Vacations can be one of those amazing times to connect as a family. I loved those sweet days when our kiddos where happy to scoot around on bikes, and play quietly in the sand when we went camping. But now as we are in teenage land, those moments are very few and far between... OK, never really. If you have teens you know what I am talking about with their constant eye rolling and devices distracting them with their headphones, tuning out the world. So how do we connect with our big kiddos and make some memories with them before they are grown up and gone?
We all need a family vacation to unplug and refocus our busy lives. We need time to reconnect as a family and catch our breath to be able to enjoy those around us without life's distractions. So what can we do to make the most of our vacation time with our mini adults we are raising?
(Warning; this may take some bribery for food or device time. All of these options were tried, tested and worked with only minimum eye rolling)
Roast some sausages for dinner, or make smores. Anyone have a guitar? Nothing beats a lovely campfire with some silly campfire moments together
Go for a family bike ride around the area. Do a family hike and explore the best trails while enjoying the view. Bring up a picnic lunch to enjoy together at the top and take time to breathe
Fishing, paddle boarding, boating, or kayaking are all fun things to do together while being on the water. Many places rent these items out if you don't have one.
Lets face it, the only time we can get the kids to join us voluntarily in a good board game is when the WiFi is not working. So take advantage of the limited WiFi time when you can. Board games can be daunting when the kids are little, but it's seriously fun to play a serious game of "Clue" with your mini adults!
This is one of our favorites while spending a week at the beach. A nice evening stroll along the beach with ice cream as your destination is a motivation for everyone.
We googled all the best places to visit in the area and then took time to tour all the top favorites. Some were great! And others were not so much... but we will forever remember them;)
With a beach towel in hand, and a good book in the other... how can you go wrong? Bring a volleyball for a game of beach volleyball. Or a water ball for a fun game of pass or piggy in the middle in the water while trying to stay cool
Google the top food places to try in the area. There may be some amazingly fun places to try. And what teenager doesn't like to eat... but no devices at the dinner table :0
Go see a good movie in the theater together, or watch one at your campsite or hotel. If you can somehow watch it under the stars, even better! I find at this stage, it's a rare occasion that everyone actually watches a movie together without being distracted by their device, so it's a fabulous moment when we can watch something we all can enjoy together
Enough said. This one may need the boys to go one direction, and the girls another while meeting up for lunch later.
Teens can be difficult to please if we try too hard. We need to remember they are young adults. They need space to make decisions to rise up to be the adults they are growing into. Pick your battles. Give them some time to wind down on their own. They have a lot going on in their lives too! Bribery may be needed if its tough to get them to come join you on your fun... family... outing;). Make the most of the time with them. And if you really can't get them out with you for that evening stroll, no biggie, maybe you and your spouse needed some time alone anyways.
This a very special time with our mini adults. Not worring anymore about our littles waking in the night, or falling off the swings like we did when our kids were small, this is a moment in time I am trying to capture and enjoy for what it is. It is but a blink more and it may be just the two of us going on vacation. So I will soak up this moment, spending time with my beautiful kiddos while they are still sorta mine.
One more thing... this is a bonus for you; Don't forget to capture a quiet moment to date your spouse. Anyone of these things on the list can be done as a date as well. The advantage to having big kids is they can stay behind while you enjoy a quiet moment together. Remember, you will be married a lot longer than you will be raising these teens, so we need to be intentional to carve out time for our marriage. Keeping your spouse near the top of your list will help you still love each other when you are done raising your kids. Your kids may be more than happy for the break from "family" time anyways so they can enjoy their you tube and WiFi and you can enjoy your wine and cheese in peace. Happy vacation!
What are some of your favorite things to do together on your family vacation?