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Mothers are often digitally distracted and kids suffer because of it, here are some tips to unplug and live in the present.
I’ll admit, sometimes I find it hard to resist scrolling mindlessly through social media and my email. It isn’t really because I think it’s more interesting than my kids, but rather that I feel the heavy weight of hyper-vigilance and just need a break.
But honestly, scrolling through social media isn’t a break for me. It leads me to more articles I *should* read and reminder of things that are on my to do list. I definitely don’t think technology is bad, but we really gotta keep it in check.
Are you constantly tempted to scroll Facebook or Pinterest when you have other things you could be doing at home? Here are some tips to help you unplug.
Our kids need to learn to entertain themselves, be independent, and do things for themselves, but that doesn’t mean we need to neglect our duties around the house and be a present but absent parent because we’re too busy with our electronics.
Working from home adds more complexity
Now, some of us work from home with our computers. I firmly believe there’s a difference in the time we need to spend on our computers to provide for and serve our families and time spent “escaping” from our families.
At times I need the kids to play independently so I can meet an important deadline and that’s okay. Other times I just want to ignore them and look at Instagram so I can feel a little more relaxed.
On occasion that may be fine, but it’s not a good habit to get into.
Here are some tips to help you get off your screens and be with the kids
If you are in the need of a digital detox from technology so you can be more mindful and present with your family, I hope this will help you make the changes that will bless your family.
Remember, you don’t necessarily have a technology addiction, but if you are always reaching for your phone, you may be more dependent than you’d like.
Leave your phone in another room
I use my phone’s white noise app to help soundproof my newborn’s room so that is incredibly useful for me.
I’m not tempted to check my phone because it’s not there. Out of sight out of mind is very true in this case. Put it in another room to charge and go in to check it at your previously decided intervals.
Turn off notifications off (or put on airplane mode) when you need to be “on”
One thing that used to get me was hearing my phone beep and knowing it was a message, text, or email coming through.
After turning off my notifications, the pull to check my phone went down drastically. The ding is irresistible, previously if you’re feeling stressed and scatter brained, but it’ll be much easier to manage your phone usage when notifications don’t tempt you.
Ask your family to help keep you accountable
Your kids will probably be quick to tell you they get annoyed when you stare at your phone all the time. Ask them to remind you when you are using it.
Then try to look at your child’s face and choose Facebook over it! Trust me, this will tug at the heart strings and help you.
Track your time
There are apps that will tell you exactly how much you’re looking at your phone. Install these apps and after a day of normal behavior, check them.
Give yourself set times
I like to give myself times that it’s fine to browse social media. When I’m feeding my newborn or all the kids are in independent play time, I don’t think it’s a problem. I get my quota in then and am able to re-focus on the kids later.
I don’t think social media in itself is wrong, obviously it can be a real power for good, but it does need to be kept in checked. We often complain about our housework, but we probably had more time to do it than we think.
The key isn’t to “deprive” ourselves of anything, but to learn to use our time wisely and in a way that benefits both ourselves and our families.
Go forth, mamas, and unplug!