A Family Vacation Without Electronics
What do you remember best from your childhood vacations? For many people, it’s those moments when we bonded with family—when we saw dad try to waterski, or when all the kids stayed up all night giggling.
Vacations offer the perfect opportunity for family bonding because we’re all breaking out of the mold and putting down the electronics that consume so much of our focus at home. Here’s six tips for making your next trip a memory-packed experience that will benefit family life afterward.
1. Let the kids pick
If you want your vacation to bring people closer together, make everyone feel involved. Take turns with different family members picking destinations, or hold a vote each time. Kids will tune out if they feel dragged along on the vacation only you wanted.
2. Physical activity
Find a way to work in some time for exercise, hiking, and sports—anything that gets people moving around. You can all sit around on phones and tablets at home. Bonding time benefits from physical activity, which makes it easy to break down conversation barriers and share experiences.
3. Put down the camera
Don’t let the camera absorb your focus. Studies have shown that photographs can change our memories of events, making us remember the image in the picture rather than the true-life emotions and experiences. Moreover, fidgeting with cameras and forcing people to pose gets in the way of natural bonding.
4. Ditch the itinerary
If your personality makes you rely on schedules, make sure to plan some unscheduled time. You can’t force bonding experiences, and running on a tight schedule can really hurt the mood. Having to corral everyone frequently is also not ideal when you’re trying to have fun.
5. Mix up activities
Even among family members, everyone’s brain works differently. If a vacation consists solely of museums and sightseeing—or solely of water sports, golfing, and sun tanning—somebody who enjoys the one chosen activity less will feel left out.
6. Bend the rules
Family bonding means that something fundamentally changes. If you force everyone to conform to normal roles and behave exactly like they usually do, you let the rules stand in the way of bonding. Something small like staying up a little later can lead to great conversations and new memories.
Vacations should feel extraordinary. Putting down the phones and tablets is a great start, but you can do more to ensure a bonding family experience. Be ready for things to change, and be ready to have fun!
Have you taken a family vacation without electronics? Tell me about it!