Raising children in the age of portable computers and ubiquitous internet access has led to an increasingly common problem. Teens are now glued to their smartphones, and trying to pry these devices from their hands has become harder than ever, even during a beach vacation. Whether they’re playing games, watching videos, or chatting on social media, they just won’t relinquish them. What is mom or dad to do? Nothing is as frustrating as planning a great beach vacation and watching it slip away as the kids spend hours watching TikTok videos. It is possible to get your teens away from their phones; you just need to get creative about it. This week we have a few fun ways to help break your teens of their phone addiction, at least during vacation.
Make vacation cool again
We all remember being teenagers and the horror of not being “cool” enough. One sure fire way to help teens get off the phone is to give them something “cool” to do. Ocean Isle Beach has awesome things like SUP, surfing and sea kayaking adventures and lessons. If surfing isn’t cool we don’t know what is. Teens will love to put down their phone to hang ten!
Find the simple joys of the beach
One of the best things about an Ocean Isle Beach vacation, is of course, the beach! While adventures like surfing are fun and for many teenagers learning to surf or SUP will be the high light of their vacation for others the simple joys will be what ultimately gets them off of their phone.
I remember the first time I taught my daughter how to play Corn Hole and Ladder Ball. Sure at first she rolled her eyes and looked at her friend with horror as I embarrassed her. Three hours later and chants of, “just one more game dad” was all I needed to know I had hit a home run.
Teens hate to admit it but they want quality time with mom and dad just like the younger kids and sometimes to have to trick them a bit to get that phone out of their hand. So find the simple games and joys, maybe on a rainy day it’s putting a puzzle together or playing monopoly. Either way find the simple joys and you’ll find quickly how to reconnect with your teens.
Plan a family event
When the teens are actively engaged in something they enjoy, they’re not going to be as interested in whipping out their phones or checking the latest TikTok video.
The actual nature of the event doesn’t matter very much as long as it is something the teens actually want to do. Here are a couple things to try.
Take a bike ride- You can rent bikes locally and easily explore the area. Plus bikes take two hands. There is shopping, great restaurants and all sorts of things to stop and see along the way.
Create a scavenger hunt- This one is a fun way to get out and explore the local area. You can make a scavenger hunt with a theme the kids will enjoy. If you have younger kids and teens have the older kids pair up with the little ones to make it even more fun.
Tip for parents- Remember your kids will follow your lead. Yes parents that means you too need to set down the phone and set an example. If mom and dad are on the phone all day it is hard to tell your teens to get off the phone.
Plan a movie night
Planning a movie night is easier than ever with the advent of Netflix, AppleTV and Amazon Prime Video,(just to name a few). There are so many options out there and the best part is they are all mobile.
A family movie night is a great way to unplug for the evening. Need help planning the basics of a great movie night? Check out our previous post: How to plan a holiday themed movie night
Create a challenge
Churches and other groups often have “lock ins” for teenagers. Create a phone challenge. Since smart phones can tell you the actual amount of screen time of the user it is easy to check and see who has used the phone the least. Make it fun. Create a reward. Maybe the winner can pick the place to eat or choose an activity or destination for a day trip. Make it fun and of course rewarding.
Tip for parents- Take a basket or even a cheap container. Make this the “phone bin” and have everyone in the family put their phone in the bin. This way everyone feels like they are on board with spending more time off of their phones.
Now before you put the phone down or shut down the laptop for the day take a minute to give us a call at 800-727-9222 or to click the button below to start planning your 2020 late summer Ocean Isle Beach vacation. There is still plenty of time to get in some quality time with the kids on the beach. The weather is great the water is warm and we have all the best vacation homes to choose from.