Dear parent, you need to put your phone away too

Everywhere you turn, children are glued to their phones, to their screens. You can’t pick up a newspaper these days without reports of the negative impact phones are having on our children. Yes there’s something that’s missing from all of this. And that’s WE the parents being glued to our phones.

It’s everywhere

The mum being distracted by her phone on the school run. The dad flicking through his phone while his daughter tries to get his attention at bedtime. The knackered mum scrolling mindlessly on her phone, WHILST crossing the road and pushing the pram. The people pushing their children on the swing at the park while again…looking at the phone.

I used to be one of those parents too. Until I realised, if I don’t want my child to be glued to a screen, then I had better not be too.

Think about the message we are sending

Every time we are being distracted by our phones every time our children are around. My phone is more important than you. My phone is more interesting than you. My phone is basically an extension of me.

Like I say, I used to be that person, until I realised what I was doing, and the message I was sending.

And that was definitely not the message I wanted to send. Instead, I wanted to connect with my daughter. And I didn’t want to feel guilty anymore about looking at my phone when what really mattered was looking and connecting with my daughter.

Sure, I may have a reason for looking at my phone. But did I need to be doing it right at that moment?

Probably not.

Did I need that email, whatsapp or SMS to interfere with our lives, and our connection at that moment?

Did I hell.

put your phone away

And so I started putting my phone away

I started putting it away in the kitchen drawer once my daughter came back from school. And bloody hell I felt it’s pull – come look at me! come look at me!

But damn it, we should be stronger than this! How did we let ourselves become so dependant? So addicted? We talk about children been addicted to their computer games when really, we are no better as parents. And you know the thing that really sucks? Is that the more dependent we become on our phones, the more our well being…and our parenting suffers.

Our phones make us anxious, unable to concentrate. They make us feel a million miles apart, even though we are sitting in the same room. They even have a term for it now – alone, together.

But here’s the crack. Once you realise it’s a thing, it’s a problem, you can actually do something about it. You can put your phone away and shake yourself out of that phone dependant trance.

Sometimes I think it’s crazy that I have had to set myself actual phone boundaries – things like putting it in the kitchen drawer after school, and putting it to bed after 8pm. Well, as crazy as that might sound, that’s how it is.

But you know what? I feel so much better for it.

But I am not perfect. Sometimes I slip up, and feel that I am gradually being pulled back into the lair of my phone. That’s exactly the time I realise just how much we all need the phone boundaries.

It starts with you

So to the parent who doesn’t want their child to be glued to their phone or screen all day, it has to start with you. Use your phone only what you truly need it for. Create some healthy phone boundaries. Put your phone on Airplane or Do Not Disturb mode. Hide it in a drawer or put it in an envelope. Dare I say it….leave it at home. And above all, put your phone away, and feel the beautiful freedom it comes with.

put your phone away

Do you feel under the spell of your phone? Or do you try and break the spell it seems to be having on us all? Do leave a comment and share.

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Picture credit: People photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

18 comments

  1. I also set myself phone boundaries…. and you know what…. It is HARD.
    I keep my phone close when my eldest is at school incase the school call me but from now on, I think your idea of the kitchen drawer is perfect. Starting from tonight. Eeek!

  2. I am so guilty of this, especially now I am trying so hard to grow my blog.

    My son is screen obsessed and I know why. I try to leave it be and use it when he is in bed but my partner HATES social media and couldn’t tell you where his phone was 90% of the time.

    It is hard when you’re trying to build up a business of any kind but I need to step away!

    Great post and thank you for sharing your own experiences x

  3. Thank you for sharing. It’s been a challenge to as we reply to work emails via our phone. And it sometimes breaks my heart when my daughter says “mummy/daddy why don’t you play with me” while we are feverishly typing in our phones to send out last minute mails.

    From now I shall work harder at keeping my phone away. My daughter deserves much more than a screen-staring mum.

  4. Very true and we are all guilty of it. I make sure I don’t get mine out of my bag when I am waiting in the school playground but sometimes there is that temptation to check it. All of this can wait!

  5. You are so right! I am guilty of telling my kids no more screen time, and then being attached to my phone half the evening. I never have it out though when walking outside with my kids and definitely not when crossing the road.

  6. i believe that we as a parents need to set out an example as to how to use social media or a phone/tablet usage – what is healthly what is not – even tho i am on social media myself and use it a lot i refrain from using it when my daughter is near – kind regards Pati robins

  7. I totally agree with this and I am guilty of it myself. It’s hard when you do this job as work hours blur together and even days out/weeknds involve social media. I am trying hard though!

  8. As a parent, I am guilty with this. I think e spent too much time using our phones, social media. This post is such a great reminder to us.

  9. We are role models to our children and if we want them to use the screens less then we need to model that behaviour more. I love the idea of putting it into a kitchen drawer. I’ll be giving that one a try.

  10. Sounds like so many of us are dealing with the same struggle here. I think being mindful is the first step. I feel a change a coming! Thanks for all your comments – was stoked that this post went viral! x

  11. This is brilliant. I am definitely guilty of it, and my husband is AWFUL for it, with the kids and with me. I think I’m going to follow your lead and set up some tech rules and boundaries for the both of us. I know already it will make a difference.

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