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