We’re not the only ones in need of a digital detox; our kids need one too!
Time and time again, we hear about the effects of too much screen time, from damaging psychological health to trouble sleeping and the loss of the ability to gauge common emotions. According to NPR, just five days of no technology helps kids better empathise with others.
So, what better time to break the whole family free of technology and get better acquainted with the world than when you’re on holiday? After all, you’re in a new place, there are lots of wonders to explore, new foods to try and activities to conquer!
Here, we look into the steps you need to take before you leave home, and talk to Khun Pim, the manager of one of our favourite beach clubs for kids in Phuket, Catch Junior, to uncover how to avoid technology when you’re away.
Before You Go on Holiday
A plan for going without tech has to be formulated long before you actually leave home. Ground rules have to be laid and plans need to be made.
Discuss your plans with your partner
A tech-free holiday isn’t something you can organise on your own – all caregivers need to be on board. Besides, how can you ask your kids to go without their tech when your partner desperately wants to spend the evenings scrolling through Reddit or Instagram? Make sure you’re on the same page.
Set guidelines well before you get on the plane
Make sure the kids know what’s coming. There is not much ruder than you snatching their tech away from them the second you leave the house. You kids are more likely to feel angry and resentful if you do this – it shows them you don’t value their opinion. Instead, talk about it ahead of time, explain why you’re doing this and consider their views. No, they can not watch Peppa Pig reruns. Yes, they can call their grandparents from the villa.
Buy a digital camera
GASP! What is this bulky thing that I can’t carry around in my back pocket?
Yes, get yourself a digital camera. It might not be as convenient as your phone, but it’s an excellent way to rid yourself and your family of the excuse that they need their phones to take photos. (You can upload everything to IG later).
Plan your activities early
If you’re tech-free, you’re not going to be easily able to plan your day trips and the attractions you want to enjoy after you land. Make sure to plan before you go and have a family discussion to ensure everyone is happy.
Minds will, of course, change, but if you’re travelling with The Luxe Nomad, you’ll have access to the complimentary concierge team, as well as your villa manager to point you in the right direction!
Once You’ve Arrived
When you land in your destination, even though you’ve travelled somewhere incredible, you and the kids might start itching for your next dose of technology.
Go outside and explore!
Being the manager of Catch Junior, Khun Pim has a lot of experience in understanding how to keep children happy and away from technology. The biggest and easiest thing for parents to do is take their kids out and explore.
“We are blessed with beautiful beaches in Phuket,” Khun Pim tells us, “so we feel that one of the easiest and best activities is to take them to the beach. Fresh air and an appreciation for marine life are important.
“Parents should encourage their children to use their free time to do activities outside of the home, not only does this help children build their bodies, agility and imagination, it is also paramount for socialization.”
Being outside is a great learning opportunity for children too as they can discover new things using all their senses rather than through a screen. If you’re going to a beach location, Khun Pim would love to see families “take care of the beaches and help with beach clean-ups. We encourage children to love and respect the sea, animals and the environment.”
Spend time at locations designed for children
In many destinations, you’ll find attractions that are specifically created with children in mind. These are great places for the little ones to explore and discover while you can relax and enjoy your own tech detox.
Catch Junior is a great example of a location designed for children. The facility, Khun Pim says, “provides a beach club venue for families so adults can enjoy reclining on a sun-lounger and reading a book, and children can run around and be active on our large jumping pillow, the climbing wall, the slide. Toddlers can enjoy the sandbox and a shallow section in the pool. We also provide a full menu designed for the convenience of feeding families.
“Due to the beachfront location children can also play on the beach, go in the sea (in the calm dry season) and we also offer a venue for birthday parties and special occasions. Of course, our staff are Thai and we Thai’s ADORE children and respect for the young is an integral part of our culture, so we love to interact with kids.”
As Khun Pim puts it, “[The Catch Junior team] are attentive and love children, however, I believe the best method for keeping children engaged is when the parents play and enjoy doing activities with them.”
“We also encourage dining together. Bringing families together around a dinner table is great for them to connect and also teaches good manners.”
Have activities planned for rainy days
Keeping kids happy without technology would be so much easier if we could guarantee that every day was a beautiful one. Sometimes, however, weather can get in the way. At that point, it’s best to have a Plan B. This could be as simple as having board games on hand. We, however, are aware that games like Monopoly can end in disaster (the banker is definitely cheating!).
Rainy days are still good times to go out and enjoy kids facilities like those at Catch Junior – the staff are trained and ready for it! Plus, it gives you more time for relaxation. “[In Phuket,] the rain seldom lasts for long,” Khun Pim says, “but when the grey clouds come over, we provide indoor activities for children including drawing, painting and face painting. Children love it because we draw animals that children like on their faces – they can become an animal themselves which is great for their imaginations!”