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How to get a teenager to like camping again

Even the most ardent RVing families can find their teenager(s) less than excited about upcoming camping trips. We found our RV languished next to the driveway when our kids hit their teenage years. That was both from having a ton of teen activities and a teenage general lack of interest.

Grandparents can face the same disappointment when their beloved grandchild shrugs and begs out of a camping trip.

There are several ways you can try to help teenagers to enjoy camping again:

1. Make it a group activity

Teens often enjoy activities more when they can do them with friends. Let them invite a friend or two to join the camping trip. This will give them an opportunity to socialize and have fun with their peers.

2. Offer new and exciting activities

Camping doesn’t have to be just about sitting around a campfire. There are many exciting outdoor activities that teens might enjoy, such as hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, or mountain biking. Remember, however, they are never too old for s’mores. (Perhaps trying a new s’mores recipe is something they’ll enjoy?)

3. Make them part of the planning

Encourage your teenagers to help plan the trip, including deciding on the campsite, what to pack, and what activities to do. This will give them a sense of ownership and make them more excited about the trip.

4. Make the campsite more comfortable

If your teenager is used to sleeping in a comfortable bed at home, they may be more willing to go camping if they have a comfortable place to sleep or even the privacy of a tent next to the RV. They will feel more accepted as “grown up” and that you trust them.

5. Appeal to their sense of adventure

Many teenagers are naturally curious and enjoy trying new things. Emphasize the sense of adventure and discovery that camping can provide.

6. Be positive and enthusiastic

If you’re excited about the camping trip, it can be contagious. Show your teenager that you’re looking forward to the trip and being with them, and encourage them to be open-minded.

7. Make it a digital detox (or at least limit screen time)

Encourage your teenagers to leave their phones and other electronic devices at home or at least limit their use during the trip. This will give them a chance to disconnect from screens and reconnect with nature and each other. Or, perhaps plan a trip to a campground where there’s no cell service…

8. Allow for teenage angst

Teenagers can sometimes change moods in a split second. Allow them alone time if needed and a chance to recuperate. And just like at home, you sometimes just need to give them a break.

I hope these suggestions are helpful and you are on your way to more fun family times.

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