If your teen has no plans to go on a trip for break and YOUR idea of spring break isn’t watching him focused on some variation of a screen (video games, social media, texting, tv, taking selfies, etc.) while on the couch eating snacks, then why not make the time off from school an opportunity for your family to chill out together? Just like in the “good ol’ days,” when your teens were eager to spend lots of family time with you. Not to worry: there’s still plenty of potential for fun and bonding. With a few key points in mind, a Spring Break “stay-cation” with your teen can be a wonderful opportunity to build new family memories.
- Involve Your Teen in Planning a Family Event/Outing
Nothing annoys teens more than telling them what to do and when, right? Make this an opportunity for your teen to exercise their planning/executive funcioning skills and envision what a great day trip or outing might look like. Who would attend? How far would you travel? What is intriguing or exciting about this idea, and what needs to happen to take it from an idea to a plan? Let your teen take the lead and offer to help out when and where needed. See if you can get yourself interested in what she’s interested in, especially because she came up with the idea!
2) Offer to Include a Friend
Since peers are such an integral part of their lives, why not invite your teen to invite a friend? He may appreciate that you welcome having his friends around, and that inclusion can make for a better time for all involved. Plus, as parents, you get the opportunity to witness your teen’s style of relating to others outside the family, which may occur less frequently in your presence as kids become more independent. What better way for you to become a fly on the wall where you can experience some of the music, lingo, and behaviors that you normally don’t get opportunities to witness. This may sound like you are going on some sort of anthropological field trip, but the truth is, each generation is different from the next, and it never hurts to have a little bit of insider information as tools to add to your parenting toolbox.
3) Keep it Positive
If the point of Spring Break is to relax and have fun together, then make sure it isn’t an excuse to spend time reminding them of a laundry-list of “to do’s”: homework, chores, the overdue thank-you note to grandma, or questioning their fluctuating moods or silences. Keep the spirit of vacation alive with a commitment to fun! It’s very likely that with the right attitude, you can create new memories that make the stay-at-home vacation with your teens one of the all-time family favorites.