In the Kohut family, vacations have always been a spontaneous affair, like piling four kids in a motor home and finding an open lakeside campground for a week. As a high school math teacher, Janine, along with her kids, had summers off, so the only schedule to plan around was her husband Kevin's.
But something strange happened over the many years of vacations . . . . The kids grew up and no longer have synced schedules.
Dustin, 21, is now in the marines and away on active duty. Ashley, 19 and a freshman in college, has a summer job. Only Julia, 14, and Elliot, 13, were left to take the Jet Ski for a spin and make s'mores with Mom and Dad. In the end, all six of the Kohuts went on vacation to Millerton Lake in Central California, but only for a couple of days.
Like many families with teens and young adult children, the Kohuts are finding that the venerable summer family vacation is now competing with summer jobs, sports camps, and internships. But rather than just chucking the entire summer out the window, Janine and some other moms in this season of life are navigating the transition creatively, with practical wisdom and insight. Here are their seven easy ways to keep growing-up families from growing out of family vacations:
1. Enjoy more one-on-one time
Janine decided she could either mope about her older two kids not being present, or she could turn the situation into an advantage.
"It is hard when they are not all there, but on the other hand, it's a good time to connect with the other kids," she says. Janine said that the Millerton Lake trip gave her hours to kayak with Julia, giving her precious one-on-one time that is hard to get with four kids around.1