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If you could add one thing to your day that would make your child feel loved and valued… would you do it? One thing to make your child feel important while also helping you connect with your child – no matter their age?
It all boils down to you giving them your attention. Learning to UNplug to plug in… sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Why is it so hard?
Let’s dig into that… It starts in the morning (with the BUSY schedule that starts when you open your eyes.)
The Busy Schedule of a Parent…
Beep, beep, beep…It’s 6:00 am…I hit the snooze button on my phone. 5 minutes later, I turn the alarm off and roll out of bed.
- Creep down the stairs ever-so-quietly, so I don’t accidentally wake someone up before they need to get up.
- Start the coffee.
- Get Breakfast started (or at least set out for the kids)
- Pack lunches if it wasn’t done the night before
- LUNCH PACKING TIP ➡️ Check out how I pack lunches for the week in one day
- Clean up the kitchen (from the breakfast & lunch prep).
- Plop on the couch & pull out my phone.
- Check the weather.
- Check messages on the school apps/website.
- Check my emails on my computer.
- Jump over to Facebook for a few minutes.
- Log into my newspaper account to check local and national headlines.
- Reply to texts (to the few friends I know to keep early hours like me.)
- Work on this blog.
DO YOU SEE WHERE I’M GOING?
Even BEFORE my children wake, most of my morning revolves around my electronic devices. Is it really reasonable to think that once my kids stumble out of bed with their messy hair and half-open eyes, I will immediately & miraculously shut everything down to focus only on them?
Not likely…at least not without a plan. Luckily… I have one that I’m going to share with you.
Unplug From The Virtual World and Plug Into The Real One
So today, I am proposing a relatively easy plan to help you unplug from the virtual world and plug in to the real one. To plug into your children and their needs, if only exclusively for a short period of time.
I mean, I get it. This isn’t the world we grew up in. When I was little, the only thing competing for my mom’s attention (outside of my family) was the phone (that was attached to the wall in the center of the house). Yeah, sure, we had a TV, but my mom never really watched tv until we went to bed.
And that phone?? Well, she was rarely on it. Because we were her entertainment, so to speak. She signed up for this motherhood thing, and we were hers. No distractions.
But these days, I feel naked if I accidentally leave home without my phone. What if I’m in an accident? What if the doctor calls me back? What if the kids are sick at school?
You see, our connected world has a lot of benefits too.
It just so happens that distracted mothering isn’t one of them.
So what’s my solution?
Don’t stress – I’m not telling you to go cold turkey because, honestly, in this day and age, one would be hard-pressed to manage without a cell phone and computer (though I’m sure some people do).
No, I’m merely suggesting that for 20 minutes a day, you walk away from everything but being in the moment with your child.
Or… even better- aim for an hour.
While I try to spend 20 minutes of one-on-one time with each child (independent from the other kids) daily, some days, it’s just not going to work. Maybe your children are too young, or you need to be with all of your children at the same time – remember that those are the little details in the big picture.
Plus, you’ll quickly learn how to tell if your child needs one-on-one time (watch for these signs).
Your goal is to just be listening, talking, and bonding with your child. You do that by GIVING YOUR CHILD YOUR ATTENTION. Just spending time together. An hour of playing and hanging out as a family… where you are all-in with your attention.
MY TIP–>> I find the best way for me to do this is to actually leave my phone, computer, iPad, etc., somewhere else in the house. So if the kids and I are hanging out upstairs, I leave my phone in the kitchen downstairs. If we are outside, my phone is inside.
Sometimes we play, sometimes we read, and sometimes we just sit and talk. More often than not, this is when my kids (especially as they get older) open up. This is when they talk about their day. It’s when they tell me what happened at school, who they played with, how tests went, and all the other things on their minds.
The little things….but really the big things when you think about it.
Because it’s nice to be listened to… and to be heard.
Just ask yourself how you feel when you’re talking to your friend, family member, or spouse, and their nose is buried in their phone. Sure, you get the occasional uh-huh and head nod, but it certainly doesn’t make you feel very special, does it?
Now imagine that YOU are a child in this situation… and the one person you love the most doesn’t seem to have time to JUST PUT DOWN HER PHONE and be with you.
Let’s do It Together
I hope you’ll take on this challenge and know I am doing it with you. It’s an ongoing challenge, and I’m in it for the long haul. And we will know the world won’t stop spinning without our phones in that hour.
But in that one hour, the world will melt away for our kids because it will be just us and them. And they will feel heard. It will quickly become their favorite part of the day… as well as yours.