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Three tips for travelling with teens


It's easy to think that spending money on a holiday for teens who won’t appreciate your effort is a waste of time, but it really isn’t.

Teens can be contrary, moody, and like to sleep a lot. They’re also addicted to screens and will probably hate organised activities. If you’re planning a family holiday for you, your kids, foster kids, and your extended family, it’s a wise idea to recalibrate your expectations. Otherwise, things might go pear-shaped. 

Why bother
Holidays are a chance for everyone to bond. In everyday life, chances are your kids barely acknowledge your existence beyond noticing when the fridge is empty, or their clothes haven’t miraculously been washed and ironed. Spending a week or more together, away from the pressures of work and life, allows everyone to talk without time pressures, enjoy one another’s company in a relaxed environment, and just be together. 

It's easy to think that spending money on a holiday for teens who won’t appreciate your effort is a waste of time, but it really isn’t. Consider it a way to make memories before your teens grow up and no longer want to be seen with their parents in public. That day will come sooner than you think!

Holidays can also help parents of foster kids find ways to connect in a neutral place. If you have fostered teens from, book a holiday so you can all feel like a family. There’s less pressure when getting to know each other away from the family home. Just remember, if you want to take your foster teen on holiday you will need to obtain permission from the local authority and carry out a risk assessment.

Have a family planning meeting
Don’t book a holiday without consulting the kids. They may have important plans or opinions about where you should go. Teens don’t like feeling powerless and are more likely to act out if you steamroll over their feelings. The same applies if you have recently become a foster carer and are not sure what your foster teens will enjoy. Use this meeting to find out and be willing to compromise on some things if it helps smooth the waters for a fun trip.

Schedule plenty of downtime
Teens dislike being dragged around from museum to monument all day long. They like sleeping in and staying up late. Factor this into your itineraries and have enough downtime to keep everyone happy. It’s OK if you spend some time apart during the holiday. For example, if you want to visit a museum on local history, don’t drag your teens along if they have no interest. Let them enjoy a lazy morning on the beach or in their room. Let them have some independence, with a few ground rules in place.

Be a chill parent
Pick your battles on holiday. If your teen refuses to sample the local food, don’t go all Godzilla on them. It’s OK if they prefer something plain, like pasta. Just because you fancy trying a different type of seafood, or a spicy new curry, doesn’t mean they will enjoy it too. Give your kids a break and let them be them. 

Finally, don’t expect any thanks for planning a cool trip of a lifetime. Your teens might be grateful one day, but they are unlikely to show it anytime soon.

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