Ahhh vacation—a luxury that all families, with any luck, get to enjoy at least once annually.
Or we could be talking about holiday time off from school when kids have more time in front of their screens and not with family.
Now that technology has become such an ever-present part of our lives, it can be difficult to prevent both children and adults alike from allowing it to encroach upon this valuable family time.
Here are some tips for both monitoring and minimizing the time your kids are spending online on vacation.
Agree in advance upon specific times of day that computer usage is allowed. Call it something cute and positive like “tech time” or “screen time” and agree as a family about which times of day the kids are allowed to use devices. If parents adhere to these same rules, it certainly makes the rules easier to enforce and justify. If a babysitter is hired for any of the time during vacation, ensuring that he/she enforces the rules is important, as well.
Useful tips for seeing as little of the back of his head as possible on vacation
Agree upon certain sites that can be visited and games that can be played. Limitations can be set so that extra time isn’t spent wandering through potentially inappropriate or unsafe websites. If you are bringing a laptop on vacation that the kids are using, this can be enforced by literally limiting access only to select sites. If your children are generally obedient, a simple verbal instruction may be all that is required.
Play together online. The best way to monitor online usage is to be there when your child is using the computer. So consider playing some games together—some fun suggestions include online jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles.
Make lots of fun plans! Who wants to play on the computer when there is a massive beach to explore, hills to be skied or sledded down, or water parks to visit? Ask your hotel in advance, or search online for recommendations on fun things to do with children while in the vacation area. You will inevitably find lots of great suggestions for both free and paid for options that the whole family can enjoy.
Extreme but interesting option—go “off the grid.” This means that everyone has to disconnect entirely for a tech-free vacation. While difficult to do, it could be posed as a healthy family challenge and enable some truly quality time for your family that can be difficult to get in the real world. What better way to enjoy your Hawaii hotel than to be outside enjoying Hawaii and not sitting behind a computer in the hotel room?
The great family vacation challenge: to go entirely “off the grid”!
The reality is that it may be unlikely that you can get the whole family to stay “off the grid” for the entire vacation. But there are definitely numerous ways to manage their online experience while on vacation to ensure that it is safe, fun, and as minimal as possible. We hope these tips were helpful!
Special contributor: Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from digital marketing strategy to health and wellness.