The Most Important Parenting Lesson I’ve Learned So Far

Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump
Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump

One of the hardest challenges I face every day is the addictive desire to check my phone while I am with my kids. It seems I’m not alone, though. I see parents at the park, in the grocery store and at the library reaching for their phones.

I am talking about texting, emailing, and even making phone calls. I am horribly guilty of this; I see other people look at their phone, and I instinctively get a craving to check my own. It’s seems we’re all addicted: when the kids watch TV, parents watch their phones; when the kids play at the park, parents play on their phones.

The question we all have to ask ourselves is: how will this new technology and cell-phone reliance affect our children now and in the future? How will our actions today reflect on our kids in the future? Would you want your kids checking their phone, texting, updating social media, etc. while you are talking to them? Will we all be sitting at our dining room tables’ texting instead of talking in the years to come?

I believe we all likely need to nip this habit in the bud and start focusing in on what’s really important — our kids. Instead of playing on our phones while our kids play at the park we should be fully engaged and playing together: in the dirt, on the play sets – learning together and bonding together.

But I’ll be the first to admit this is difficult to do. I sometimes have to force myself to put my phone down and leave it on my dresser when I know it is time for me to give my kids my undivided attention. I know that if I want my kids to be engaged with me when they are older teens, and young adults, I must be engaged with them now.

Bottom line: the phone is not always your friend, and you don’t always need to respond to texts and emails as quickly as they come in; people can wait.

Do you think it’s hard to “unplug”?

Plus, more from The Bump:

What Baby’s Playing With That Isn’t Safe

How Can I Entertain My Baby?

The Great Gadget Debate: Is Your iPad Hurting Your Toddler’s Development?