Sun’s Out, Fun’s Out: Keeping Teens Safe and Engaged All Summer Long

Summer! A time for relaxation, adventure, and maybe a touch of boredom. While freedom is fantastic, unstructured days can lead to poor decisions, including experimenting with alcohol or drugs. Here’s how to ensure your child has a fun-filled summer free of substance use.

Share a Book!

  • Sharing a powerful book with your child is a great way to engage them in meaningful conversation this summer.
  • We recommend purchasing Victoria’s Voice for you and your child, niece, nephew, or grandchild. Victoria’s Voice, which centers around Victoria Siegel’s hand-written diary, is a gripping peek inside the mind of an occasionally happy, healthy teen, and other times a teen dramatically influenced by drugs and alcohol. This book will open up  lifesaving conversations about youth drug use and addiction. It just might save your child’s life.


  • Start the conversation: Talk openly and honestly about the dangers of drug use. Discuss peer pressure, dispel myths, and emphasize the importance of healthy choices. Let your child know they can talk to you about anything without judgment, even if they say something shocking!
  • Listen: Listen, encourage your child to ask questions, and give honest answers. If you don’t know the answer, look it up.
  • Set boundaries: Share your expectations about curfew, phone use, and acceptable behavior. Let them know they will be held accountable.

Make Use of Free Time

  • Plan together: Get your teen involved in creating a summer schedule. Explore options like camps and classes that align with their interests.
  • Stay connected: Be sure your child stays connected to friends, teammates, and family. These social connections will help maintain their sense of belonging and inclusion.
  • Get active: Summer is prime time for outdoor adventures. Try hiking, biking, swimming or any outdoor activity—get those bodies moving! Shared family activities give you time to connect and communicate.
  • Get to work: A part-time summer job or volunteer activity will develop your child’s sense of responsibility, pride, and purpose.

Pay Attention

  • Be observant: There are emotional markers of health that you can monitor in your child. We call them VITAL SIGNS. These can alert you that it is time to pay closer attention, interact more, dig deeper, or intervene in your child’s life. Sudden changes in mood, sleep patterns, behavior, or friend group can be warning signs of risk.
  • Know their peers: Be aware of who your teen is spending time with. Talk to other parents and encourage positive social circles. If your child’s friends are experimenting with alcohol or drugs, your child is likely doing the same.
  • Monitor their online activity: Know which platforms your child is on and who they are communicating with. A smartphone gives your child easy and unlimited access to illicit drugs, counterfeit prescription pills, and vapes.


  • You matter: Your guidance can significantly influence your child’s decision to experiment—or not—with alcohol and drugs. Share your values and expectations with your child and remind them that you will be paying attention.
  • Family matters: Creating strong family bonds will give your child a sense of belonging and confidence in knowing who they are and what they believe in.
  • Stay informed: Educate yourself about the signs of risk in your child. Access our FREE VITAL SIGNS program for lifesaving information and practical tools to help guide your child safely through adolescence today.
  • Seek help if needed: If you suspect your child is using drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Call 1-800-662-HELP or visit for mental health or substance use support and treatment referral.

Stay engaged, keep them talking, and be vigilant. It’s going to be a great summer!

Back to News/Media