Keeping away from your mobile phone is getting much harder to do these days, with the phone becoming smarter, more versatile and taking on more day-to-day tasks, resulting in our increased reliance on the device. I did an audit of the reasons why I picked up the phone in the presence of Samantha and I found that the 3 top reasons were:
- To check an incoming whatsapp message
- To read an incoming email
- To answer an incoming call
I’ve picked up my mobile phone enough times in front of Samantha for her to learn to mimic me saying ‘hello’ every time she can get her hands on my phone.. .
I’m sure you have seen parents out with the kids, where the parents are glued to their mobile devices and not paying any attention to their child at all. Families of 4 sitting at restaurants and cafes, with each family member looking down at their mobile devices is also a common sight these days.
While I acknowledge that it may be impossible to go 100% phone-free, here are 5 suggestions (ludicrous as they may sound), that may help reduce your time spent with the mobile phone, and thus increase your time (and attention) spent on our child.
- Turn your phone to silent mode, and keep it in your bag. Check it only when another caregiver has taken over care of the child.Without an audible alert tone every time an email or message comes in, or when someone calls, you will not be distracted and have an obsession to check your phone when they come in.
- Pass your mobile device over to someone else who is not spending time with the child. Ideally, this person should help you to ‘triage’ your calls and messages and only alert you to ones that require immediate attention (which should be rare).
- Give up your smart phone for one with the most rudimentary features (just phone and text functions). I know of someone who did this. Honestly, it got a little irritating for me because he never seemed to reply to any emails or text messages at all.
- Wean yourself off the multiple functions of your smart phone by using more ‘traditional’ devices (in front of your child), like the corded telephone, calculator, desktop/laptop computer.
- Surrender all your digital devices at the door. When you get home, just leave all your devices at at door. It’s rather drastic, but very effective.
Hands Free Mama has a great article with more pointers on how not to miss your child’s growing up years.