A Vacation Contract for You and Your Tween

Make sure the family vacation doesn't crash and burn, use this contract

Go over rules before the vacation begins. iStockphoto.com

If you're like many parents, the idea of a family vacation might cause a bit of anxiety or apprehension. Why? Older children may not be as easy to travel with as they once were, and for some reason, middle schoolers are very talented at creating family drama. If your tween has unrealistic expectations about your trip, or if family vacations tend to bring out the worst in your child, this contract might help you minimize problems down the road.

The Parent/Tween Vacation Contract
(This contract is just an example to get you started, edit as needed.)

Tween Responsibilities

  • I understand that a family vacation is not a given and that I am fortunate that my family is able to afford a trip this summer.
  • I understand that the trip may interfere with other activities I have planned this summer.
  • I understand that while on the trip, I may be asked to use my own spending money for souvenirs or special snacks, such as ice cream.
  • I know that the trip may require hours in the car and that I am responsible for finding my own entertainment for the trip. 
  • I realize that I may not get to do everything I want to while on vacation and that the needs of other members of the family will be taken into consideration.
  • I will not pout or whine if I do not get my way.
  • I will be polite to my parents and other members of the family.
  • I will follow all safety rules my parents establish while we are on vacation.
  • I understand that my parents may take away my privileges if I do not adhere to these rules and responsibilities.
  • I will use sunscreen, bug spray and will reapply them as needed.
  • I will not ask for special meals or dictate where my family goes for lunch of dinner.
  • I will help my parents by watching out for younger siblings and assisting whenever needed.
  • I understand that I may have to go to a museum or a landmark that I am not interested in, but I will not complain or attempt to ruin the trip for others.

Parent Responsibilities

  • I will ask for my tween's input on where to go and what to do while on vacation.
  • I will allow my child time alone (if he needs it) or time to chill after a busy day.
  • I will try to be patient while on vacation and be sensitive to how I treat my family members.
  • I will try not to work on vacation, or I will work as little as possible.
  • I will not embarrass my child in public.
  • I will allow my child time to text or chat with friends at home if he/she misses them.
  • I will try to teach my child something new, or show him something really interesting every day while on our family trip.
  • I will try not yell at my tween while on vacation.
  • I will make sure my tween understands the rules wherever we visit.
  • I will give my tween a warning before disciplining him.
  • I will have fun with my tween.
  • I will allow my child to find at least one fun souvenir to take home.
  • I will relax every day while on vacation.