My husband and I watched a biography on the man who created the little thing that has taken over how we live our lives! That man is Steve Jobs and that little thing is the Iphone. When the Iphone was released their marketing campaign said,
“It just works.” Nothing flashy, not a lot you haven’t seen before — just something that’s going to work so well that it will become an extension of yourself.”
DID YOU HEAR THAT??? Our phones have become an extension of who we are! We don’t go anywhere without our phone. I would bet that each of us has taken our phone into the bathroom with us at least once a day! We have gotten to the point that if we do not have our phone with us we feel, DISCONNECTED, LOST, and ANXIOUS! All because of a little device that we say we own, but in actuality, it owns us. If we are not careful as parents, it can rob what precious time we have with our very impressionable children. I have this discussion a lot with different people. Yes our phones can do great things, it saves me a lot of time, but steals a lot of my time as well. I have heard moms say, “Before we had phones we read the news out of a newspaper, we read our scriptures out of our scriptures, we shopped at the store, we talked with our friends face to face. Now, we do all of that on our phones.”
Here are some tips to help you as a mom, dad, grandparent, or child to help you to put down your phone and enjoy the world around you first hand. My favorite vacations are when we do not have cell phone service. Times when you are completely unplugged and you are focused on your family.
#1- Keep your phone on silent – If you are with your kids or getting stuff done, keeping your phone on silent will help you to stay off of your phone. Don’t worry! If its really important, whoever is trying to call you will leave a message, or text you.
#2 – Refrain from checking your phone frequently! When you are doing something with your kids, whether playing, reading, working, refrain from checking your phone frequently. They notice your actions, and will pick up on the feeling that your phone is more important than they are.
#3 – Keep your phone in one spot. Don’t carry it around with you. This can be difficult, but you will quickly find out it’s just a habit, that when broken, it’s actually very refreshing to not be glued to it 24/7. Create times when you check your phone, preferably when your kids are busy playing!
#4 – Ask yourself this question when your phone rings, “If the person calling me knew I was eating dinner, or reading to my kid, would they want me to answer?” Many times that phone call can wait when your child is playing outside, or busy with something else.
#5 – Create a no phone zone at the dinner table. This time is for your family and has been proven to help your child’s vocabulary, linked to your child getting A’s, decreased medical disorders, plus so much more!! (1)
#6 – You can also create other no phone zones, such as after a certain time at night. This can be greatly beneficial for married couples. There are many times my husband and I are laying in bed, and we are both on our phones. We don’t talk to each other, I have no idea what happened during his day. Remember, the things we water grow the best. If we don’t water our relationship, because we are watering our social status, your relationship will shrivel up.
#7 – Consider using an app such as Moment to track how long you are on your phone daily. Moment is an iOS app that automatically tracks your daily phone usage. You can set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over. It can even kick you off your device if you go over!
#8 – Learn where you are spending your time on your phone. I learned this little trick from by friends blog mothersniche.com. Her post Taking Back Motherhood is excellent. She shares a way to find out what apps you are using and how much time you spend on each app. On your iphone go to Settings>Battery and you can see where you are spending your time! This is an eyeopener, especially when Facebook is my top item! Which leads to #9…….
#9 – Check social media for 15 minutes in the morning or night. Resist the urge to check it all day. Like I said earlier, don’t let your phone control you!
#10 – Turn off your notifications on your phone for different apps like Facebook. Doing this makes it so your app isn’t controlling you by saying, “Look you have a notification! Come look at me!” Turning off the notifications gives you the freedom to go and check your apps on your time!
#11 – Set a specific time of day to get your screen time done. If you need to work on your phone, check emails, messages, voice mails, then set a time each day that your kids know you are getting stuff done. I do this when my kids are playing outside, and busy doing other things. It works great.
#12 – Take games off of your phone. If you have kids that constantly ask to play your phone, this is the perfect solution! My kids never ask to play my phone! It is great!
#13- Text for Information, Call for Conversation. My sister in-law heard this advice from the General Young Mens President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Stephen Owen. This cuts down time texting on your phone and improves communication skills.
Our phones can be a great thing, but too much of a good thing can have a negative impact. Lots of times, that negative impact happens without us even realizing it! Lets remove this extension of ourselves, the extension we call our phones, and start enjoying the world around us first hand!