Recently we prised the tweenagers away from their screens and out of their bedrooms long enough to take a week’s holiday across the ditch. The trip was a combined birthday present to them all, the gift of an experience that they’d always remember.
Well that was the plan. The reality was a little different. There was definitely more eyerolling and sighing than I’d expected, and a lot less excitement as the tweens tried desperately hard to appear, like, totally unimpressed by everything.
So if you must travel with your tweenagers, here’s a few tips from me:
- Organise the entire trip to suit yourself. It doesn’t matter what you plan or how much fun you think it’s going to be for them, it’ll suck. You’ll suck. So you might as well make sure there’s something in it for you.
- You might think it’s a nice idea to get them involved in planning the trip by asking them to research the destination and come up with ideas about what they might like to do. Do not under any circumstances do this as it’s a statistical impossibility that they’ll actually agree on anything, and you’ll spend the weeks and months leading up to the trip in intense negotiations until you start to wish you’d never had this stupid idea about taking your tweens on an overseas trip in the first place. Or is that just me.
- Book ‘seat only’ plane tickets. That way they’ll have to pack light, and you can use the lure of an on-board movie or snack as a bribe for their co-operation. It’s the tweenage equivalent of ‘be good or Santa won’t come’.
- Go to places where you have friends or family to visit. The tweens will be better behaved in the presence of other grownups, and you’ll have someone to talk to, and drink with, who won’t eyeroll or sigh at you.
- Enjoy every moment. It won’t be long before the tweenagers will be teenagers with much better things to do than go on a family holiday (or anywhere that involves being seen in public with you for that matter).
Holidaying with three tweens tested my patience on so many levels. But that moment when the eyerolling stopped and the fun-loving children I used to know came out to play – that moment made it all worthwhile.