One of the challenges of RV travel for families is to put away the electronics and enjoy being in the great outdoors without these distractions. For some, this is no small task – and not just the kids struggle with this! One blogger wrote, “As I feared, I went through TWS (technology withdrawal syndrome), a condition which often follows a long bout of NDD (nature deficit disorder).” He continued, “When I wanted to know the current temperature or the forecast, I thought immediately of logging on to the National Weather Service’s online site. Then, I realized I’d have to figure it out on my own, by going outside and studying the sky.”
Some folks are shocked to realize that many of our national parks don’t have Wi-Fi or cellphone service and that GPS use is actually discouraged because it is just not accurate in the parks. Some of our clients insist that they need a TV in the RV, only to find that it really isn’t a necessity. Many of us do not even realize how connected we are to our technology until we don’t have it. Once we realize that we can actually get by without Wi-Fi, we find that it’s a pleasant change. Families are able to rebuild bonds that have been severed, often due to our dependence on our gadgets. One family who unplugged found that their conversations improved, and they had more eye contact with their children. Children once again enjoyed spending time with their siblings. Secrets were shared and memories made that will be remembered fondly in the years to come. That’s what family vacations should be.
Parents need to have a plan before they approach their kids about unplugging for a family vacation. Otherwise, it could be disastrous. It is easier to take away a cell phone when you are going on a hike or a bike ride, since your children will be actively engaged in the activity. Kids are usually open to some level of ‘unplugging’ while on vacation. Allowing the kids to use their electronics during the travel time makes car rides and airport layovers more pleasant for everyone. Parents have generally found that it is easier to unplug their kids when the weather is good, and that when they “fell off the wagon” it was usually on rainy days when they couldn’t get outside.
When you plan your vacation, also plan ahead as to what rules regarding the use of electronics will be, and sit down as a family to discuss it. You may be surprised how dependent you are on gadgets, but also how very rewarding it is to put them away and reconnect with family members.