WE’RE going on a month-long family vacation soon – and I’ve forbidden my kids to bring screens.
I don’t want them to look down on a game console or a tablet when they should be engaging with the world around us.
That’s not what a family vacation is about.
For me, the joy of travel is exploring new places and spending time together, even when we’re at the airport or on a plane.
If we’re all hooked up to separate devices, we really could be anywhere, which defeats the object.
And if screens are an option then my sons aged 10, 8 and 3 will not look to anything else to keep them busy.
Taking expensive devices with you when you travel is just another
Things to keep in mind so they end up causing more stress instead of making life easier.
When we flew to Australia my oldest boys were one and three years old, but we managed to pack enough books, toys and snacks to keep them busy between naps.
It was hard work keeping them busy on the long outbound flights, but I wanted to set the bar high early on.
I think once you’ve established technology as an entertainment option, it’s a lot harder to narrow that down.
These days my 10 year old is very rarely allowed to use his Nintendo Switch on long car rides when the other two are sleeping as he struggles to nap during the day.
But we try to keep our travels screen-free so we can make the most of where we are and who we are with.
Audio books, sticker books, and multi-use toys are all included
firm favorites to keep the kids occupied while travelling.
We’ve all enjoyed some incredible children’s classics on audio together.
I was blown away by both Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and 101 Dalmatians, quality stories that will captivate adults and children alike for hours.
Even better, you can usually borrow children’s audiobooks for free from your local library, making this a very affordable form of entertainment for the whole family.
Sticker books are another great asset for smaller children and you can usually find ones related to your travels in one way or another.
I like to use them to introduce the language of the country we are visiting or to learn more about its culture and history.
You can dip in and out and don’t have to remember to bring crayons or a pen like you would with coloring books or puzzle books.
My top rule is: when traveling, less is more.
It’s so easy that everything gets scattered and lost, and you want to be able to pack up and leave at the end of a trip without searching under the seats for lost Lego pieces or a missing pencil.
It’s inevitable that things will get left behind when you’re trying to move around three kids and a mountain of bags
Losing a sticker album isn’t the end of the world – a game console would be a different matter altogether.
I also think arguing about how much screen time is okay can easily end up spoiling a vacation, especially if you already have tensions at home about it.
An absolute no-no for me is seeing kids on devices in restaurants and cafes.
We don’t use phones or tablets at the dinner table at home
and on the way it is no different.
While waiting longer for food than at home, you have time to chat about your day and what you like.
Children will never learn the art of entertaining while eating if adults only expect them to be silent and sit at screens.
Most of the places we stay have a TV and I think that’s enough to keep kids busy when they get up early or need a little downtime.
It’s fun to see how local TV programs and cartoons differ from what we have at home – and can even learn some jargon from it.
All in all, I’d recommend anyone who thinks a screen-free vacation might be a good move to give it a try.
Phones, tablets, and gaming consoles all have their place in modern life, but sometimes it’s great to take a break.
https://www.the-sun.com/travel/7528648/family-holidays-no-screens/ I refuse to let my kids use screens on holiday because it’s not what family trips are supposed to be about