Why parent screentime is getting in the way of our parenting

parent screentime

This topic is all too popular, yet no one seems to grasp the concept! You see these photos all over the internet of editing out the phones/devices to show how ‘lonely’ our world really is these days?! Time to be mindful of parent screentime, be present and put the devices down.

Let’s address this issue, because even after seeing those photos, we all seem extremely addicted to our devices

That’s just it… it’s an addiction. We are so buried in technology (everything is at the palm of our hands…literally), that we forget what is going on around us, outside of that device and we don’t pay attention to our surroundings… including our kids. 

An example would be kids just simply wanting mum and/or dad to play with them, yet we do not because we are “in the middle” of something? What’s so important that’s NOT your kids? 

Parent screentime – put it down

Really… put it down and pay attention to your children. This hits home, as there was a local news story recently about parents on their phones/devices and what children have to say about parent screentime. 

The story was on what children say (ages between 4 and 10) when asked about their parents and how much they are on their phone. Every single kid answered… 

“A lot”

“All of the time” 

“They never play with me”

“I wish they would play more”

Time to be present and put the devices down.

Out of sight, out of mind

This goes on and on with the same answer, just different variations of it. It broke my heart! Now, when I am home, the phone goes on silent and it sits on the countertop or I even leave it in my purse! So it is then out of reach from where I am with the kids. 

This experience that I am about to share is from a personal standpoint and I am by no means a doctor or specialist, and I am NOT perfect, and I will NOT tell you what to do or how to raise your children. Instead, I will simply tell you the differences that I notice when we have our phones, the TV is on, and when we don’t.

The effects on behaviour of the kids when we do have our devices in our hands

When we do have our devices out, the kids play great alone… for a minute or two. Then they start to yell, hit, cry, throw things and just become all-around frustrated and irritated. 

I do not blame them, we didn’t hear a word they said when they did ask politely and now they are not getting a response then they end up going all toddler-zilla on us

Typically if this happens early in the day, it throws off the entire day. Then everyone is irritated, on edge and the furthest thing from patient and kind. Let me tell you… this is NOT enjoyable! I don’t think that it is enjoyable for anyone. 

So, can we rewind and start over? Start fresh! 

When we do NOT have our devices in our hands

The phone is checked quickly before kids get up right away in the morning and then put away. Out of sight, out of mind (most of the time). 

Now the kids have my undivided attention and are much easier to “deal” with! Of course, with having a threenager, nothing is ever actually easy. But what I do notice is that MY PATIENCE is far better, and the ability to stay calm comes easier.

I am able to keep calm, and to spend quality good fun with the kids… AND the husband. Everyone just seems to be at peace, easy going and overall more kind with each other. 

It makes life SO MUCH EASIER! It is better for everyone if the devices stay down, away and out of reach when spending time with family. Whatever it is, can honestly wait. What do you think they did “back in the old days”? 

Can you imagine having to walk to the wall, pick up the phone with the cord, and dial the number? MAN that sounds difficult! So yes, it can wait.

What do you do without your device? YOU PLAY

All kids want to do is play and talk. They do not want to sit there and play by themselves while mum and dad sit there on their devices or sit there glued to the TV. It’s not fun! 

While I love my significant other deeply, when he is there on his phone glued to it… and not engaging in conversation I get upset and just leave the room or make some snide snarky comment that ticks him off. So there we go again with setting the mood and everyone is cranky.

Isn’t some screen time okay? Of course it is.

Now okay, let’s play devil’s advocate here and chat a bit about screen time and what (might) be okay.

For starters, IT IS OKAY!  Woah… imagine that! 

Some screen time is OKAY for you and your kids! 

For instance, we do Blippi every Saturday and Sunday morning. It is a chance for mum and dad to sit and drink coffee while it’s warm as well as maybe indulge in a bit of parent screentime.

Do some work, plan out the day if we’re about to go out and about. Make a grocery list or jot down some notes (because let’s be real…mum brain lets us forget everything unless we write down notes and make lists).

Night time – get rid of the LED light

When it comes to night time, we try and keep it all off. We give it about 20-30 minutes of no screens. 

There are studies out there that show screen time RIGHT BEFORE bed is stimulating the brain affecting the way that we sleep. Slee.org is one of my favorite sites when it comes to doing this type of research. This article is all about how screens affect our sleep. 

As easy as it is to scroll through social media while laying down, it’s best to try your hardest to avoid doing that if you really truly want to get the best night’s sleep possible.

Balance is hard to find

There you have it, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the okay of parent screentime and devices. The instantaneous gratification of today’s generation is out of hand and should be monitored closely when it comes to parents and their children. 

It does, indeed affect mood and ultimately relationships. We should continue to teach patience, kindness and generosity by leading by example for our kids. Being positive during motherhood is important. So please. Be present and put the devices down.

Good luck mama!

About the author

Leah is the owner|creator of Saving Mama’s Sanity; She is a mother of two young boys, ages 3 and 1 as well as a wife to a wonderful husband, and a dog mom to two crazy pups. Leah works a full-time job in an office in a small town in Minnesota. Her passion is writing and blogging about the chaos of motherhood and how to manage it all.

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


  1. This article was awesome my fiancee certainly loved the part about you hating your significant other for living in their phone sometimes I’m the same way since I’ve become a blogger so she’s always on my butt about it

  2. It’s so true and something I want to get better at. It’s hard to get the balance right when your work is on your phone, but it is so important to give our children our undivided attention 🙂

  3. I am so guilty of this at times. Especially after work/school when I catch up on blogging admin. But it does mean that when I sit down to eat that’s it the phone is away.

    It’s hard to preach to children about screen time when they see us on it so frequently x

  4. I am guilty of this! My resolution for this year is to put the phone way more often, and to banish it from our bedroom. I’ve bought myself a radio alarm clock, so I can’t use the ‘I need my phone a an alarm’ excuse any more.

  5. I used to be guilty of this when I first got a smart phone to keep up to date with the wonderful world of blogging! Nowadays we have screen free time after dinner so we’re all chatting to each other etc instead of sat looking at our devices 🙂

    Louise x

  6. I have to admit I have reduced the amount of phone time I have when Little Miss is about. It could probably still be improved. As you say the difference in behaviour is remarkable.

  7. *Nods along. Yes to this. Though I do think there’s a balance to be had. And I only say this because phones are no longer just ‘phones’ anymore. They are much more. Screen time could also be taking phones or video on the phone. Checking the schedule, doing the shopping, and homework on the homework app.

  8. I have seen the pictures floating around and it is heartbreaking, I love the tips shared in this post on how we can spend more time away from our devices and more with our families.

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