By the time your kids are teens, words like Staycation can yield some epic eye rolls. With their friends off to Spring break at Walt Disney World (yes even in high school and especially senior year!), at a warm beach, or touring colleges, staying home as a high school student is anything but cool. Keenly aware of what everyone else is doing, there is nothing worse than having nothing to share when they head back to school. Since family is likely not top of their list for awesome people to spend time with, you can find your hands full of all kinds of disgruntled moodiness if you aren’t ready with a plan to channel all that energy. And there is no question that plan needs to be focused on the kinds of things teens really like to do.
As the Mom of high school athletes who play spring sports, at this stage in our family’s life, Spring spring break at home is just what we do. Thanks to “optional” practices and tournaments that if missed, mean your player is benched upon return for the same number of missed games, its just easier not to rock that boat. So when it comes to family travel, we focus on late summer because they also play all summer long (I know!) Because the Spring break sports schedules define our days home, in order for my kids to have a sense that they got to do something special, we have to be flexible about what we do and when.
And then there is the very real conversation about found time. Teens are busy people and Spring break can offer a gold mine of time to accomplish some much needed activity that you simply can’t schedule at any other time. If you are raising them you totally get me. So here are a few Spring break stay cation tips for teens to get you pointed in the right direction:
Visit the Outlet Mall
Show me a teen who doesn’t love to shop or at least get something new that they’ve been pining for. Because brand names can matter at this stage it can be a challenge to find those teen fashion must haves at an affordable price. To fulfill those wishes, Spring break is a great time for us to visit the outlet mall. This has become a bit of a tradition and everyone looks forward to window shopping and looking for deals. Keeping a parameter on their spending, our plan is to limit purchases to both Nike and Vineyard Vines, replacing worn out tennis shoes and getting some very trendy t-shirts too. Anything beyond that is up to them to buy and when you add in lunch out, this makes for a fun day trip and gives them something new to wear when they go back to school too ~ always a good feeling no matter how young or old you are!
Try Extreme Sports
This sounds more dramatic than it is I promise. Yes I have athletes so everyone is always looking for something physical to do and that certainly slants my perspective on activities. But here in Raleigh we have rock climbing, dirt bike and skateboard parks, plus zip line and paint ball facilities not too far away. So while I definitely don’t want my people to get hurt (see above for spring athletes) these kinds of extreme sports facilities offer a fun excursion right here at home.
Take a Day Trip
I think the part that bugs teens at home the most can be that they don’t get to go somewhere. Enter day trip. While this post is about a Spring break staycation, nothing says you can’t make a day trip to another town or even state depending on how close you are. For us, it’s the mountains or the beach and time spent there is always time well spent. Again keeping in mind the sports schedule you might have to honor, a day out of town is good for the soul.
Campout at Home
This depends entirely on your teen if they think this would be cool, but an impromptu campout in the backyard with a fire pit and some friends can be a great night of fun. One of my son’s has a friend who lives on 13 acres. Also a member of the baseball team, he’d often host the guys for a bonfire and campout over break since they were all home due to the Spring break tournament. If you have younger children, consider making plans for them to have a sleepover elsewhere and give your teen a night to hang in their world with their favorite peeps. Fire up the grill, have plenty of snacks and smores, the IPhone speakers ready to roll, and then lay low while they have their time.
Spend Time at the Spa
Admittedly this is a nod to teen daughters, but a morning spent getting a manicure, pedicure and perhaps even a massage could be a luxury they would never expect and be completely thrilled to enjoy. If nothing else the massage should chill them out and help them see that time spent relaxing is definitely a good thing.
Volunteer for School Credit
Many high schools, both public and private, require their teens to volunteer a certain number service hours in order to graduate. While it might seem like a chore, when scheduled over Spring break and around other activities its a great way to get them out of the house doing something for others. It’s also a prefect reality check if their complaints about not getting to do anything get more airtime then they should.
Take on Odd Jobs
When everyone else is gone, that’s the perfect time for your teen to make some money under the table. Encourage them to post a notice on the HOA board or reach out to their friends parents to offer their services to dogsit, house sit, mow the lawn, whatever is needed. In the same breath, there is also babysitting. Plenty of parents with younger kids might be home and would welcome a babysitter to lighten the load. This is as true for your sons and daughters these days.
While there is no question juggling teens who wish they were anywhere but home can be a handful, if you offer suggestions and let them choose based on the time they have and interests they’d like to pursue, you might find you have a fabulous week after all. Tell me…
What are your best staycation tips for teens?
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!