Prepping for and going on vacation with a toddler/preschooler is a fun challenge. There are always a lot of things to think about – what clothes to pack, how many diapers to bring (or maybe that’s just me) and most importantly, what do I bring to occupy the kids while we are traveling? Do I bring books, toys or my tablet?
Since we’re a techie family, the tablet is a given but the challenge during a family summer vacation is when do we haul out the tablet and for how long. Here are my tips for traveling with a tablet this summer.
1. Flying – Don’t use it prior to take off or landing. (See my previous blog for why.) Break up the amount of tablet time for your preschooler, for example – tablet time, non-tablet activity and then more time on the tablet. The trick is to keep them interested. You don’t want them zoning out on the tablet. Put a limit on the total amount of screen time, for example a 6 hour flight (max 1/3 screen time or 2 hours). This enables your child to watch a movie and engage in a couple of apps. And don’t rely on the tablet to keep them occupied. Have other fun activities for your child to do such as drawing, reading or an activity book. These tips would also apply to traveling on a boat or train.
2. Driving – Again, put a limit on how much screen time they consume while driving to your destination.
3. Place to Stay/Hotel Room – After a long day of fun activities if one of my boys is getting squirrelly, we’ll let him use the tablet for a bit. Keep in mind that vacations are a lot for young children to adjust to. There are new beds, different dinners and your daily routine is practically thrown out the window. We cut them some slack because let’s face it, we’re on vacation too!
I should also mention that there are, definitely, times when using the tablet are inappropriate. You won’t find my family using the tablet at a restaurant, at the beach/water park or whatever fun activity we are doing that day. We’re on vacation to have fun, experience new things and bounce on someone else’s bed. Otherwise, why did we leave home in the first place?
Are you taking your tablet on vacation this summer? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org