & if they can’t drive yet, inconvenience yourself to get them there & back or find the city bus schedule – they may decide to get creative in finding rides themselves. Know Where They Are & keep them accountable. Most of all ENJOY them. The time flies!!!!!

  2. Just found your blog, and I love it! Thanks for all the good info. In the same situation as you, but only have one in college, one is a senior and a middle schooler. I am actually a Baylor grad, so I hope that your son has enjoyed his time there.

    Melanie @yayas2cents (soon to be blog about parenting teens into adulthood with common sense)

    • Thank you! Baylor has been great. Can’t believe it will be his last year there. Good luck with the blog. Shoot me a comment or e-mail when you get your first post up.


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