235: Summertime with Tweens & Teens // Jamie Cook

3 ways to rock this summer with teens and tweens!

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about tips and strategies for summertime with younger kids, but the tips that worked for summers with my kids five years ago do not work so well with them now. They are not so interested in summer camps and theme days! 🙃

Are you feeling the same way? 

If you’re in the same boat, my conversation with Jamie Cook will help you feel inspired to manage your expectations around summer with older kids home all day and give you some ideas and tools for making the most of this time.

Jamie founded the Instagram accounts Wander and Scout and 8 Minute Classes. She is also a mom of four kids. She has an adventurous spirit and is always looking to add a bit of magic to the normal routine. 

Teens can be fun! And Jamie helped me see that summer with teens and tweens can be great! 

Let’s dive in!



Jamie’s 3 Takeaways for how to rock a summer with teens and tweens:

1. Manage your expectations.

One of the fastest ways to go insane this summer is to have crazy high expectations. Jamie mentions a few areas where it’s smart to set realistic expectations to help the summer with teens go more smoothly:

  1. Remember, there is always a learning curve in the first couple of weeks of summer. Don’t expect things to roll out with perfection! Also, remember your teens are coming off of crazy finals, AP tests, and essays. Consider having that first week be a lazy week. This can help all of you glide into the summer a little more organically and peacefully. 
  2. Help teens manage their own expectations. Give them spelled-out lists of chores and other expectations. Avoid the temptation to throw things at them as they pop into your mind. Respect their time and their need for a timely heads-up. Jamie gives her teens a list of the day’s expectations the night before. She says this helps her not be such a nag, which is great for everyone!
  3. Lower all expectations of your older kids ever wanting to hang out with you – and don’t take it personally! This is hard, but it’s important to remember! It’s healthy and normal for your kids to want to spend lots and lots of time with friends.


2. Counsel with your kids and invite them to help you plan.

I love this tip! As Jamie points out, it’s much harder to drag an unwilling teen to an event than a tantruming toddler – you can’t pick them up and strap them in their car seat! 

To help avoid the power struggles, gather your teens and tweens and get them involved in the summer plans. This will not only help because they’ll give great ideas but also encourage them to join in the activities because they have “buy-in” on the ideas.

Jamie does this in her house by using the phrase “it’s important to me…”  This allows her to communicate with her teens what she values, and she, in turn, listens to them when they say, “it’s important to me…” back to her. 

Also, remember, whatever plans you make, you aren’t stuck with them! If the plan isn’t working, change it up and adapt! It’s good for teens to see you modeling flexibility.


3. Make it fun! 

Take a slice of the adventure and creativity you may have had when your kids were younger and put it to use planning fun stuff for your older kids to do with friends. 

Using a calendar or bucket list can be a great idea for planning. Jamie has created a really awesome template, or if you don’t want to get fancy, just create a group text and brainstorm ideas together. 

As my children have gotten older, I typically ask them during holidays or summer breaks: What is the ONE thing that matters most to you? Then, I move heaven and earth to make it happen. We can’t do everything they want to do all the time, but we can do one thing. 

 Some fun ideas Jamie suggests: Wednesday night popcorn bar and movie night, night games, a weekly pool day to meet up with friends, pizza and games night, helping them find ways to earn money (planning their own kid’s camp!), and getting something new each week to mix things up (bead kit, tie dye, corn hole, whiffle ball, art supplies, etc.).


Aren’t those great ideas? I’m feeling better about the summer already. 


I want to end with Jamie’s lighthouse metaphor for her role as her children grow up:  

“I used to be like the cruise director. I was in charge of making all the decisions and driving the boat. Now I’m the lighthouse. My job is to keep the light on and stay grounded, and my kids are these boats that are coming and going through the harbor, and I stay put and keep the light on. I’m more like the beacon.” 

It can be hard to watch our kids grow up. I sometimes find myself aching for the days when park playdates and library storytime filled our summers, but there’s also something really amazing about becoming the lighthouse and watching our little boats go out on their adventures and then come back into the harbor with us. Summer with teens and tweens is a great time to build those bonds that will carry the relationship forward!  


Save this summary of how to stay sane this summer to Pinterest so you can use it later! 👇


3 in 30 Podcast with Rachel Nielson, Featuring Jamie Cook on Summer with Teens and Tweens



>>>Are these tips from Jamie Cook about summer with teens and tweens helpful? Do you have teens? How do you plan to manage this summer? Tell us in the comments below.




Related Episodes like this one on how to rock summer with teens:


Mentioned in the Episode:


About Our Guest:

Jamie is the founder of the Instagram accounts Wander and Scout and 8 MinuteClasses. She is also a mom of four kids. She has an adventurous spirit and is always looking to add a bit of magic to the normal routine. 


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