Especially on vacation, you want your kids to do more than just play games in the air conditioning all day. So how do you keep screen time to a minimum, and make your family vacation one to remember?
Leave The Screens At Home
You should, of course, take a phone with you when you go on vacation, but do you (or your kids) really need the tablet or the laptop? As much as possible, leave your screens at home. Bring board games instead of tablets, books instead of e-readers, and, if it makes sense, only bring one smartphone. Bring a disposable camera for photos and a travel alarm clock, if you’re worried about not having those available. If you’re flying, this will have a nice fringe benefit: You’ll have more room in your luggage.
Set A Good Example
Kids pick up behaviors from parents, so if you spend all day looking at a screen, they’ll do the same thing. Set limits and standards for your whole family and keep each other accountable. As your kids see you put down the screen and go outside, they’ll follow. And remember, when you leave, put your screen down and make your kids do the same.
Set Limits Before You Leave
Sit the whole family down and set screen limits and expectations before you leave on the trip. For example, you might say that tablets are fine when you’re traveling, like on an airplane or in the car; however, once you get to your destination, they go off and they stay off during the day and only come out after dinner. It’ll depend on your vacation and where you’re going, so talk about reasonable rules and make sure your kids both participate in setting the rules and understand why the rules are the way they are. Also, don’t hesitate to take screens away — from kids and adults alike — if the rules get broken.
Have A Lot To Do
Another way to keep screens off is to ensure that your vacation is full of things to do and places to go. Before you get on the plane or behind the wheel, spend some time as a family picking out a bunch of activities and ideas to explore where you’re going. Theme parks, natural wonders, parks and recreation, historical monuments, museums — all of these let you both learn more about the area you’re going to and make the trip one to remember.
Use Locks And Timers
Don’t forget you can also enforce the rules with the tools on your screens. A timer app can ensure certain apps, or even the whole device, isn’t accessible before a set time and locks after a set time. And parental controls can ensure kids stick to just a handful of apps.
Screen time can cut into family time, but only if you let it happen. By taking control of your family’s screens, you’ll get closer together and enjoy your vacation much more. If you want to control screen use while on vacation (and at home!), learn more about Screen Time.