I have two children under five years old. Each summer our family travels across the country to visit relatives. During our stay, I feel like everyone is constantly using their electronic devices – smart phones, Nintendo DS, iPads, iPods – adults and children! I really want the cousins to spend time together since they only see each other once or twice a year, but instead they’re glued to screens. I feel uncomfortable talking to my family about this and I don’t want to make it awkward during the visit. Is there a tactful way to do this or do I just need to let it go? Thanks!
Thanks for connecting! You are not alone on this one! I think it’s always important to remember that when we are guests in someone else’s home, we need to be more flexible with our own rules. And it sounds like you are! With that, I firmly believe in open discussions and dialogue. Is this something you can address in a group email to all the adults involved ahead of time? Instead of implying that everyone overuses technology, ask the group for suggestions on a line up of activities. Perhaps you can take it upon yourself to plan a family outing – like a hike, swim, beach day or walk to the park?
Another option would be to suggest a screen free portion of each day. I know that when we spend time with our extended family we try to keep the mornings unplugged, even if we’re just hanging around the house or the backyard. Then when little ones need naps or rest time, we soften our tech rules for some quiet each afternoon. If you come from a place of love and express your desire to spend time and build meaningful connections with them, I think they would respect your position on the technology.
Good luck & happy travels!