7 Step Approach To Put That Phone Down And Be A Better Parent
Technology has changed our lives. In fact, it has even changed something so primitive and innate as Parenting. Who could imagine a day when a child would have to compete with a smartphone to grab a parent’s attention? Back in our days, we competed with our better behaved sibling or the 30 minutes of news, which mandated us to be quiet. Expect for these few instances, we always had the luxury of our parent’s attention. Those were the happy times! But times have changed now! With smartphones on the fingertips, there is a 24X7 news channels, WhatsApp notifications, Instagram and Facebook to compete with. And sadly children stand nowhere near them. I have been to numerous birthday parties where the child is crying and the parents are busy clicking selfies and uploading them on Instagram. Story at home is no different!
A recent study claims that nearly one-third of children say that they feel unimportant when their parents use their cell phones during meal times, conversations, TV watching and playing outside. AVG Technologies surveyed more than 6,000 children, ages 8 to 13, from Brazil, Australia, Canada, France, The United Kingdom, Germany, The Czech Republic and the United States. They discovered that 32% children felt unimportant when their moms and dads were distracted by devices. The kids said they had to compete with technology for their parents’ attention, and 28% parents agreed with this observation.
It is sad that while trying to embrace technology, we forgot to embrace our children. The technology which was suppose to bring the world closer, has drifted our family apart. Perhaps, that’s because we are the first generation of parents who had this fingertip access of technology at all times. And with no precedents, we are bound to make mistakes. Mistakes are not bad, if we learn from them. Here’s what you can learn from mine:
1. You need to get on the phone, but not so much: Start with charting your daily phone activities and sieved them according to your work. Halfway on the list, you will realize how addictive your smartphone is.
2. Delete all unnecessary apps: These apps not only take up space on phone but also on your mind. So, delete all the apps which you don’t use or use when you want to kill time.
3. No Technology around children: Thankfully, my little one always asked me to keep my phone down when he was around me. So that’s how it started for me. However, there are some golden rules here like:
- No phones around mealtime
- No phones around bedtime
- No phones when children are getting ready for school
- No phones when they come back home
- No phones when you/your partner comes back home
It’s a good idea to stick them on fridge, so everyone can see them.
4. Get the right motivation: Every time you feel the urge to use your smartphone for something other than work around kids, think of the impact you are having on them. Kids are always watching. If you can’t resist your phone, be prepared to give one to your child on his/her 8th Birthday. Now if that can’t motivate you, Nothing will!
5. Turn Mobile Data only for work related apps: When on the move, turn on mobile data only for work related apps. You will be surprised how much other apps take your attention.
6. Set time for Social Media and Surfing: Designate a time slot and minutes to social media. This helps you keep a tab on yourself and also helps you realize how much time is wasted doing nothing.
7. Monitor Usage using an App: Yes, you read it right. There are now apps to help you get rid of your fixation to your smartphone. Just use it right, preferably at the end of the day, everyday! CHECKY, Moment are simple apps that tells you how many times a day do you check your phone. You can set daily limits and get notified when you exceed them.
Finally, don’t let the smartphone control and own you. Control your smartphone. Be the Owner.
Also read: 5 Ways to Keep Your Kid Away From Gadgets
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