Family holidays are fantastically good fun, but there is no denying they come with their challenges. When the kids are young, you need to find ways to keep them busy on the journey, look for family-friendly destinations, and you are constantly thinking of ways to keep them safe and out of the sun. Then, as they get older, you are stuck trying to find ways to keep them happy on a family trip when they would rather be at home with their friends than away with mom and dad. Here are some great tips to help keep the teens happy so you can all enjoy a family trip together.
Involve them in the planning phase of your break. Teens love to feel involved and as if their opinions matter. Ask them to write a list of all the things they want from a break, and then get them to write another list of things the rest of the family need, especially younger children. Sit together, prioritize these lists and try to find a break that meets everyone’s needs. Look at hotels and flights together and make sure they know that their opinions matter.
When you are traveling with teenagers, especially girls, it can be tempting to try to get them to cover up all the time. But, they will resent this. Go shopping together and let them find outfits that they like and show off their personalities. Juniors tankinis are a fantastic option for the beach.
As well as buying swimwear them, while you’re shopping ask them to help you with your own holiday wardrobe. Again, they will love feeling like you value their opinion.
Before you travel, ask them to look online to find some activities. These could be things for the whole family to do together or for them to try on their own. Then, if you can, book some activities so they know they’ve definitely got something to look forward to. Some of these activities might mean the grownups need to step out of their comfort zones, but the teens will get a real kick from knowing you are trying something new for them.
Give Them Responsibility
Teenagers love being given some responsibilities. You know your child better than anyone, so decide how much to trust them with. Let them pack their own hand luggage or suitcase or let them oversee packing for younger brothers and sisters. Let them know how big a help they are being and how grateful you are.
Give Them Some Screen Time
When you are away, you might want to ban everyone from screens and devices. But, this might make the teens angry and homesick. Communication and friendships are incredibly important when you are a teenager so letting them have a small amount of screen time to talk to their friends and keep in touch could keep them happy the rest of the time. Set some strict rules when it comes to what time devices can come out and how long they can be on for and then make sure you stick to the rules too.
Let Them Have Some Freedom
It might be tempting to force them to stay by your side, but giving them some freedom to try new things on their own, meet new people, and have some space will show them that you trust them. The amount of space and trust you give them will depend on the child and their age. Only you can make that decision.
Make sure they understand any rules you set, such as where they are allowed to go and how long they can be gone, and decide together what the consequences will be if they break the rules.
Give Them a Project
If you are worried about them being bored, set them a project. This could be collecting treasures, a scavenger hunt, a photo project of making a scrapbook. Look on Pinterest together for some ideas.
Remember What It’s Like
You were a teenager yourself once. You probably hated being dragged on family vacations and made to do things with your parents. When you’ve had a tough day or things aren’t going as you would like, remind yourself of what it was like for you and give them a break.
Just remember (and remind them) that the older they get, there are fewer opportunities for family vacations. So, make sure you all do your best to make the most of it while you can.