Teenagers can be both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. On their journey to adulthood, calm seas can quickly become stormy in the blink of an eye. They’re becoming young men and women and are trying to find their way. While it's not always bliss living with teenagers, you still want to spend family time together and build lasting memories. Here are some great tips for camping with teenagers to help keep them engaged, having fun, and experiencing the joy of camping.
These days most kids are dependent on their mobile devices, whether it's a phone, tablet, or laptop. While declaring that all technology is off limits might not be doable, you should set limits on technology usage at the beginning of your trip. You'll probably encounter areas where Wi-Fi isn't available, so getting them to unplug will be easy. But for those times when they want to reach for their phones instead of going on a family hike, you should have clear rules and boundaries to ensure that everyone is participating in family activities. Teenagers discover who they are through their social interactions, so don't cut them off completely from social media, just monitor and limit it. Maybe declare a certain time in the morning and evening as times when everyone can get on their devices to check email and social media.
Engaging in Activities
“This is stupid!”, “Whatever …”, and eye rolling are all things that come along with teens. What you hear though is not always what’s actually inside. Most teens will start off with this type of attitude but as long as the activity is fun, they’ll eventually come around and enjoy it. The key is to get passed the attitude that says “I’m too cool to enjoy this.” The more you react to these types of comments and sighs, the more they’ll do it. If you can, try to ignore it and keep a positive attitude. Obviously, address things if they need to be addressed, but otherwise it's good to let some things go. Remember, pick your battles, as not every one is worth winning.
When you plan your activities, make sure to pick ones that will actually engage them. A simple hike in the early morning isn’t going to thrill them. Give them something to look for or something to do during the activities. If you want to take a hike, create a nature scavenger hunt and make it a competition to see who can find the most things. It’s also best to plan things for later in the morning and let them sleep in a little. Teens need around 9.5 hours of sleep as their bodies and brains are busy developing. A tired teen is an irritable teen, so avoid waking them up early if possible. For fun activities that will get them up and moving, try Frisbee 500 or Board Walk. If your teen is more into art, try making dream catchers with them. If you find yourself stuck inside due to rain, you can avoid returning to technology by playing family board games or Riddle Me This.
One thing that brings many people together is food. Dating back to ancient times, it was said that you never dine with your enemy, and eating together means you consider one another friends or family. One of our favorite things about campfire cooking is how easy it is to get everyone to pitch in! Have your teens help gather firewood and build a fire! Since a lot of campfire cooking is in individual packets, they can prep their own meal and decide what goes in it. They will love this campfire meatloaf that they can help prepare for the whole family, or they can make these great Nutella recipes or baked apples. When you’re camping, it’s a good time to relax about what they're eating. Let them enjoy foods that are normally off limits at home. Just make sure they know that it’s a treat that comes with camping and it’s not going to follow you back home.
Having great activities and meals planned can make camping a much more enjoyable experience for teens. Let them help plan the trip and it will empower them even more. If they have younger siblings, they can plan and be in charge of some activities for them as well. Camping with teens can sound scary, but once everyone is relaxed and engaged, you'll all have a great time together as a family!