No ipad, no smart phone, no laptop, no TV, no game console. This includes the two 4-hour flights, which was with an airline with no entertainment system and several 1-2-hour car rides. No blaring sound, annoying beeps or flickering images.
How did it go? You might ask. How did you manage? How were the flights? The mornings? The car rides? Did everybody survive? How is it possible to enjoy a vacation without the option of putting your kids in front of a screen?
Well, first of all, when you travel in a new country, there are many things to discover. Sights to see, food to taste, language to learn, music to listen to, and like most travelers, we explored cities, restaurants, beaches, water... And whenever there was down-time, for instance in the plane, in the car, or in the rented house at night or in the mornings, the kids would read books, play old fashion games with dice or cards or make pictures with pencils on paper.
Yes, it is still possible.
It really is.
Pencils and paper.
They would typically wake up before the rest of us, and when I got out of bed, the living room was littered with books, drawings, crayons, paper planes, dice and playing cards. And, at night they read in bed before going to sleep. Like kids used to in the old days. Like I still do.
It was only after the holidays it dawned upon me, this off-screen thing. It was not really planned. It just happened. Except for my daughter's camera, we didn't bring anything electronic for them. And they had lots of fun. There was never a "I'm bored" moment. Really, never!
And I think, by constantly having the option of being stuck in front of a screen, we rob our kids of their creativity, their imagination, their ability to play, make believe and above else: To be in the moment. Kids are by nature curious and inventive. Let them be kids. Let them experience, use their senses and imagination, be hands-on and build habits that they will enjoy forever.
(I admit, the 16-year-old did bring his smartphone, but we had no wi-fi access, so he ended up picking up a book too. :-))