In our tech era we are faced with daily challenges of curtailing distractions. We create unconscious habits of obsessively checking our smartphones for text messages, Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook posts. We even tend to get all caught up in capturing the moment on our iCam and missing out on joyfully experiencing the moment, in the moment. The question we all ought to be asking ourselves is, “how is this affecting our children and our relationships?”
From the time our kids are babies, they are constantly seeking our approval, seeking our support, gauging to what degree they can rely on us. They do this primarily through making eye contact. Well, if mom or dad is glued to their smartphone, they will miss out on making that eye contact and the message that baby receives is that 1) he/she is less important to mom/dad than whatever is going on on that bizarre little tech device and 2) that he/she can’t rely on mom/dad for attention, love & support.
What may happen down the road with such a baby, is that he/she grows up feeling alone, experiencing depression, fear of connecting with other people, failing to trust others and quite possibly spending a good deal of time in a therapist’s office.
What are some tips on how to consciously be more available to our children, who we love, adore and chose to bring into this rapidly advancing world? Well, there are a few things and all require discipline and conscious effort.
- Set a schedule for checking your emails. For example, check emails at 9 am, noon and then again at 4 pm.
- Don’t work when your kids are home from school. Take a break and pick back up after they’ve gone to bed or work while they are doing their homework (IF they don’t require your help that is.)
- Don’t attempt multi-tasking while with your kids (i.e.- pushing your child on the swing at the playground while scrolling through social media posts.)
- Turn your phone on silent when you are engaged in an activity with your child
- Create a no media/no technology schedule and stick to it. Maybe it’s only possible on the weekends and one or 2 nights of the week.
Our kids learn from watching us. If they see us choosing our phones over them, distracted and unavailable, why should they give us their attention we we ask them questions?
It’s a growing challenge we all face as a human race. Our lives have become dependent upon technology and that comes with the good the bad and the ugly. Humans are super adaptable but where we often fail is in the field of discipline. I know because I have to consciously work at it daily!
Just remember, if you’re like us, you somehow survived the era of house phones, typewriters and at best, 5 working tv channels. While there seemed to be a lot more time back then, the new age options make life pretty interesting and have loads of benefits. However, such choices requires us to make more conscious efforts to be present and create boundaries. The choice is ours and what better motivation than the enrichment of our children?