I want to start off by saying – I’m not completely anti screen-time. While my children very rarely get screen time when at home with me, they do have some, on occasions. I feel like it’s a case of “do what works best for your family” and that’s your decision as a parent, which should be respected.
I actually decided before we left that I didn’t want the girls being occupied by screens while we were on the road. I knew we would do a lot of hours & kms driving (4,300kms actually 😳) & I wanted them SEEING what was around us & not missing out! Plus, I find our 3 year old is better behaved when screens are not a part of her day.
So, because we were in a motor home it was actually quite easy to have no screen time & honestly, apart from one occasion, they didn’t use any screens while we were on the road! (Full transparency – that one occasion was Honor watching a movie with one of her friends on their iPad which of course was totally fine! And she did watch it a little on the plane trip). Ayla is still young & doesn’t show much interest in screens which makes it easy 😂
All that being said, I’m not going to lie… not handing out iPad’s or iPhones meant Emil & I were the entertainment a lot of the time. Which did get tiring! But I’d made up my mind and I wanted to stick with it. It would have been SO easy to give them a phone each & let them go nuts. But we didn’t & I’m glad, because we have continued that routine since we’ve been home & it’s been great.
So finally, here’s the ways we kept our girls entertained on the road for 2 weeks without screens:
1. Food! Food that takes a long time to eat! So I thought about it before hand & packed food for the trips that would take them time to eat! For my girls this includes – apples, popcorn, mandarins, blueberries, strawberries. They love yoghurt pouches but devour them in about 30 seconds so I’d try to save them for other times!
2. Reading & colouring in books! In our motor home the girls seats were at the table which meant they could lean on it and draw! So handy! Before we’d start a big drive I’d pile them up with some books each, pencils & crayons and they were set. (Also.. a life saver was the magnetic drawing board! Doesn’t make a mess like paper & pencils & I’m sure they’re so cheap from somewhere like Kmart or Target).
3. Music & Sing-a-longs! Both our girls love singing and dancing & so a good play list was essential. At the time Honor loved Ed Sheeran & Taylor Swift so we did hear A LOT of those two artists (better than The Wiggles on repeat if you ask me… although we did hear a lot of them too!)
4. Games! We actually didn’t do much of this as our girls are a bit young, but I have such clear memories of playing “eye spy”, for hours on long car trips with my family & it was always a great way to pass the time!
5. Talk to them! Haha… I know, obvious! But sometimes not so! We’d talk to them about what’s outside, what are they seeing out their window, what’s the plan for the day, what’s been their favourite part of the trip so far etc. Our Honor is a BIG talker with a million questions so this is easy to do but yes it can get tiring on those long days. Although sometimes it was exhausting I found out a lot about Honor in these times (Ayla just says Mum a lot 😂). We would debrief about our days so far & get her prepared for what was to come!
Like I said earlier, it would be easy to just give the girls an iPad each for every trip but I did make a resolve & I’m actually stoked I stuck to it! I’m sure there are other ways to do this as well but I found that these ways actually WORKED for us! AGAIN, I’m not anti-screens but if you ever find there’s a time, like we did, when you would like to see how they go without screens – I hope these tips can help you:)
I would love if you could comment and tell us… Do you give your kids a screen/ipad/iphone while on long care trips/plane rides? Do you find other ways to keep them occupied? Do you have a mix of both? No judgment here, just genuinely interested in how other parents do it!
Thanks so much for stopping by!