Adults and children both have grown attached to electronic devices. Taking the time to disconnect is essential for parents and their kids. Smartphones and tablets give you everything you need at your fingertips. Technology helps you escape and maintain social relationships with others but can also be detrimental. Games, messaging, videos, and social media become distractions and take away from quality family time.
Sometimes, adults give young children an electronic device to keep them occupied. In other circumstances, kids see their parents using their phones and want to do the same. Adults who are connected at all times teach their children the same behaviors. Kids may also feel that they aren’t important. In the end, being overly connected can make people feel detached from others in a larger sense. While electronics allow you to keep in touch with family members, they can negatively impact parent/child relationships. Developing a routine to disconnect from phones will strengthen bonds. No matter the age, technology has numerous adverse effects on people.
Children need face-to-face interactions with their parents and genuine attention. By nurturing relationships, you play a role in a child’s developmental skills. Parents can also promote positive self-esteem and behavior by disconnecting devices.
Here are some tips to strengthen the bond with your child by carving out times where you take a break from technology.
1. Make Mornings Matter
On a typical day, most parents have a schedule where they plan ahead. If you haven’t started, set aside screen-free time in the morning for you and your child. Once you get in the habit of disconnecting, it’ll become a routine and improve your relationship. By focusing on your kids instead of your phone when they first wake up, they’ll feel your presence. If you have pressing issues that require being connected, wake up earlier. Take care of your business before your children start their day.
2. In the Car
Most states limit cell phone use and have some form of distracted driving laws. Instead of talking on your phone through your car’s Bluetooth, make better use of the time. Spend the drive without interruptions by chatting with your kids and enjoying each other. You won’t get stressed, and your children won’t feel ignored by a phone call. Disconnect when you pick up your kids from school or a friend’s house. Be there to greet your kids instead of texting or scrolling social media. Children will look forward to seeing you and then being able to talk to you about their day.
4. After School and After Work
Disconnect when kids come home from school and you are done with work. Enjoy a snack together, talk, and relax. Carve out time for you and your child to feel a sense of calm before dinner. Let colleagues know you’re unavailable and focused on your family after work. Work-life balance is critical for mental wellness for both the parent and child.
Set a rule in place where no electronic devices are allowed at the dinner table. You can set up a space on the counter or another room for the family to leave their phones. Also, be sure to turn the devices on silent so dinner doesn’t get interrupted with texts or calls.
When putting your children to bed, don’t take your phone with you. A cell phone going off will disrupt bedtime and can turn to frustration. Also, make a rule that your kids can’t use their phone or tablet when in bed. You can have them set their device somewhere in the house to charge overnight.
7. Monitor Screen Time
You can monitor you and your child’s screen time through settings on electronic devices. If you see that one of you is spending too much time on the phone, plan some face-to-face time.
While technology provides an escape at times, you need to unplug every now and then. Try some of these tips and see if your relationship with your child improves. Some people grow so accustomed to electronic devices that they may not know what to do. If you feel lost, the book, Before and After School Activities, provides excellent ideas that can work for you.