My husband Ratan and I are avid travellers. We travelled a lot before we had children, and we began to travel again a few years after our second child was born. It was easy taking Sarita and Varun on a vacation when they were little children. They would love the outdoors and were happy to let us plan each day for them. A packet of Gems was enough to convince them to go out walking with us. But things changed as they grew older. I remember Ratan and I were very excited when we took our teenage children to see the Sun Temple at Konark. But all our teenaged kids cared about was not getting the WiFi! Imagine being at such an important place of history and civilization, and to not care about it at all! That is just how teenagers are, we realized. But it made us realize that we needed to make some changes to the way we go vacationing with our kids."
If you also feel a disconnect with your kids, here are a few things that Vanita says you could try:
1. Make your schedule fexible. Planning your vacation in detail is good but if you have every hour planned out, it becomes more like an army routine. Kids don't enjoy that!
2. Let your children have a say in the things to do! If you are going to vacation as a family, it is only fair that everyone gets to choose something they want to do.
3. An important rule to make while on a family vacation is to say NO to technology. No mobile phones, laptops and tablets should be allowed...in the day time. But if you want your kids to not be grumpy all the time, allow them to CONNECT to their virtual worlds after dinner.
4. Teenagers don't want you to plan each and every activity for them. In fact, they probably want some time to hang out on their own. As long as you think it is safe, let them.
The basic funda is to realize that teenagers are different and you cannot continue to treat them as five year olds. Give them some space and flexibility and everyone will enjoy the vacation.