7 Tricks for Ditching Technology During Family Vacations
Have you ever relied on technology to curb the repeated “are-we-there-yet” question from your kids? Or maybe you’ve entertained yours kids (and even yourself) during long flights or drives with tablets, laptops, and cell phones? If you’re a parent in 2017, I’d be shocked if you answered “no” to those questions.
Nonetheless, technology is entrenched in our society. Is there a way to unplug during your family vacations? You don’t want gadgets to take over your vacation, but it’s not always easy to get buy-in from family members.
During a recent trip, my 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, and I had several unpleasant interactions regarding her iPad. I wish I had been better prepared to handle this issue. In hindsight, it would have been smart for me to consider the following strategies for decreasing screen time and increasing quality time:
1. Set Some Ground Rules
Before you head out of town, it’s a good idea to have a discussion as a family about what types of technology are allowed and how often. Perhaps you’ll agree to allow screen time during plane rides, but not once you’re at your destination. Maybe you’ll offer up one hour of video games after dinner. Also make rules about cell phones and laptops to hold teens and grown-ups accountable.
2. Gamify It
I’m sure you’ve heard of the game people play at restaurants to keep everyone off their phones. Everyone stack their phones in the middle of the table, and if someone grabs his/hers, he/she has to pay the bill for the entire party.
That may not work as motivation for your kids, but what if you agree that the first person who uses technology each day has to do some sort of chore? Or perhaps he/she has to serenade the family with your song of choice? Be creative and have fun with the “punishment.”
4. Draw Together
Hannah and I took a mother-daughter trip over Thanksgiving, and I brought along the Tandem Activity Book to entertain us. We laughed and joked with each other while enjoying the book’s activities together.
There’s no need to purchase the book in order to draw together; grab gel pens and paper and create your own activities. Some ideas inspired from the book:
- Sketch a portrait of the person in front of you.
- Map out the floor plan of your dream home.
- Draw your favorite animal and its best friend.
- Create a comic strip about your trip so far.
5. Pack Travel Board Games
Rely on old-school tips for keeping kids entertained. We didn’t have tablets or cell phones when I was a child, and my parents kept us busy with games. I remember playing travel versions of Connect 4 and Checkers during long road trips. Target offers a variety of travel games, and so does Amazon.