Dear Bracha,

We have a family with teenage children as well as really young ones. I am finding it challenging to go on recreational trips or vacations that would be suitable for everyone. Is there such a thing?


Yes there is, but it takes more juggling and a lot of hard work from the parents. I assume from your question that you are like me and Club Med is out. Trying to keep everyone satisfied and the costs down is a real challenge, but when you are talking about having older children, please remember that it is everyone's challenge.

Your teenage children have to be brought into the project early. They are a big part of the picture and the more they can do to help out with their younger siblings the more flexibility the family will have and the more things the teens want to do can get done. Make it very clear to them that a definite plan of action is needed where they really work.

I can read between the lines of your letter that you have already had a bad experience; I sense the scars of trips that have been disasters! So you already know what the warning signs are from your younger children, what steps will need to be taken to keep them happy, how will you manage? Brainstorm with your teens, and write everything down, you will be surprised what they come up with.

With this plan of action you will probably come up with quite a few ideas on your own, but if you are still wondering what to do, there is one suggestion that most children, young or old usually enjoy. Camping. If you have never camped before then I suggest going to a site where everything is already set up and you "rent" everything, just like renting a cabin (or you could rent a cabin), or go with a friend who is an experienced camper. The main thing about camping is safety. Safety is first especially with your younger children. I have spoken to a great many families who find camping the answer to all their problems. It is inexpensive and allows for travel to many new places. It keeps the teens busy as they must take charge for the setting up of the tents and running the camp site, including cooking over a campfire. As for your younger children, they will be in seventh heaven! Mom and Dad maintain a very active supervisory role to keep everything going, try not to get pulled into doing everything so your teens can go free, that won't work for you. To put the "fun" in family time, parents have to have fun too. Team work, that's what it's all about, let your children shine by showing you how much they can do!

I hope you find something you all enjoy, family vacations are the stuff that makes the best family memories. The things we talk about for years, "Do you remember when we….?!" I hope you and your family will have many fond memories of the vacations you have taken together.

Wishing you and your family all the best,