DEAR HARRIETTE: For the first time in eight years, I did not enroll my son in any type of summer camp or organized summer activity. He was tired from his first year in high school and did not want to go back to camp. He has had a few long weekends with his friends and two mini-vacations with our family, but mostly he sleeps and does little to nothing. He has to read a bit before school starts, and I’m having a hard time getting him motivated to do that. Clearly, I made a mistake giving him a break this summer. How can I get him energized before school starts again? -- Lazy Summer
DEAR LAZY SUMMER: Create an agenda from now until the end of the summer. Include daily reading for a specific period of time. Enforce bedtimes and awake times. Make your son get up, and give him a list of chores that he must do each day.
If you have the flexibility, take him places in your city where you can explore the local culture as tourists. Have him help you pick the venues so he is actively involved.
If he balks at first, point out that you realize it wasn’t smart for him to have the whole summer off, so you want to work with him now to discover meaningful ways to fill his remaining time off. Make it clear that there are no options, so he should jump in and help to make it fun. Look online for local activities that you can consider.