Raising children is one of the most personally rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. Although there are bound to be a few rough spots, it brings great comfort to watch your kids mature into adults. However, you may find yourself wanting to spend more time than just birthdays and holidays with your adult children.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a vacation together? Watching your kids see something for the first time or revisit a special place can be exhilarating at any age. A vacation can be a great opportunity for reestablishing your bond with your children.
Taking a vacation with your children after they are grown will provide you with some incredible opportunities to deepen your connections with them, their spouses, and even their kids.
Follow these strategies for successful trips with your grown kids:
1. Take the lives and schedules of your children into consideration.
Is there a time of year for them that is less busy? Maybe they’d jump at the chance to see the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. in the springtime.
2. Discuss taking a short trip together with your kids.
How do your children feel about taking a trip with you? If you have more than one grown-up son or daughter, the planning of the event could get complicated. Talk with your partner first about whether to take the kids on separate trips with their spouses or all the kids with their spouses at once.
Discussing the idea of a family trip with your adult kids can be a pleasant and emotionally enriching conversation for all of you.
3. Keep in mind that a main purpose of the trip is to spend time with your children.
Think of ways to spend quality time with them doing activities you all enjoy. Your kids may want some time alone and that’s okay, too.
For example, if your son loves modern art, plan a trip to a place where there’s a great art museum. If your daughter loves the ocean, rent a condo on the beach for a few days to just hang out and catch up.
4. Agree in advance how you'll split up the time.
Discussing a schedule with your kids will give them some say in how your vacation time will be spent.
For example, let’s say you’re planning a Wednesday to Sunday trip with your daughter, Amy, and her husband, Stewart.
You’ll fly together to the destination on Wednesday, unpack, and have dinner as a family that evening.
On Thursday, you might want to explore the local sites in the morning and have lunch together. Amy and Stewart might have some things they want to do for the rest of the day so you and your spouse can have your own time then.
Maybe you meet up for breakfast and dinner on Friday, but each couple will do something that interests them during the day.
Saturday the whole group might do some local sightseeing, partake in some local entertainment, and eat all your meals together.
On Sunday, you’ll do breakfast on your own and then fly home together as a family.
The key is to have some tentative trip itinerary before you leave that has considered everyone’s preferences. You’ll all have an idea how things will go once you arrive at your destination. Hopefully, this will prevent tension, arguments, and hurt feelings.
5. Be flexible and avoid insisting that things go a particular way.
As with any trip, things can go awry. Be flexible when it comes to adjusting your plans. This will set a wonderful example for your kids as well as avoid uncomfortable exchanges.
6. Show love and affection during the trip.
A hug in the morning, a squeeze of their hand, or a special look can be wonderful demonstrations of how much you love your children.
7. Take advantage of this time to learn more about your son or daughter.
Have lengthy conversations about things your kids are interested in over dinner or during the walk to the museum. Sometimes life gets busy and you lose touch with the details of your child’s daily life. Demonstrate you want to know all you can about them now that they’re adults.
Consider taking an occasional trip with your grown children. Vacations together build family connections, strengthen your relationships, and provide opportunities to experience loving adventures as a family. Invite your children over soon and start making plans!