When the kids were little, we had a DVD player that we would bring along for them to watch movies when it was dark but we have never allowed video games. Not even handheld ones. Cell phones are the only electronics allowed. But they can bring all the card and board games they want. They have always loved camping with us and so do all their friends. Between three families, we had 7 teenagers and 2 younger kids and not one video game. They rode bikes, played cards and board games and went fishing. They even played baseball, adults and little kids included, and some neighbor kids joined in too. The key to a happy teenager is their friends. Bring a fun, outgoing friend and your kid will have a great time.
Shannen (and hubby Rick)
2 sons, ages 19 and 23
2 dogs, "Duncan" (mini schnauzer) and "Libby" (lhasapoo)
2005 Chevrolet 2500HD Duramax Crew Cab
2005 Skyline Weekender 230W
Just up the road from you near Mount Rainier Bob. I sympathize with your dilemma. I was looking at your signature and it appears you have a smaller rig so I can see where 4 kids bickering would be a deal breaker for the wife. Not knowing anything about your family structure, but when we roll with our trailer I try very hard to relieve my wife of duties she normally does at home. One thing, I always do the dishes for the family, though she is still a better cook that I am. Point is with 4 kids there are lots of chores even when camping, so make sure the mom is happy first.
When it comes to teens I have no secret. In our family our kids never had electronic games first of all, nor did our family have cable or satellite TV. We have always had the internet at home and now I have a fairly stiff cell phone bill since I do pay for our kids to have Wi-Fi on their smart phones. We roll with a fairly large trailer and the kids have always been able to invite friends for weekend trips. We are a family of readers though, and many times we are all reading books while enjoying lazy time around our camp site.
I was so sad when I heard my daughter didn’t want to go camping with us. I now have two in junior college and one in high school and the carrot for them is to come out and join us Saturday instead of going out Friday night after school and work. We like having one night alone before the kids come out. It is kind wasteful, though our diesel Jetta gets 48mpg, but then I do have to pay $10 for an extra vehicle, but I figure the State Parks can use the extra revenue.
The young folks do have a different sleeping schedule. They will stay up till the wee hours of the morning, and sleep the best part of the day away, but that’s just teenagers. I want to use every bit of my camping time doing fun things. I’m 51 now and I’m trying to cram as much living into every day I have, especially when doing something as fun as camping. We recently camped at the Ocean and we set our trailer up in a Yurt site ($68 per night) and the kids stayed in the Yurt. It was fun for all of us.