Laptops, tablets, smartphoes. Hey dear parents, you really can’t take care about your kids without those things??
Lately I had one travel magazine in my hands. Travelling parents are giving tips about travelling with kids. I read it. And then again and again. It was something like: „The best friend of a travelling parent is… tablet or smartphone. Those two, together with favourite games of your child, will give you calmness during a long flight, thanks to it your kid will stand visiting another temple, while sitting in his stroller. How important a tablet is, we realised once we lost it and we had to find some activities for our kid on our own“. (they have been to Malesia)
„Will stand“? „Give you calmness“? Those words (in Polish they sound even worse) made me seriously think. Pack you kid into the stroller, give him tablet to his hand and… go and visit a temple? A temple?? Such an amazing, different, exciting, magic place? How many stories sleep between the walls of a temple, how many questions can appear, how much space for imagination: kids’ and yours? In Tonga and in Fiji, people are keeping on asking us: why do you talk with your kids so much? Shiiiiit, maybe it’s not about cultural differences at all? When I read those parents’ tips, I see that not.
On the next day after reading the magazine, I received by email a little survey. For parents of kids from 2 on. „Which of those things your kid owns: a computer, a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone?“. Yyyyy. Nothing. „How many hours a day your kid spends alone on watching cartoons and playing games on the computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone?“ Yyyy. Hm, on the uninhabited island, when it was raining for 3 days – we watched two movies. But altogether, so it doesn’t count? Ah, and in New Zealand, when Mila was sick and we rent a little house – girls were watching Pippi on the tablet and we were preparing the video for you. And once at night, in the port, was too dark for drawing, Mila was already sleeping and Hanna was watching some musical.
We really spend a lot of time on „long“ flights, ferry rides, drives. And we have to „find some activities for our kid on our own“, even if I would never call it this way. Somehow it doesn’t feel heavy for us. Even opposite. Am I not normal? And will my kids be not ready for the world, if in the plane, instead of turning on the tablet, they put on their heads paper bags and play: for few minutes that they are a fire-brigade, then that they are princesses, then cooks and then they are trying to catch the clouds through the window, and then they ask for pencils, then they talk with some people and then they maybe even sleep, „giving us the calmness“?
Am I nitpicking? Maybe a bit. But I can’t stand seeing those kids with heads and brains in the tablets, while family dinners or together eating ice-cream after the kindergarten. And I can’t stand, when somebody (especially an „expert“ in the magazine) tell the others that you can’t go on the trip without something. Dear parents, some of you are just a bit lazy, can it be?
PS. I just met some survey, that shows how gadgets are quickly gaining in popularity, but I’m happy to see that a good old trusty book is the best distraction for restless kids for many too! And – to make it clear! – looong drive is still something totally else than visiting a temple!
Our first book is out!
We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »
So many times when I go to reach for the toy or the distraction, I stop myself and smile. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now (thank you more than words can say for the inspiration!), plus I’ve realized these things on my own. A car ride can be beautiful, and all it takes is for me as a parent to let it be. Our days and our trips are so simple, I can hardly say that we “do” anything, but we are never bored :)
An interesting debate! I’m on the fence with this one. I think it depends on where you are travelling and the nature of your journey. I can certainly see the benefits of an tablet that’s stocked with interactive books, movies and games for particularly long car journeys. But I also strongly agree that they should be left in the car (or wherever is securely appropriate!) once you get to where you’re going. It would be a shame for children to miss out and even not appreciate the wonders of the places you visit because they’re more concerned with technology. I think in the right circumstance they can work a treat, but knowing when to put them down is key.
I love it!!!! Simply adore the way u are educating ur children. People look to me strange cause I dont have a smartphone and I dont want. But for me the strange is having small children playing with those screans all day long.
Guys I’ve discovered your blog and it’s amazing, your pictures too are great. Of cours it must be an extraordinary experience to travel with your kids, it would be sad to stop leaving your dreams because you’re parents. It’s the total opposite actually!! Enjoy, I’ll definitely follow your adventures
Taking kids along with you for extended travel doesn’t need to be just a dream. It can be a fantastic reality only if you have the courage to make it happen.
I’m very glad that you’ve touched this topic ! I have a little son, he’s 8 months old, and I’m thinking how to rise him up as a child not addicted to tv, games, tablets etc. Well, to tell you the truth it is easy, we just have to talk to them and spent time together just like our parents did in the times without all of those audiovisual stuff. I remember that when I was a child I used to make little chacks with sticks and leaves, we just run into the rain and laughed a lot, I remember that we spent a lot of time on many different activities, spending time in home in front of the TV was a punishment. As you have said giving a teblet/smartphone shows that we are very lazy as parents and maybe we were not ready to have children, because we cannot face the full responsibility of raising children…
We were in Norway monht-long trip and driving a lot! I was prepared with tablet, but quess what?! For the whole trip, we watched one Moomin. Kids didn’t even ask for it! And it was beautiful! Dreaming with the sight of the “lonely mountains”, spotting the waterfalls, looking for trolls (so exciting…). I just found you guys, so much inspiration!