Preparing them for Independence: Using Travel to Train Your Teens


Once your kids reach their teens, it’s a good time to start helping them to become more independent. But how can you do this in a safe and effective way so that, once they reach adulthood, they are ready to be completely independent?

One option is to use your family vacations as a form of “training.” Here are some ways that you can go about doing this.

Get Them Involved in Planning the Trip

The first thing you should do is get them involved in planning your vacation right from the beginning. Rather than booking everything yourself, ask them for their input. They’ll be pleased that you have considered their opinions, and it is an opportunity for them to have their say.

This can include getting their advice on the best location for a family break as well as the best hotel. For example, you are heading to Washington for a week, you might want to stay somewhere close to the airport but within easy reach of the major attractions, like the Marriott Westfields Washington Dulles.

Book a Separate Hotel Room for Them

One way to help your teen prepare for independence is to book them their own hotel room. That way they are near enough to be safe, but they will have their own space.

Go even further by giving them a small allowance that they can spend on hotel food, drinks, and movies. This will give them the opportunity to decide how best to spend the money available to them.

Give Them Some Time to Explore

The best thing about visiting new places is exploring, but don’t insist that your child stays right next to you for the whole time. Let them go off exploring on their own—while ensuring you keep safety in mind as well. If you visit a museum during the day, arrange a meeting time and let them see it themselves if they want to.

Keep in Touch

Make sure they have a working cell phone with them so you can keep in touch wherever you go. One with WhatsApp or another chat app will be useful because then you can contact them even when they have access to the internet but not to a cell phone signal.

This will give them the freedom to move around and explore while only ever being a phone call away.

Get Them to Plan a Day or Evening Out

Why not ask them to plan a family day or evening out? They might relish the chance to plan their own day, and they can take responsibility for arranging tickets, transport, and the other logistics.

Encourage Them to Ask for Assistance

There are many occasions in a new location when you need to ask for directions or get help from strangers. Use this as an opportunity for your child to practice doing this on their own without relying on you all the time.

Let Them Manage Their Own Budget

Finally, consider giving them some travel money and making clear that they won’t be getting any more. It will then be up to them to manage their budget wisely, which will help them to learn important financial skills.

Teach Your Kids Independence on Vacation

A family vacation is a perfect opportunity for your teenage child to learn to be more independent. Take some tips from those above, all of which are ways that you can go about helping them to help themselves.

Encourage them to do more things on their own and take responsibility for themselves, and they will learn valuable lessons that will help them to become more independent as they get older.

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