So it’s summer, which means the kids have a ton of free time. Nowadays, free time equals screen time, which can be fine in small doses, but can engulf our lives if we let it. Even as adults we have a tendency to become addicted to our phones, tablets and televisions. Technology has given us enormous advantages, but has also complicated life in many ways.
Summer vacation should be a time to get away from the constant barrage of information we deal with every day. We don’t necessarily need to put all our devices away for good (although it’s not a bad idea) during a trip, but if we want to experience all the sights our vacation has to offer, we need to at least cut down on “screen time.”
This week, we’re going to give you some tricks and tips to keep you and your family away from the devices on vacation. Check them out below, and feel free to comment with anything you’ve done to cut down on technology use on a trip!
So, this might seem obvious, but kids pick up on their parents’ behavior. If you’reconstantly staring at your phone, yet tell them to put it away, it’s not going to go over well. Set a good example by limiting screen time to a certain hour of the day, or an amount of minutes, and be sure to follow it yourself. This will help you both, and will often show you just how addicted you’ve become to checking your phone or tablet during the day.
As we’ve said before, you’ll definitely want to have a camera to document all the cool things you do and see on your trip, and it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to leave their phones at home. You could however, leave that 2nd DVD player behind, not take that third tablet, etc. Sure, you might want to keep the kids quiet in the car, but the less you have, the less temptation there will be.
If your time is occupied by natural wonders, landmarks and national parks, there will be little screen time available. Make sure you’ve planned plenty of activities each day, and you and the kids won’t need a screen to look at. You don’t necessarily need every minute of every day planned, but if you’re with family, be sure there are plenty of sights to see along the way.
Books and board games are a fantastic substitute for tablets, and they offer a lotmore imaginative and “together” time. If you’re camping, have a night where the kids cook dinner. There are all kinds of options you can use to keep your family occupied in a healthier way.
One thing that’s nice about modern technology is that it usually allows us to disable usage at a certain time. If needed, set a curfew for usage and lock everyone’s devices. It might seem harsh, but the time you spend actually talking and having fun will more than make up for it.
There are many benefits to reducing time spent with electronics, including better sleep, improved school performance, weight loss and increased energy. It’s amazing, but oftentimes we’re not aware how much time we waste staring at those bright screens. If we can give ourselves a respite, especially during vacation, it will open our eyes and allow us to see the sights in their natural beauty. So put those phones and tablets down, and as always, happy exploring!