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Now that you’ve read our feature about using the family iPad to prevent brain drain, it’s time to talk about unplugging.

Every family has its own rules for screen time, but unplugging during family vacation can be hard – especially if you’re using the iPad as a way to distract fidgety young travelers.  But family time is important, and some of my best memories come from vacations and road trips I took with my parents and brother.

Here are some tips on how to get your kids to put the device away and make new memories:

Set a timer – if your child’s daily media diet includes some screen time, stick to your guns.  If you say 15 minutes, then it should be exactly 15 minutes.  Set a kitchen timer (not a timer on the device) so that everyone knows when the time is up.

Bring games – give your kiddos a fun alternative to spending time on the iPad.  Playing cards, card games, Mad Libs, and travel-sized board games all fit neatly into small bags or carry-on luggage.

Use restrictions – put the iPad in airplane mode or restrict access to time-busting apps, like browsers or YouTube.  Limiting what kids can do on the iPad means you can filter out those apps and activities that seem to turn 20 minutes of play into 2 hours.

Keep it in the room – planning on sightseeing? Leave non-essential devices in your hotel room so kids don’t ask for it out of boredom or habit.  Don’t even hand over your phone if they ask unless it’s to look up directions or call Gramma.

Don’t bring it along – simple solution: keep the devices at home.  We made it through vacations with just a mere Etch-a-Sketch, why can’t our kids?

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