Tip #13 Parents: Mind Your Own Screen Time

Jul 13

I tweet.  I facebook.  There… I admit it.  I am one of those. I also admit that both of these digital pastimes can become major time hogs in the life of a parent.  Not only because they foster an addiction (that non-tweeters cannot possibly understand), but the very nature of social media encourages users, like me, to fill those quiet snippets of time that pop up every day with status updates and scrolls through witticisms, links, and gripes by others.  Snippets of time that – in the olden days – would be spent in contemplation, reading (real paper), or watching your kid miss his second grounder in T-Ball.

How much of our lives are we, as parents, sacrificing for our digital updates?  For me, I’d say it’s not an insignificant amount. In fact, “Just a minute” has got to be among my children’s most-oft heard phrases to spew from my mouth, not too far behind “We have to go now!” and “Where are your shoes?”

Like our kids, we parents need to incorporate screen-free habits into our lives. Owning a smart phone makes this almost impossible as we grow evermore reliant on our funky apps and seem disturbingly curious about other people’s mundane lives.  Yet, taking a couple of hours out of every day to set the phone aside and leave the computer idle (maybe even OFF?)  forces a parent to be completely present to the family’s needs.  It also creates opportunity during the snippets of free time, when the dinner is simmering and the kids are busy, to do something other than reach for the phone.  Heck, you may decide join the kids for a while or sit at the piano and play a tune (no matter how bad it sounds). Maybe you’ll just sit in a chair and do absolutely nothing.  And if your son or daughter pops into the room to chitchat, you will not respond with “Just a minute.”  Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it?

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