Dear Dads, Put Your Phone Away!
It’s one of the hardest things to do sometimes. Put my phone on the table and walk away. Leave behind my fantasy football scores and my instagram updates. It’s still a struggle for me. Dear dads, I beg you. Put your cell phone away and spend time with your kids.
“You’re always on your phone”
This phrase still is etched in my mind and it hurts. A few months back, I was standing in the kitchen on a Saturday morning and my three kids were running around giggling with each other. They seemed content, so I had my nose in my phone, catching up on NBA news from the previous night. My son walked up to me and said “Dad come play with us.” I said I would soon and then he replied, “You’re always on your phone. Why won’t you play with us?”
He hit a nerve there and that one hurt. But he did have a point, didn’t he? I am on my phone too much. Here I was, valuing my electronic device over spending time with my kids on a Saturday morning. It’s made me think ever since that morning and I knew something had to change.
Dear dads, Keep it out of sight and out of mind
When I come home from work, I make an effort to put my phone upstairs in my bedroom. Out of sight, out of mind. For me, if my phone is out of sight, I’m not as tempted to continue to check it and can focus solely on my wife and children. The valuable time I then get to spend with my family is priceless because it allows me to focus 100% on my family. And to be honest, when I do make my way back to my phone, I didn’t miss much. The time I got to spend with my family is so much more meaningful to me and they can see that I wasn’t distracted during those moments.
Dear dads, set an example for your child
I was just talking to my buddy yesterday about his ten year old wanting to have a cell phone. Ten years old! I was still very much into LEGOs and stuffed animals when I was ten. The thing is, this ten year old has many friends already set up with cell phones. Wow. Now, I do understand that the world has changed unfortunately and for safety reasons, a cell phone isn’t always a bad idea. But on the flip end, it’s a bad idea. However, as dads, we can set an example for our children when they are young. We can show them that life doesn’t revolve around a cell phone.
Dear dads, focus on child time, not screen time
One of my struggles as a dad is that sometimes I find myself wanting to do my own thing and just allowing my kids to watch a movie when it’s really nice outside. I lay on the couch, hop on my phone and they lay on the couch immersed in a movie. We could be going on a hike outside instead. Or maybe at the playground. What about just kicking a ball around outside? Those are wasted opportunities that I miss out on as a dad. I missed connecting with my kids in those moments. If you struggle with managing screen time with your children, The Organized Family provides 7 great tips on what to do instead.
Dear dads, remember that your kids look up to you heavily at a young age. We have a responsibility to listen to them and set an example. Try putting your phone away for a few minutes today and focus 100% on your children. It is an awesome feeling.