Phone-less Parenting: Dumb your smartphone!
Most of us these days ( kids included) are glued on to phones from the minute we wake up. Not only does this prevent you from being completely present in your life, it gives children the message that your phone and work are more important than them. And they follow suit.
Being on your phone every waking minute is not only harmful to you, but it hampers social interactions and relationships. Staring at a screen for long hours makes you sleep less, makes you lose focus and also deters you from doing deep meaningful work. It’s a constant distraction. How many times during a conversation do you look at your phone to check that notification ping?
I found myself telling my daughter to ‘gimme a min – I’m on my phone’ too often than I liked. Whether it was checking that email from work, or a status update or a pressing phone call – I asked myself – is it that urgent? It is life shattering? Is responding to this email more important than talking to my child? The answer to all of the above was thankfully no. I had become a slave to my phone – answering to its ring and ping!! So, I’ve begun making some changes, I’ve begun dumb-ifying my smart phone. And it’s done wonders . Here’s what you can do:
Turn off notifications on apps: You don’t need to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on everything you see on Facebook then and there. It can wait. Turning off notifications on apps not only reduces that itch to check your phone, but you’ll be surprised how much time you get on your hands.
Delete unnecessary apps: The more you have on your phone, the more you are going to look at it. Go through your history and see which app you use the most and then ask yourself – Do I really need this? And then ruthlessly delete!
Get a dumb-phone?: I know a lot of people who are switching to dumb phones – yes, the old ones which were make purely for making and receiving calls! This is the going ‘cold-turkey’ clean cut method. Ripping that band aid off really fast! It helps you eliminate your need to be hyper-connected at all times.
Decide on NO screen time: You need to make some rules in the house, rules that apply to you as well. Decide on a time when you know the whole family is together and make it ‘No screen time’ . That means no TV, no tabs, no phones – pure and simple family time. Think of your childhood and the time you spent with your parents. Repeat.
Yes, most of these changes resemble a limb being torn off but trust me, doing even some of them will turn your life around. By doing this, you are not only living by example but you are also giving your children true and meaningful social interactions. You are also telling them, that they are important and you don’t want to miss out on what is going on in their lives.
We all know that being a parent, we have to make tough choices every day, but I think this is one of those no brainers: smart-phone v/s children?
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