The teen years are a tricky time for everyone. Kids may seem more interested in texting their friends than enjoying family time on vacation, and parents may feel it’s important for everyone to stick together. These tips will help you get the kids involved and make sure it’s a great time for everyone.

orlandovacation_teens-cell-phonesGet them involved in the planning

The number one way you can get your kids excited about the trip is to let them plan part of it. Maybe you can narrow down your Orlando resort choices and let them have the final say, perhaps you can let them plan the attractions you’ll visit at the parks, or maybe they’d rather choose a few dinners during your trip. No matter what you give them control over, they’re likely to be much more present if they’ve had a hand in making some of the vacation decisions.

Set limits on media

If you try to tell your teens they have to leave their phones at the room when you visit the parks, or that meals are media-free events, you’re likely to initially get a bad reaction. However, once they get over the immediate inconvenience of it, you’ll likely find your teen much more engaged and present. The key is to make it clear when they *can* use their devices and to leave them alone during those times. Let them plan on their time with friends, even if it’s virtual, and they may perk up when in the parks.

Let them come around on their own

Remember that your kids are less likely to be interested if they feel they’re being forced to. Let them have their own experience and trust the Disney magic! Do find attractions, shows, and experiences you think they’ll like, but don’t try to force them to have fun. They may be sullen or act bored the first few days, but when they see the rest of the family having fun eventually their eyes will light up and they’ll be kids at heart again!

Give them time off from the parks

Disney’s theme parks are wondrous places, but there are other areas that may be of greater interest to your teens. For example, give them an afternoon off to lounge in your resort pool, or rent a vacation home with its own private pool. Head to Downtown Disney for an afternoon of shopping, or visit one of the many water parks in the area. Once again, the best way to get your teens excited about an off-day is to let them call the shots! Find a few things that might interest them and let them pick their favorite.