Is it okay to plan a family vacation with teens, and let your baby have her own vacation with Grandma or Auntie? I had this question come up the other day with a friend who is was struggling with the decision to take her teenagers on a special trip as they inch nearer and nearer to college. The trouble is they now have a younger child and were not sure if it was wrong to leave the baby with Grandma.
Do you think it’s wrong to have a family vacation with your teens and not your tot?
The Dilemma – You don’t have a lot of time left
When you have a big gap between the ages of your kids, like I do with teenagers and a toddler, the hardest part of life for your teenager can be the loss of the types of fun you used to have with your parents.
Especially at a time when they really need you to teach them a lot about the world. They need to travel with you and learn how it’s done, now that they are paying attention more. And you have precious few summers, winters, (you get it- TIME) with your teens before they are off on their own and perhaps never really come back to live with you again.
Take a family vacation with your teens and allow your toddler to have his own vacation at Grandma’s.
Even if this is a staycation, a mini weekend get-away, or a full-fledged 10-day vacation of a lifetime before the college sendoff, this time together is so important. This freedom from guilt to give a few fleeting moments of one on one attention to your teenager is a precious gift, one your teen will never forget.
The Problem with Vacationing with a Baby/Toddler
For your toddler, not so much sadly. Experienced moms know the sting of asking their older kids, “hey remember that time we went on vacation when you were (insert 2-5 years old) to XYZ, and ABC happened?”
“Wait, you don’t remember that? It was so beautiful/funny/memorable.”
For the love of your teenagers, do not wait until your new baby is 7 years old (old enough to remember the details) to plan a memorable family trip of a lifetime with your teen, who will at that point be an adult.
Take the time and go with them before it is too late, they are off to college and the opportunity is lost.
Please don’t bother to try and throw shade at me. It’s not going to work. I have already spent thousands taking my kids on a trip they don’t remember except for very vaguely, and the part they remembered was the local tree frog they held, and the pool. Sigh. We could have had that memory at the local Zoo and YMCA. Not doing that again.
I will, however, make sure that the years I do have left with my teenagers before they are adults will be bonding and memorable for them. They deserve to have some fun now. Traveling to see our beautiful country and the rest of the world, now that they are getting old enough to 1) appreciate the experience and 2) remember the finer details.
If you still need more reasons you should take a family vacation with teens, here they are…
So here are some reasons why you should go for it and let your toddler enjoy a vacation with Grandma and Grandpa, while you take off for a vacation on your own with your teenager.
Your teen still needs you (a lot actually), even though they now need to share your time with their younger sibling.
Believe it or not, if you did anything right at all, your teenager really wants to spend some time bonding and experiencing life with you. Let them.
This is your chance to teach them things about the world in preparation for them leaving on their own.You cannot get this time back.
Baby should get to bond with her Grandparents who will spoil her rotten. LET THEM.
You know this, they don’t get this time back either. Your parents are not getting any younger. None of us are. Let them have this joy together too.
Do you really want to chase your baby around outside when you could be looking up enjoying the Sistine Chapel?
You might not be headed to Italy, but you know what I mean.
This could be a lifelong dream of yours too if you are headed to a new place. Enjoy it with your teenager who will appreciate it. And leave the tantrum-ing toddler who just wants to take a nap, at home.
There is a reason that children under 2 gain free entrance everywhere. The kid sure isn’t getting anything real out of the experience. No one in their right mind would pay for a child to go!
Life goes on without you (when it comes to your baby).
Hate to break it to you. I know this is harsh and not a very joyful statement, but absolutely true. When it comes to your baby, life goes on without you. And if it is not true, we need to examine why not?
The exception to this is a nursing baby. If your baby is nursing and not yet running around, he is easy enough to carry along with you. They don’t need to be set down and you can carry them and they will sleep wherever you are and it’s all good. Take them with you.
A Toddler. Different story. Toddlers need routine, and naps and quiet time, and food, and downtime and all that fun stuff Grandma can provide while you and your teens are jet-setting the State, Country, World.
AND, they will not remember any of it. Time is a different thing for a toddler. Days of you away are like hours to them. If they are in good hands, they will be happy when you return, but it won’t be like they were pining for you for days.
Your Toddler does not care one snot about all the cool stuff you will be seeing.
If you visit a historic place that your kids are interested in because they learned all about it in History Class, do you think your toddler is going to care one single bit about it? No, they will be bored and begging you to go play in the patch of grass on the outside lawn.
However, you are creating lifelong memories for your teenager they will carry with them and hopefully appreciate.
Lord willing you will have many more opportunities to take your little one on fabulous vacations, and your older kids might even be available to come along too.
Your kids are not the ones who decided to have a baby, you were, and very likely without their buy-in. Do not punish them during this perfect time for them to experience these moments and have some fun.
In our family, vacation time and money was always a scarce and treasured thing. Make those special occasions precious memories for your children and go have a fun family vacation with your teens, while you still can.
I do not mean you should leave your baby home for every fun family trip.
You do want to create memories that all the older family members share of your toddler being cute and discovering new things. But once in a while, it’s okay to have fun with your teenagers like you used to before the baby came along.
My point is this. Just as it is okay for you to go off with your spouse to reconnect and leave all the kids with Grandma, Auntie or a trusted family friend, it’s okay to reconnect with your teens and leave the baby behind to have their own adventure.
It will refresh your relationships and strengthen bonds.
So the bottom line is, of course, you should plan fun family vacations with all your kids. But it’s okay to plan one or two special getaways for just you and your teens before they head off to adulthood without you.
Away we go…
Our family is headed to the mission field this summer. To Haiti. It is a trip of a lifetime, not for glamour or for sightseeing. It is to serve. But there is a lot of travel involved and daily work, excessive heat, and mosquitos, and it is no place for a toddler.
So our parents are excited for a mini vacation with their newest grandchild, and the girls and my husband and I are off on an adventure we will soon not forget.
Life doesn’t need to stop for your teens because your baby came along. Find ways to rejuvenate and reconnect with your older kids and they will be clamoring to see their cutie when they get home, as much as you will be.
It will be good for all of you.
So here is to fabulous family memories made with your teens.
P.S. Ready to Take your Kid on a great vacation? Here are some great tips from ABookLovers Adventures.com: 5 Tips for Traveling with Teens
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.