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Prevention Presents: Summer Safety

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Summer Safety
Ashley Rodebaugh, M.A.
Prevention Education Specialist

Research shows that summer break is the peak time for first time use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs by youth ages 12-17.  Often, the main reason for this first time use is that many teens spend majority of their summer completely unsupervised.  Sure, they might sleep in until noon every day, but that still leaves 5-6 hours until parents get home from work.  Talking to your child about the dangers associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs is a good starting point to keep your kids drug-free.  However, many of you may still be worried about all of those unsupervised hours your teens will face this summer and how to keep them safe.  Here are some ideas to lessen the number of hours of freedom your child has during those pesky unsupervised hours: 

Daily Chores:  Each chore earns them points toward rewards like going to a friend’s house, seeing a movie, or just plain cash to spend, and BONUS, less stress on YOU to do all those chores yourself!

Summer Job:  If your teen is old enough for a summer job, it can be a great way to occupy their time, keep them out of trouble, learn responsibility, and earn their own spending money.

Cook Dinner:  Schedule a day or two a week for each child to cook dinner for the whole family.  After all, if they are old enough to stay home alone, they are old enough to read a recipe and learn to cook. Require them to cook healthy meals, and the whole family wins!

Join a school sport or club: If your teen has to attend practice daily for an upcoming fall sport, they are less likely to have free time to engage in risky behaviors. Plus, research shows that joining teams or clubs helps keep kids out of trouble. Teens who do not participate in extracurricular activities are 3 times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs than teens that do. 

Volunteer:  Suggest that your teen uses their interests to do some volunteer work! There are many places in the Toledo area that need volunteers all year. Popular ones among teens are animal shelters. Plus, volunteer work is always a bonus when applying to colleges!

Fun Summer Classes:  I know, the last thing your teen wants to do this summer is go to school, but there are many educational classes offered at the Toledo Metroparks or the Toledo Museum of Art. Again, let your teen’s interests guide them.

For more information on keeping your teen safe over summer, visit these websites:






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Lessons in Listening
By Cheryl Thompson, LPCC
Clinical Therapist II



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