I didn’t take any pictures on our family vacation this year. Okay, I snapped a few sunset pics one night after the kids were in bed. But that’s it. If you read my recent post about the impact of parents’ smartphone use on our children, you might have an idea why. (If you didn’t, you can check it out here).
I have been attempting to spend more time being present with my children rather than lost online. So on this year’s family vacation, my smartphone spent most of its time plugged in to the charger instead of plugged in to me. And I think our breakup is here to stay.
The one negative side effect of leaving my phone inside was that I didn’t take any pictures of our vacation. But here’s what happened instead.
I experienced what we were doing.
I didn’t have my phone to distract me, even if the kids were happily playing and didn’t need my close supervision. That meant I my was getting down and dirty with them. I was exploring, searching for cool rocks, and playing make-believe.
I didn’t know what time it was.
I wasn’t constantly checking my clock. We stayed and played as we wished and moved on to the next activity when we were ready, not because we had a set time limit or anywhere else to be.
I forgot Facebook.
Okay, this one was a little bummer because I didn’t see that a friend had delivered her new baby until the day after she posted it. Otherwise it was a breath of fresh air! Family vacation was about spending time with our family – not watching everybody else’s!
I reconnected with my husband.
Instead of buried in our phones, we spent the week, *gasp, actually talking to each other. It felt like getting to know him all over again. We talked about everything from our hopes and dreams for the future to our favorite grocery store check out line candy bars (Snickers, duh!).
My kids had a blast.
Kids beg for us to pay attention, play, and PARTICIPATE! Most of the time they don’t want to pose for photos or wait for us to “just finish reading something” on our phones. My kids had an amazing time as we joined them doing everything from playing on the beach to learning to play “ponopoly” (my 5 year old’s pronunciation of monopoly).
We made memories we won’t forget.
So maybe all we have are some lame sunset photos, but we made a boat load of memories. Even without a full camera roll, we won’t be forgetting this trip any time soon.
And even if we do, there’s always next year. Maybe by then I’ll buy a camera!
Would you leave your phone behind on a family vacation?
What other ways can we stay present and hold on to memories made with our families?