I remember the pure moment of joy when my mom would run out of film on our family vacations. Heck, one year on a trip with my best friend’s family, we would literally have a small celebration every time her mom’s camera would make that last “click” and we knew we were free until the next trip to a store. Those moments meant that even if only briefly, we could all sigh in relief and enjoy our trip without constantly stopping, smiling and playing it up for the camera.
Nowadays, such moments of vacation bliss no longer exist. To make matters worse everyone in the family has a camera in their pocket. Even scarier, those never-ending pocket cameras, or cell phones as we all call them, do so much more than antagonize us with constant photo opportunities.
As a mom, I now understand the desire to capture as many family memories as possible, but where do we draw the line and take a break with electronics for the sake of our adventure?
Screen time is a tough balancing act no matter the application. Whether it’s with the kids, social media, work or our own entertainment, it’s become such an easy distraction. These quick tips will help you find balance in creating and capturing those precious vacation moments.
Take The Photos And Put The Phone Away
Sounds easy enough, but often we’re so focused on getting the best shot that we take the picture, then pick through them, then edit them, then post them on social media. Then comment and like and post and…you get it. Take the photos and put the phone away. Save the rest for the end of the day or when you return to the hotel or home.
Do Not Over Plan
From theme parks to museums, technology use is now encouraged on so many of our adventures. I don’t know how many times I see families on their phones trying to grab the next showtime or reservation—nose in the screen, bumping into others as they rush from one area to another. Don’t try to do it all. It’s okay to not plan every moment and sometimes you’ll see those unplanned moments create some of the fondest memories.
Encourage The Kids To Look Around
Road trips can be long, but we survived them without movies and tablets. Have a family sing-along, play roadway bingo, look for license plates from different states. Encourage your kiddos to look outside the car and enjoy the world passing by.
Create Trip Journals
We started this a few years ago and now it’s something the kids look forward to every trip. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but have them start keeping mementos throughout the trip like a ticket, or a map, or even a napkin or hotel notepad. During downtime, have them write a little about it or draw a picture of why this moment was special to them.
Set The Example
Too often I tell my kiddos no screen time and find myself basking in the blue glow or watching fireworks through my phone screen waiting for that next Insta-worthy shot. Set yourself up for success as well. Bring a book, something to color, sewing, cards, you name it, but something fun for the grown ups, too. In those special experiences, put the phone down and be in the moment. You may not have a photo for every minute, but let your mind capture the memories of the now.