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Dog Days of Summer as Told by Dogs

Dog Days of Summer as Told by Dogs

Prevent teen substance abuse with alternative summer activities

We are about to enter the Dog Days of Summer. The hottest days of the season marked by lethargy and inactivity. The term usually pertains to areas around the Mediterranean where, historically, the period would start when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun: from July 3 to August 11. However, the vocabulary has worked itself into American culture. And there is no denying the sweltering heat does make everyone a little groggy.

What is your teen doing during these scorching days? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), one of the six ways to prevent substance use is to provide positive alternatives. These alternatives will teach your teen new skills and help them enjoy their extra free time. Structured and engaging activities can give your teen something productive to do. By offering positive alternatives, you can help your teen avoid underage drinking.

Here are seven ideas (and seven corresponding dogs) to keep your teen and yourself active during these Dog Days.

College Visits

Keep your teen motivated by going to visit a college they are interested in. This can spark their interest to begin thinking of their future. If college is not their thing, no worries. It is still fun to adventure into a college town where you are sure to find a hip new restaurant or a nice coffee shop.

New Skills

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Encourage your teen to learn a new skill. Cooking, baking, knitting, painting, crafts, the list is endless. Let your teen know it is up to them to find something they are interested in. This fosters a sense of autonomy and freedom while they explore their passion.

Start a Garden

Get your hands dirty and start a garden. Let your teen decide what they want to grow. You can research what’s right for the season or you can never go wrong with some nice flowers. If you want to stay inside, succulents are a good beginner plant and require very little water.

Read a Good Book

If it’s hot outside and your teen is not the outdoorsy type, go to your local library or bookstore and buy a new novel. There are so many good books out there. Your teen could begin reading classic literature, find a young adult bestseller, or even pick up a comic book. *Bonus points if you get the same book as your teen and start your own book club*

Go to the Pool

Neighborhood pools are a great way to get some sun, cool off, and stay active. Encourage your teen to bring a friend, allowing you to relax by the water. Please remember to wear sunscreen! Tans are temporary, but your skin is forever.

Host a Get-Together

It may feel like a lot of work and responsibility but hosting your teen’s friends has its perks.

  1. You know exactly where they are and that they are safe
  2. You get to meet your teen’s peers (possibly sizing up good or bad influences)
  3. Your teen maintains healthy friendships during the summer

Enjoy Nature

Put the phones down and lace up your shoes: it’s time to go outside. Your teen may roll their eyes, but a little phone detox is never a bad idea. You can find a shaded hike nearby or wait for a cool day. Encourage them to help you find a place to explore.

Help your teen stay safe and sober with these engaging alternative activities. Along the way, they may find a new hobby, a new passion, or just learn something new.

Ciera DuBan