One Easy Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Relationship with Your Kid

So simple, and yet so hard. By Sierra Filucci
One Easy Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Relationship with Your Kid

If you own a smartphone, chances are, you love it. You take pictures of your kids, stay in touch with friends and family, keep up with the news, and text your spouse reminders to pick up milk. It's likely never more than an arm's reach away, and it probably even journeys into the bathroom with you. It's 2016, and that's totally normal.

But despite your love for your phone, you probably also feel guilty about using it around your kids too much. You've heard experts predict the end of human connection thanks to iPhones, and you don't want to be lumped in with the parents who ignore their kids during dinner because they're absorbed in Candy Crush. And while science hasn't proven anything yet, it's likely that today's parents are a bit more distracted than they used to be.

So how can we embrace modern parenting, with the magic of technology at our fingertips, while still being responsible parents who aren't too addicted to their little devices?

It's all about taking control over your phone instead of letting it control you. In a nutshell: Put down your phone.

Set Boundaries

One of the benefits of modern technology is that you can be at your kid's soccer game and respond to emails from the boss at the same time. But the experience is lost if you're so distracted by work that you miss your kid score a goal. If your job is flexible enough, decide to only check email every 15 or 30 minutes. Your boss may even OK that hour off, since many companies are realizing that a good work-life balance results in employees who are happier, more loyal, and more productive.

Be Mindful

Phones have become so embedded in our lives that checking email or Twitter or baseball scores has become a habit. If you have any doubt about how addicted you are to your phone, try leaving it at home one day. You might be surprised at how often you reach for it (and then realize you actually can get along fine without it). To keep your phone use in check -- especially around your kids -- try creating new habits. First, disable all but the most crucial notifications that keep you constantly looking at your phone. And then, before you check your phone, ask yourself: Why am I checking my phone? If you don't have a good reason, put it down.

Be a Role Model

Don't you hate being ignored by someone who's staring at their phone? It's annoying, to say the least. And that's just how your kids feel when they see you staring at your tiny screen when they're trying to show you their new dance moves. Two tips: First, narrate what you're doing on the phone. Kids might not be able to tell that you're looking up directions to their friend's birthday party unless you tell them. Second, if you really are ignoring them while you play Candy Crush Soda Saga or "research" old boyfriends on Facebook, it might be time to rethink when and where you use your phone. If you limit your extracurricular phone time, you'll be better able to expect the same from your kids.

More Stuff You'll like Powered by PubExchange (i)

 

About Sierra Filucci

Sierra has been writing and editing professionally for more than a decade, with a special interest in women's and family subjects. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley.... Read more

Add comment

Sign in or sign up to share your thoughts

Comments (2)

Educator and Parent of a 11, 13, 18+, and 18+ year old written by gtsstl

"Narrate what you're doing" is excellent advice. Use language that communicates, enriches your child's vocabulary, and helps them discern what a meaningful use of technology is. Chances are they know that looking up directions to a birthday party matters and that more parent time on Candy Crush doesn't.
Adult written by EMCNC

I do not love my phone, far from it! It is more of a necessary evil, but even now I realize I could live without it (as we all could!). Spending time on a phone is an excuse for parents. It's become a crutch. Put it down, don't bring it with you...whatever. Our dependence on tech gadgets proves how weak we are. Parents need to stop making excuses, put phones down, and expect their kids to do the same.

PubExchange

Common Sense Media is working with PubExchange to share content from a select group of publishers. These are not ads. We receive no payment, and our editors have vetted each partner and hand-select articles we think you'll like. By clicking and leaving this site, you may view additional content that has not been approved by our editors.