You can teach an old dog new tricks.
That was the lesson from today’s road trip to North Lake Tahoe, where we’ll spend the better part of the next week at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. (One of the reasons we’re here: the tents in which the girls are sleeping as I write this post.)
In the olden days—you know, four years ago, when L was one—I swore I’d never be the kind of parent who stuck his kids in front of a screen on road trips. I grumbled about the parents who fail to engage kids on long drives, cited research about the deleterious effects of screen time, noted that my kids seemed more lethargic after watching TV, and vowed that I’d never, EVER soften on this stance.
Today, however, I finally and formally caved; the kids watched Frozen on our Kindle Fire during the first 100 minutes of the drive.
Logistically, this development was easy; once I installed a plastic arm from iGrip to the pole of my headrest, the biggest challenge was staying awake to write about it. Philosophically, however, it was a HUGE deal for me.
The kids, of course, thought their new in-car entertainment system was a real treat. As soon as the movie ended, they clamored for more.
And that’s where I drew the line.
You see, after years of railing against the notion of screens in cars on road trips, I wasn’t about to embrace these suckers on an unlimited basis. Instead, my new philosophy on the subject revolves around limited exposure—they can watch ONE movie or ONE program per drive. Nothing more. No matter what.
So far, the new policy seems to be working out for everyone. The lesson: In family travel (and in everything, really), be ready to admit you’re wrong.
What’s your opinion about screen time for kids on road trips?