06 Aug 5 Tips For an Unplugged Summer: Stress-free, Screen Free, Holidays
Struggling to keep the kids (and yourself) off screens already when the summer holidays have only just got going? We’re old hands at keeping everyone happy and busy offline so avail yourself of our top tips and sit back and watch peace and harmony descend on your home this summer:
#1 Agree your unplugged summer ground rules
Talk as a family about what the rules should be around screens over the holidays. Just don’t be surprised when the kids want to set rules for parents too. Checking email after work, staying on social media for longer than you intended, if you all agree the rules together you have to all stick to them. It’ll be motivating for kids to see you joining in and they’ll appreciate a bit of your undivided attention.
#2 Plan activities that can’t be done with a screen
Trip wiring, abseiling, rock climbing, even a spot of tree climbing – if you plan or suggest enough things that just can’t be done with a screen in the hand (and are challenging and exciting to do) you’ll be surprised how keen kids are to put their phones and tablets down and join in. The beauty of this is that you’re not actually asking them to quit their screens for an unplugged summer activity, they’ll work it out for themselves.
#3 Create an analogue challenge day
Make the whole business of being off-screens into a game by planning a digital detox day out where you all leave screens behind and have to manage without them. From doing without maps and GPS to not being able to check train times and bus timetables, think in advance about what might be the most challenging aspect of your day and enjoy watching all your skills of navigation and resourcefulness come flooding back. To gamify the experience further dole out points – and create a leader board – for the family member with the most analogue ingenuity in any of the situations you find yourself in.
#4 Seek out wi-fi black spots
You probably already know where these are in your local area because your kids have undoubtedly complained about them. If you’re going further afield some hotels and holidays now even promote the specific digital detox aspects of their location (ie rubbish wi-fi). They may be few and far between but seek out those places which really do struggle to provide a wi-fi signal, no teenager is going to want to waste their precious data package unnecessarily so you’ll see them automatically cutting back on their screen time and finding other things to do.
#5 Find like-minded families
Spending more time offline is never going to work if you’re spending a lot of time with a family that’s glued to their screens. Find some friends and family who agree with you that an unplugged summer is going to be a lot more fun than one glued to smartphones and social media and arrange to spend more time with them. It’s a real bonus if you can find a family who loves playing retro board games or maybe has a liking for bat and ball games in the garden or on the beach. Who knows, some of it may rub off on your kids permanently?
For more tips and tricks to keep the whole family happy off screens, our new book Stop Staring at Screens is out in the US and UK on 6th September. Pick up a copy here.