In many ways technology has become the center point of our lives. We carry our phones everywhere we go, giving us instant access to friends, social media, the internet, games, and pretty much anything else you can think of. At the tips of children’s fingers they have access to phones, tablets, and more. On a typical day, managing the amount of screen time children have can be challenging. So when you go vacation with kids, it’s best to set some ground rules up front.
Setting Screen Time Limits
Saying that zero screen time is allowed may leave you with cranky and uncooperative children. It can be helpful to provide a scheduled block of time each day when children know they will have access to their electronic devices. Keeping this limited to just thirty to sixty minutes can alleviate the frustration that children may feel from being “disconnected” while also giving families adequate time to enjoy each other’s company and all that vacation has to offer.
Have a Plan When Going On Vacation With Kids
The less down time you have on vacation with kids, the less likely the boredom monster will creep up and start asking for an iPhone. That doesn’t mean that every waking minute needs to be planned out in advance, but having an agenda and knowing what activities you will be doing each day can help children stay motivated and engaged. Before you leave for your trip, research things to do in the area that are child friendly. Talking to your children about what they would like to do can make them feel more invested and less likely to revert to wanting that screen time to fill in the blanks.
Build Excitement for Screen Time
This may sound counterintuitive, but if your scheduled block of screen time is at the end of the day, you can build excitement for both that coveted hour as well as for whatever is planned for the day. Challenge children to take pictures of themselves participating in vacation activities. During their scheduled screen time, they can share those pictures with friends!
Set the Example
If the expectation is that screen time is on hold for the day, then parents need to follow the rule as well. Avoid checking texts and emails, looking at social media, and scrolling the internet. If you are expecting a work communication that can’t wait, be sure to let your children know in advance so they understand the expectations. Setting the example and following the rules yourself, will help your children to adhere to the guidelines with the least amount of resistance.
Make New Memories On Your Vacation With Kids
Above all else, children will have lasting memories of family vacations. They won’t remember how long they spent on their phones and tablets, or watching tv. They will remember the places they went, the sights they saw, and the fun they had spending time with their loved ones.
For some Summer fun ideas, check out how to include STEM learning at the beach or plan sensory activities to set up after nap time. If you are in the Boston area and need a babysitter while on vacation with kids reach out to us today!
About The Author
Sarah Proctor has worked with young children for over 25 years as a teacher, childcare director, nanny, and mom of two girls. She has her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration from UMass Amherst. In addition, Sarah has her Director 2 certification from the Department of Early Education and Care.