I CHALLENGE YOU :: Today when you take your kids to the park or other outing – gymnastics, karate, swimming, soccer, music, (whatever you do) – put your phone away. Don’t go on social media once. Don’t play a game. Don’t text. Don’t answer an email. Don’t even take a picture. Maybe just leave it in the car if that’ll help you Watch your kids the entire time and observe all the tiny details in their movements and expressions and discoveries — because these little things are worth remembering forever and ever. My memory’s not the best, but I hope that in 40 years I will be able to close my eyes and still see my 3 year old boy playing sand & bulldozer at the playground.
After I posted this on Facebook a few days ago, I actually felt a little silly. Because if this isn’t irony then I don’t know what is. 🙂 Encouraging us to stay off social media while we are…. reading it on social media. Nonetheless, I hope it inspired us to think about how and when we are on our phone. It certainly made me think about my phone usage around my kids and what I want to change about it. I am in no way suggesting that we should stop using our phones or social media (because I do the same thing) or that we need be present with our children 100% of the time.
But. I do think there becomes a point when it’s too much.
We were at the bounce house the other day and I couldn’t believe that almost every single parent was on their phone. Children would yell Mommy! Mommy look at me! Mommy! The mother would answer with a nod after a few minutes, just enough to signal to the child that she heard them but to please carry on because she is busy. I watched this happen and then I realized….. I have done this.
How many times have I missed out on their excitement or joy because I was looking at my phone? How many times have I totally ignored my child because I was too busy reading something on Facebook? I often bring a book with me and read it while they’re playing at the park. I like (and encourage) that they can play independently or with friends for a couple hours. I feel like burying my head in a book is a little different than an iphone, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s all in the same.
When we are on our phones more than we are physically and mentally present we are missing out on so much.
We are missing out on conversations and connections with strangers.
We are missing out on moments are children want us to see and acknowledge.
We are missing out on that moment when you look up and lock eyes with your kid — thank you for noticing me mama. I really wanted you to see that.
We are missing out on the simple movements and expressions our kids – faces that I hope to memorize for the rest of my life.
Put your phone down for the afternoon and take note of what happens …..
***** Let me reiterate that this is NOT about taking pictures of your kids with your phone. It’s not about using your phone. It’s not even really about using your phone to take pictures of your kids and put them on Facebook or other social media! It’s about when we are on our phones TOO MUCH and IN PLACE of BEING with our kids. It’s about when we are so busy taking pictures or checking social media that we forget to be PRESENT with our children. It’s about taking a note of your own personal reflection and how YOU use your phone/social media — ultimately it is up to you to decide how you feel about this and how it effects you 🙂