Adele and Wayne bought a caravan to foster their family’s quality time and see Australia. When they realised the children’s technology meant they weren’t even looking out the car windows it was time for a change. The gadget-free trip was born!
Adele: We live in a world of amazing technology and I’m the first to admit I embrace it all. I love to be connected, to play games and to check-in on my business after hours. Our two children are the same, they enjoy using their iPads and like many kids need to be reminded to put them down and ‘go outside and play!’
It was on a caravanning holiday that we realised that technology was limiting their experiences and after watching them sit for hours on their camping chairs (watching Peppa Pig episodes, playing games and switching between movies!) we realised it was time for a drastic change.
We introduced the gadget-free trip rule cold turkey. Like tearing off a Band-Aid we declared the weekend would be without any gadgets and excitedly (and a little bit apprehensively!) wondered what might be ahead for us all…
The chatter increased
Without screens to stare into the communication level increased immediately. “What are we going to do? Where are we going to go? Can we do this? Can we go here?” The girls were engaged, they had lots of questions and they were interested to learn where we were going and what adventure was ahead. Without the devices in the car the kids looked out the windows, talked to us about their week, about what they could see and played traditional ‘road trip’ games together. The chatter lifted the overall mood and the family connection seemed to grow stronger as we drove. We laughed, we talked and we enjoyed the banter that technology seemed to have removed from our travels.
The playing began
Forget sitting on a camp chair with the TV shows on – without technology the girls became daring, curious and excited explorers. They delightedly kicked piles of leaves, tossed a ball together, rode their bikes and collected interesting ‘treasures’. They nattered to one another constantly – and to anyone else they encountered as they played! They knew the names of the people in the vans around us before we’d even set up. Without a screen in sight the world was their playground and from morning to night they were busy, busy, busy!
The whinging stopped
As parents we often use technology to keep our children occupied and entertain them. In reality it was when our children had unlimited access to their gadgets that they most complained of ‘being bored’ and the dreaded ‘I’m hungry!’ seemed to be heard more often. With the technology absent the girls were busier, more satisfied in their activities and generally more occupied. They actually seemed happier – and every parent will agree, when the whinging stops we are all happier!
The family connected
With gadgets out of the picture we found ourselves enjoying being together. Not just sitting in the same space and mutually looking at screens – talking, laughing, engaging and being a family. Disconnection as a family is so easy with busy lives and modern technologies and it was thrilling to see the happiness we could share when being together was the priority.
One big change – many huge benefits
What a weekend! Not only had we survived our gadget-free declaration but we came home a happier, healthier and more pleasantly tired family. We were exhausted from good times and experiencing life. Fresh air and fun had triumphed and there hadn’t once been a request for a gadget or a whinge of dissatisfaction. Life was good. Technology is also good, but when we’re caravanning life without it is so much better!
Take the Caravanning With Kids Gadget-Free Challenge! Do you dare to log off and spend the weekend with your family gadget-free? Give it a try – you’ll reap the best of rewards!
“Caravanning with Kids” is the home of the Family Travel Journal & Log Book. The Family Travel Journal is a written keepsake to record your adventures that will be enjoyed and cherished for years to come. Use your Journal to document all types of journeys, from long stays away in the caravan to quick weekend trips, sleepovers at family and friends or international holidays. The Log Book is a 2 park book that can be used to keep track of the KM’s your caravan or camper trailer is doing and rate the places you stay.
Get your copy from www.caravanningwithkids.com.au