Dear Vanessa’s Advice Column,
I want to take my kids on a camping trip because you are often recommending doing different types of activities with your kids. I am a little worried they are going to freak out at being outdoors. Do you have any suggestions?
Dave, Austin, Texas
Camping is a great idea! I do have a few tips though, you do not want a surly teen in the wilderness! And it is summer fast approaching, maybe planning a weekend camping trip is a good idea.
1) Do Not Force Them
You can encourage, maybe lightly bribe, but if they really really do not want to go–do not take them, they will sulk the whole time. if you can get them to gruntingly agree, that is good enough (do not expect them to be overjoyed).
2) Give Yourself Planning Time
I am all for spontaneity, but everyone has lives to plan around. Make sure your teen knows about the trip way ahead of time, so there is not unplanned projects or homework, school dances or plans with friends that are ‘unchangeable’ if you spring it on them they might get more stressed than relaxed from the trip.
3) Leave Technology at Home
If you are going to go camping make it a tech-free weekend. You know your own family’s limits better, but consider leaving cell phones, internet, iPods, DVD players, Computers at home…
4) Find an Activity
Camping is good, rock climbing, river rafting, hunting, outdoor games are even better. Nothing is worse than getting to the wilderness, away from cell phones, TV, music and internet and then having nothing to do. Get some cool new gear and pick a new family activity. Here are some cool suggestions:
5) Have the Right Gear
Make sure you are prepared. There are a few essentials you do not want to overlook:
Remember the most important thing is to have fun, stay safe and use it as a great bonding activity!