5 Spring Break Trip Tips for the Concerned Parent
Spring Break is an institution among high school and college kids. It's an opportunity to cut loose with friends and celebrate the imminent arrival of summer vacation. It's also often the last chance to kick back before final exam season kicks in.
As a parent, you want to protect your kids while still allowing them a reasonable degree of autonomy. If you're concerned about Spring Break shenanigans, follow these tips to protect your kids (without smothering them).
If you don't think your teen will respond well to the word "rules," create guidelines or suggestions instead. The point is to make sure your child knows about potential risks and is prepared for them. In a special article for Penn Live, Sandy Fenton offers a list of 17 topics to go over with your child before he or she leaves on a Spring Break vacation.
Cover issues like drugs and alcohol, local laws in the destination city or country, packing the right supplies, and staying hydrated. You can even write down some of the most important rules or issues and ask your child to carry the list on vacation.
Stay in Contact
You might feel better if you hear your child's voice at least once or twice per day while he or she is gone. Create check-in times (such as in the morning and evening), and encourage your child to call home whenever he or she wishes. You might even buy a spare cell phone battery for your teen's phone just in case the original goes dead or gets damaged.
Particularly if your teen is in high school, collect the cell phone numbers of the other people in his or her group. If you can't get in touch with your child, you might be able to reach a friend instead. Avoid calling every hour, on the hour, but don't hesitate to stay in touch.
Provide the Right Paperwork
If your teen is traveling internationally, documentation is essential for safety. Make sure your teen has state identification, a passport, and any other documents the border agencies require for entry. If possible, make copies of those documents. Keep one for yourself and give the other set to your teen.
Watch the News
You can also keep an eye on travel advisories and warnings. Issues like political instability and crime waves can make a destination less safe — especially for teenagers. If you see an advisory, invite your teen to change his or her plans. Alternatively, you can request (or demand, in the case of high schoolers) that your child plans a Spring Break trip in the States instead of abroad.
Encourage Activities Closer to Home
Especially for younger teenagers, encourage your child to make plans close to home. A day trip to the beach or a "staycation" with a daily itinerary might prove less stressful for you and your child. Offer to help brainstorm ideas and, if necessary, provide transportation.
Parents often experience anxiety (and even dread) when their kids prepare for Spring Break. Setting boundaries and preparing your child can help you get through this experience without difficulty.