“Don’t let your phone make you a shitty parent,” begins UK-based dad blogger Brad Kearns in a viral Facebook post, which has been shared nearly 7,000 times.
“I was home alone with the boys and was on Facebook trying to keep up with the world. Knox came up and stood in front of me. I didn’t even notice him at first but he was clearly trying to get my attention. He was trying to show me one of his cars. I didn’t even look up from my phone when I replied “wow mate that’s a cool one,” recalled Kearns, adding how his son continued to try and get his attention.
He was bored and he missed me and he just wanted my attention. Yet there I was “too busy” to even look up…
Kearns recounted how he eventually looked up from his phone and told his son he was busy and that he should just go and play with his brother, Finn.
“He walked out of the room and began playing quietly in the other room with his brother. I continued scrolling. He came back in and the same thing happened,” wrote the dad blogger behind DadMumLife.
“I hadn’t seen him in two days due to my work hours. He was bored and he missed me and he just wanted my attention. Yet there I was “too busy” to even look up. And I dismissed him.”
When he put his phone away, he recalls feeling so disappointed in himself.
“I was being the dad I never wanted to be. I’d had enough. So I went into the other room and asked him to play. His entire face lit up,” shared Kearns, gushing about how he and his young son enjoyed playing all day. He didn’t even pick up his phone.
His post was written a month after he made this decision to give himself a “much needed time-out.”
“It’s been the best month with my boys,” continues the dad of two. “Kids don’t give a shit about the world. All they care about is you being right there with them. We need to put the phones down when we’re with them.”
How to avoid phone-distracted parenting
According to a recent study done by the University of California, having parents who are constantly distracted or inattentive can hinder or negatively impact a child’s socio-emotional development. Another study has also found that it has adverse effects on your child’s brain development.
In the age of social media and the constant need to surf the net, how do you keep this from happening? Here are some tips.
- Hide your cellphone (lock it away, if necessary)
- Set a schedule instead of checking it constantly (like, five minutes every hour)
- Use a notebook and pen for your to-do lists instead of your phone
- Don’t go on autopilot. Focus on your kids.
- You don’t have to be updated by news 24/7. Don’t check social media constantly. The news can wait.
- Coordinate side-by-side bonding’work time’ with kids: have them do an arts and crafts or reading activity, while you check your phone or laptop.
- If you have more than one child, make sure they get 100% focused mommy and daddy time at least 15 minutes each day.
- Self-care should also be a priority! To better care for your kids, make sure you’re not taking your socio-emotional needs for granted.
sources: Babble, Time, Healthline
READ: Your kids need your attention, even if they don’t always show it