Put your phone down, MommySep 25, 2019
How our phone addiction is affecting our kids
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This post will benefit you if you have a hard time putting your phone down when your kids are around and want some advice on how to change your behavior.
I wrote an email about this topic to our email subscribers, so please excuse me if you’ve already seen it. Honestly, a second reminder (for all of us) is likely needed.
I try really hard to be self-aware as much as possible. I know there are times when I’m not, but usually, I’m good at admitting when I’m behaving in a way that needs to change. And, boy, do I have a behavior that needs to change!
I’m guessing most of you can relate to this—I’m addicted to my phone.
Anyone else? Hands up! I know I’m not alone with this...and you’re not, either. I actually go through phases where I use my phone a lot and other times not as much. But right now, I feel like I’m on it all the time. I know why it’s happening. For Mindset Mamas we have social media to keep up with, I have apps that I frequently use, and I’m always checking email.
Here’s the issue, though. I know why I always have my phone in my hand, but my 2-year old son does not. I am reminded of this often these days and am working hard to change my behavior.
But it’s hard—really hard if I’m coming clean about it.
It’s a bigger problem than you may think
Here’s how this issue came to fruition for me. Not long ago my 2-year old, Owen, and I were hanging out after daycare. Actually, when I say hanging out I mean I was sitting on the couch on my phone and Owen was playing. He came up to me and very sternly said, “Put your phone down, Mommy”.
It really took me aback. You mean at two years old, this kid is already observing my every move? You betcha! This hit me hard. I started thinking about all the time he’s probably wanted to play and I’ve been on my phone. Finally, he had enough and called me out on it.
I knew I wasn’t the only one this was happening to. Around the same time my toddler was telling me what to do I saw this Thrive Global article about this very topic, now being called “technoference”. It’s a widespread problem across most families, with kids of all ages.
Here’s what a 2nd grader wrote when asked about an invention that they wish never happened:
“I don’t like the phone because my [parents] are on their phone every day. I hate my mom’s phone and I wish she never had one.”
Smack in the face, right? I know we aren’t meaning to make our kids feel this way (left out, ignored, etc.), but let’s get real—we are. The good news is we can work on it.
Less phone time tips for moms
I don’t have all the answers to this one. I do have a few suggestions that I’ve been trying that I’ll share. Beyond that, this is a work in progress for me every day. Some days I kick butt, and others I look back at the end of the day and kind of shake my head at myself. The point is I’m trying, and you can too.
Keep it top of mind - Being aware of the problem helps you face it head-on and catch yourself when you’re slipping up.
Engage with your kids - Make it a point to spend quality time interacting with your kids by reading, coloring, playing blocks, using imaginations, or just talking (with the phone down, of course).
Put your phone on the charger - Keep your phone plugged in as much as you can. When you’re just sitting around, have it out of reach. Most of us have a habit of picking it up because we can grab it without getting up.
Only work from the computer - Rather than check email and use work-related apps on your phone, try to only do work from your computer. It will limit the amount of time you’re spending working on your phone.
If this post spoke to you join me in being more self-aware when it comes to our phone habits. Our kids are noticing and it’s affecting them (not in a positive way). We owe it to ourselves, and them, to realize the issue and start working on it. After all, what do you think parents did years ago without phones?
Check out Overhaul your family's evening with these 2 easy changes if you need more ideas for engaging with your kids without technology.
Also, our 5 Daily Changes Checklist is a great place to start for some ways to upgrade your own morning and evening routines (some phone tips are included).
Finally, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic (or tips if you have them). Please send me a note directly.
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