I read a fascinating article today. It was entitled, Second Hand Screens. In there they discuss how our phone use is potentially hurting our relationship with our children. When we are constantly looking at our electronic devices instead of interacting with our children, we send the message that they are less important. Children perceive that the phone is more important then they are. This in turn can lead them to misbehave. Children want and need attention from you. They will take whatever atttention they can get. If you are paying more attention to your phone then your child, they will try to bring that attention back to them. They will start off doing something cute or funny and if that doesn’t work they will do something you don’t want them to do because they know that some attention is better then none.
I know that I am guilty of doing this. There are many times when I am tired and want to zone out. I pull out my phone and start checking social media or playing a game. Meanwhile, Spencer is wanting and needing my attention. He’ll get right in my face and try to play with me, bring me books to read to him, dump all his toys out, climb on the furniture, make a mess, anything to get me to put the phone down and look at him. In these moments I am not being the best mom that I know I can be. When he starts making a mess I get angry and impatient with him. In the end we usually both end up crying. Him because he is scared or sad and me because I realize that I am not doing awesome and have hurt his feelings.
Does any of this sound familiar at your house? Let me share 3 things I am now doing to put down the phone and show my munchkin that he is important.
- Check social media or play games only twice a day. I’ll be honest with you, I am not perfect with this but I am getting better every week. My ultimate goal is to only check updates, email, etc. while he is sleeping (nap and bedtime). I will admit that I am addicted to my phone so making this change has already made a huge improvement in mine and Spencer’s relationship.
- When I have to get on my phone when Spencer is awake I make sure to talk to him about what I am doing and why. Sometimes you have to check your email or something else right away. This is OK! But I try to reassure Spencer that he is still my number one priority.
- Each day I make sure to do a special activity for the two of us. These are things like playing outside, going to the library, reading stories, going on an adventure, playing dinosaurs or monsters, painting, play dough, etc. This reinforces that he is most important to me and that I enjoy spending time with him.
|This is from our most recent adventure. We went to a farm and Spencer got to feed some sheep. He loved them and wanted to take them home with us.|