We’re all busy… we work, we parent, we try to have a bit of time for self-care. Teens are busy too! Most get up early, go to school, then come home, work on homework and get ready for bed just to start the day again. Over the past few months, I’ve heard multiple times about the importance of a few key hours in a teen’s day: the hours of 3pm-6pm. What is so different about this small part of the day?

The hours between 3pm-6pm are the most vulnerable time of day for a teen to engage in high risk behaviors. For example, most teens who get high do so during this time NOT at 2am like we might assume. Juvenile violent crimes also peak during the times right after school. It’s the time just after school when tweens and teens are typically on their own without any adult supervision.

What can parents do to help prevent their teens from engaging in risky behavior?

  • Keep them occupied. Extracurricular activities are an excellent distraction. They not only keep them occupied during a time when parents aren’t around, activities like sports, music, volunteering teach time management, responsibility, team work, and self-discipline. Look for afterschool programs in your area like the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, or other school sponsored programs.
  • Know where your teen is after school
  • Communicate regularly. Text, call, SnapChat… use whatever method your teen is using to communicate
  • Know their peer group (and the parents of their peers). Get to know your teen’s friends and create a community of support with their parents.

For more information on this topic check out these resources:

The Afterschool Alliance

Renton Youth Advocacy Center