Technology has made our holidays better in so many ways - think long-haul flights, online booking and credit cards - but there's one area where we think it's fair to say the jury's out: gadgets.
On the plus side, tablets and video games have saved many a parent's (and passenger's) nerves from shredding on a long or delayed journey. On the downside, we've all missed special, never-to-be repeated family moments because we've been staring at tiny screens; it's even worse when a happy holiday mood is shattered by an 'urgent' call from work (which usually turns out not to be so urgent after all).
Studies have shown that being constantly 'on' and 'plugged in' leads to anxiety, stress, constantly feeling rushed and poor decision-making. Isn't that what you go on holiday to escape away from? That's why we think everyone, Team Raring2go! included, needs some tech-free down time. Holidays are meant to be about spending time together and sharing the moment - not merely occupying the same space together but doing different things, or stressing about not having WiFi to tweet.
Engaging in a constant stream of texts and status updates isn't just distracting; it also sends a very unfriendly message to your fellow family members, namely: 'I'd rather be speaking to anyone but you'! In the case of young adults, that's very likely to be true (remember those sulky days?), but that's not a message you want to give your children. Telling your facebook friends how much you're enjoying your holiday with your children isn't the same as actually enjoying it with them.
We can all resort to idly tapping and swishing at a screen when we're bored - so nip bad habits in the bud by keeping everyone busy. Including your children in activity planning and giving them a bit of control about how the holiday will pan out can often go a long way to keeping boredom at bay.
If everyone simply can't live without their gadgets on holiday, establish the ground rules - and the consequences of breaking them - before you go. Remember to apply the rules consistently: if the kids can't play games during dinner, then Dad can't read the paper on his phone either!
If you simply can't be 'offline' for the time you're away, speak to your employers about the best way to balance your family and work commitments; your boss is (usually) human too, and may be happy to agree that you only answer emails at the end of a day, or take calls before breakfast. Maybe there's another colleague who can take over your "on call' commitments, even for a few days.
Family time is precious, at any time of year. That's why we think the only screen you should be hauling around this summer should be sunscreen!