As a parent, I tend to be more on the laxer side of the screen time debate. I know letting my kids have an extra 30 minutes on their devices can be just what I need to keep my sanity in check. However, when we travel, I prefer to limit screens as much as possible.
I find that while offering screen time can keep my kids calm and make for an easier trip in the short term, often the stress over devices losing charge, not working, or even inducing nausea make them not worth bringing in the long run.
My family has taken several road trips in our Subaru, the longest being our drive from New York to Ohio when my kids were 6 and 3. While we did endure the occasional whine, my kids were able to manage without a device in their face for a few hours.
We are heading out on the road again, this time to Washington D.C., and I plan to use some of my tested strategies as well as some new ones, to help make the trip a calm and enjoyable experience.
Read on to see my plans for a screen-free road trip.
YouTube; you either love it or hate it, and, from my research and personal experience, I’d say there are much more people in the “haters” club.
I understand the disdain for the video streaming service. The ability for anyone to upload whatever they want to YouTube means a lot of garbage makes its way to an audience. And, often the garbage is inappropriate videos we don’t want our children viewing. YouTube has made some strides in approving how content is delivered, but the bad stuff can still slip through the cracks.
Before you write YouTube off, consider how much quality content it has to offer. The same democratic system which enables the bad stuff to make it on to YouTube is also what brings us some of the most innovative and ingenious programming unseen on any other platform.
Through my own research (i.e. watching channels with my kids) and the help of some of my Facebook fans, I came up with a list of five creative, educational and fun YouTube channels your children will love and you just might love as well. Continue reading →
Traveling with kids is a wonderful way to expose them to different cities, cultures and activities. However, while checking out a new location is fun and exciting, getting there, often, is anything but. Long waits at the airport, sitting in traffic, or taking a long train ride, are just a few things that make traveling tough for little ones.
To make things easier, we parents look for ways to keep our kids, calm, entertained and happy. While this often means using tablets or other devices (something I’m not ashamed to admit using) to make our journey smoother, I prefer non-digital sources.
When my family traveled to Montreal last month, I needed away to keep my two kids happy without necessarily having to rely on screen-time. Luckily, my sister found creative and money-savvy ways to put together activity sets for my two boys. Using dollar-store finds and free Internet resources, she was able to produce each one for around $5. Depending on the age of your child, where you live and how much you want to put in your folder, this price could easily be less. Continue reading →
The first time I embraced the benefits of letting kids use a mobile device was when my family flew to St. Thomas with our toddler and infant sons. I knew my nearly three-month-old wouldn’t be much of a challenge, rock him or give him the boob, and he would be good to go. My two-and-a-half-year-old, however, was probably going to have a hard time staying calm on a three-plus-hour flight. Fortunately, because of the awesome luck of my husband, we were the owners of a free iPad. I am not sure if we would have bought a tablet, otherwise, but I am glad we had one at the time.
I doubted how long the tablet would hold the interest of my toddler. Although we did allow him to watch television at home, he never stayed focused on any show for too long, often stopping to go play with his toys. Not so with the iPad. My son found certain apps, like puzzles or drawing games captivating, and easily maneuvered from one to the next. For someone with little prior experience with devices, his mastery of the tablet was impressive. Of course, that is no surprise to most parents today. We are raising digital natives. Continue reading →
I have nothing against screen time. I believe if the pioneers had invented Facebook, their kids would be playing Farmville, instead of, well, farming. Technology isn’t a scourge on modern childhood, it just is modern childhood. But, as much as I don’t sweat hours spent watching TV, or how many dollars I’m contributing to some YouTube kid’s college fund, there’s one device in our house which is hands off: my smartphone.
Sure, my preschooler manages to get his sticky, peanut-butter-or-some-other-mysterious-substance-covered paws on my phone on occasion. The lock screen baffles him, and after a few failed attempts to get inside, and no budging from me, he gives up and goes right for my husband’s phone (which isn’t locked. Seriously. I don’t get it either). My phone is always on lockdown. I’m even thinking of beefing up security with a retina scan and blood sample.
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