Sadly, what you might think makes for an excellent family vacation may be met with scorn and glances that are far too harsh to befit the face of an 8-year-old. To you, museums are full of wondrous examples of the world around us. However, to a young child, they’re full of places to get lost and for a middle schooler, they’re full of lots of things that aren’t a bed, TV or the cute girl or boy from class.
To you, nothing beats the roar of a crowd and crack of the bat at a baseball game over the summer. But once the cotton candy is off the stick and all over your kids’ face, hands, shirt and the man in front of them, it’s hard to the little tykes from squirming.
The woods can be a quiet and relaxing place – that is unless you’re bringing a few moody teenagers in tow. So when you’re getting ready to pack up the car this summer and head out for a week or long weekend of camping with the family, you might have to pitch the idea before you pitch the tent.
Instead of dragging your kids around, put in a little work beforehand to persuade your kids that this year’s vacation isn’t going to go the same way as last year’s exhilarating trip to the Mustache Hall of Fame. Consider the top three ways to convince your kids that camping is fun:
1.) Make up a legend about the campground where you’re staying: It might be good to invoke the tales of Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill, or make up your own stories about the cowboys, patriots, gladiators and princesses who once dwelt in the very same woods. It might be good to stay away from stories about murderers, escaped convicts, ghosts, men who eat squirrels and Heidi Montag.
2.) Explain the appeal of an outdoor bathroom: There may be few better father-son moments than picking out an ideal shrub or tree behind which to relieve oneself. Unfortunately, moments like these are unlikely to make it into the family photo album, so be sure to really relish it.
3.) Give them the accurate portrayal of what to expect: Explain that by the third night of the trip, their father will be covered with mosquito bites, their mother will be tired of cooking over a fire, and if they complain enough the family can find a cheap hotel for the remainder of their stay.