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Fun with Teenagers: Who Knew?

August 12, 2012

A week ago the four of us, myself, my wife Binita, Sarina (19) and Shaan (16) completed a great vacation to Washington, D.C.  Now, full disclosure, we have had some vacations that were absolute clunkers.  Those vacations featured arguing, unmotivated kids and just plain old stress.

This trip to D.C. was great.  It featured a variety of activities, multiple planners, a sensible pace and lots of laughs.

So, here are my Top Five suggestions for having a great vacation with your teens/tweens.

1.         Have Everyone Contribute to the Planning Process – in the past, my wife Binita  has done nearly 100% of the planning.  This is unfair to her and then others feel like they have no voice (even though we didn’t contribute when given an opportunity).  The kids are I helped pick out museums to see, excursions to go on and places to eat.  Everyone felt happier and more empowered.  

2.        Keep the Pace Reasonable – most teens are not early morning people (have you noticed?).  We started most of our days as a foursome at around 10:00 am.  On a couple of the days, Binita and I went out earlier by ourselves and everyone was happier for it.

3.       Stay at a Nice Place – the four of us stayed in the same room, but it was a sweet place (Sofitel).  After a long day of touring, it is nice to come back to little things like “turn down service”  and a fluffy robe.  When in doubt, pick the nicer place.

4.      Find a Unifying Theme – we all enjoy the Food Network, so we made it a point to go to a couple of restaurants that were featured on different shows on the network (Food TV app is awesome).  This really enhanced our enjoyment and anticipation of meals.

5.     Splitting Up is Good – presenting options is a powerful motivator for teens.  One day Binita/Shaan went on a college visit to Georgetown while Sarina and I shopped (yes, I did!!!).  On another night Shaan and I went to a Washington Nationals baseball game while the ladies went out to dinner.  Everybody’s voice was heard and their needs were met.

Five simple ideas that can make vacationing with your teens/tweens more enjoyable.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL .  Contact him at

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2012 9:26 am

    Brian and I both love the Food Network!

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