As parents, we always want the best for our kids – but how we do this isn’t always 100% clear. However, in today’s connected world, one of the best gifts we can offer is the skills to thrive in this new world, while inspiring them to be curious about the things around them.
So, to help you make the most of those dwindling family vacations you and your teens are enjoying, here are our top tips:
Involve them in the Planning Process
Although the answer, “whatever,” is highly likely when you ask your son or daughter where they’d like to go, it’s still important to make them feel included. Just like us adults, teens want their voice to be heard. And the more heavily involved they are in the early stages of your vacation, the more likely they are to be engaged in the trip (and the less likely they are to moan!).
This is also the perfect chance to teach your kids about compromises. Discussing things to do, locations, methods of transportation, and costs will help them learn how they can’t have it all their way but how it’s important to make sure everybody gets something out of the trip.
Get Them Packing Their Own Case
In a panic, many parents will pack for the teen, worried they’ll forget an essential item. However, accountability is part and parcel of growing up. Is the world really going to end if they have to buy a toothbrush once they get there?
However, there won’t be anything more frustrating than your teen forgetting something important, which is why now’s a good time to show them how planning and lists are great tools. Ask them to create their own packing list so you can be sure they aren’t leaving anything behind but are taking charge of their own suitcase.
Arrange for Downtime
When you’re traveling somewhere new with a teen, it’s incredibly tempting to create a jam-packed schedule so you never hear the dreaded words, “I’m bored.” However, too much sightseeing and hectic schedules aren’t always the right answer for teens.
Many teens will retreat into themselves when they want some space. Yes, you want to spend time as a family, but it’s also important to have some alone time – both for their and your sanity.
Therefore, when you’ve got a lot of excursions planned, be sure to have a lazy day that follows these. And if you’re heading off on a city break where you’ll want to do quite a lot, look for hotels like Cape Town Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers who offer great on-site facilities that you can unwind in. For example, you might want to sit in your room and read a book, but your teen might find it more relaxing hitting the gym or spa.
Allow for Screen Time
You could insist your teen doesn’t take their phone with them when you’re on a tour or are out as a family, but this will probably be met with plenty of indignation. So instead, teach another lesson of compromise with this. Discuss when “screen time” will be accepted and when it won’t. This will make it much easier for you to get their attention when you want it without them having to cut themselves off from Facebook, Instagram, and so on completely.
By embracing these adventures with your teens and getting them involved in all of the planning and preparation, you’ll teach them important skillsets that’ll come in useful when they do fly the nest and start exploring the world on their own two feet.