Deconnect and Reconnect with Luxury Family Hotels
Teams at our eight country house properties work with families 365 days a year and have reported a huge rise in the number of families ditching their digital devices in order to reconnect – a trend that may be linked with the fashion for shorter but more frequent holidays. After all, if you’re away for a three-day break at half term, 10 days in the main school holidays or simply making an ‘inset escape’ to benefit from a teacher-training day at the start or end of a week, there’s all the more impetus to make sure that every second counts when it comes to spending some quality time together.
As well as instigating their own ‘digital detox’, parents are increasingly seeking out holidays that don’t revolve around their children playing with tablets or mobile phones and worrying about the WiFi signal, instead of getting out and about in the fresh air – den-building, fossil-hunting, riding bikes, climbing trees and other great fresh-air activities. Our hotel staff are also seeing an increase in family dining.
We’ve put our heads together to shared our tips for minimising gadget use on family holidays and breaks.
• Choose a destination with so much to do, both at your accommodation and in the surrounding area, that kids don’t even think about their gadgets or screens – things to look out for include swimming pools, bike hire, large grounds to roam and games rooms.
• That said, don’t ban screen time altogether – again, letting kids know there’s an hour or so available to them at some point of the day will stop them from fixating on gadgets. This could be when they wake up (so you get a bit of a lie-in!) or before dinner, giving you some time off to have a shower and get ready.
• Lead by example – if your kids see you constantly checking your phone or laptop, they’ll ask why they can’t do the same. If you do need to catch up on emails or do some work, try to set aside a certain time for it each day – and while you’re taking care of your affairs, let the kids get their social media, email or screen time over and done with.
• Ban smartphone/gadget use at meal-times and resist the urge to use gadgets to keep kids quiet at the table – genuinely family-friendly restaurants won’t mind if they make a bit of noise!
• Use a digital camera for photography so you can leave your smartphone in your room and avoid the temptation to use it while you're out.
• Think about relaxing your gadget ban while you’re travelling – gadgets can be very useful during long car journeys and in traffic jams. And if the children have had more than their fill en route, they may even forget all about gadgets when they get to their destination.
Read more about child-friendly holidays and breaks at Luxury Family Hotels.