Everyone is worried about their kid’s screen time. Well what about your own screen time? I’m sure you have never done any of these:
- You are at the playground and instead of participating with your child (or let’s say even watching your child), you are on Facebook.
- Your eating dinner and responding to work email instead of interacting with your family
- You are at your child’s sporting event and instead of watching the game, you are shopping on Amazon.
These are examples of distracted parenting. In today’s video we are talking about how distracted parenting is harming your child and what you you need to do to stop it.
We are all infatuated with our phones. Phone addiction is a real problem. But we use them to communicate, to shop, to play, and yes, be distracted from the world. It’s this distraction that can cause problems, especially when you are a parent and the distraction is coming at the expense of your child. Before mobile phones, maybe your dad read the newspaper at the kitchen table or he listened to music with headphones on instead of playing with you. These were his ways of tuning out the world. Sure we don’t have to be the child’s entertainment 24/7 as they need to learn to entertain themselves but they do deserve having us interact with them when the opportunity is there. We often justify the distraction because it’s work or something we deem as “really important”. The truth is that we make the decision that the screen interaction is more important than the interaction with the child or watching the child. Let’s be honest, interacting with a toddler or small child can be difficult, so we often decide to tune out. And when we have a screen addiction, it’s easy to do. How do you feel when you want to talk to your child and their head is in their screen or watching TV?. We get upset as it doesn’t feel very good. We need to set the example for our kids that a device is not a priority. It certainly is not more important than the relationship with your child. So if there are good opportunities to watch your child do something or even better participate, take that opportunity.
So let’s talk about some ways you can stop being a distracted parent:
First and foremost you have to want to stop. If you don’t want to, we can’t go on to the next items on the list. So you have to make the decision that it’s not good for your child for you to be distracted. Hint: if you don’t think so, you’re wrong.
Become aware of your phone use. Are you using it in place on interacting with your child? Are you missing out on opportunities. you may not feel like you are reality could be different.
Turn off notifications. If the phone doesn’t beep or vibrate, you will be less inclined to pick it up.
Don’t bring it. Leave it in the car so you can be present.
Electronic Jail. At night when you come home from work, everyone puts their electronics in electronic jail. You don’t get your phone until after your child goes to bed and they don’t get their electronics until the next morning.
Setup Boundaries. If you “have to use it” setup boundaries with your child. For example, I am going to make make this call for 10 minutes and then will put my phone away. Be sure to do what you say as your child learns that your word means something or not.
You don’t have to be focused on your child 100% of the time, but showing your child how important they are compared to a phone, is important. Children do need and deserve our attention, especially when they are really young. Don’t miss out on opportunities to connect with them. Facebook, Amazon, and your email can wait.