Think Twice on How Your Phone Usage is Perceived!

Phone Use…How is it Being Interpreted?

Growing up, my dad would sit at the dining room table, reading the paper and having his breakfast, usually a glass of orange juice and peanut butter toast. As I got older, I became more involved. We would talk about some of the stories, I would steal the comic section. I’d peek over his shoulder and read the headlines or sometimes just steal a whole section! It was a typical thing during my childhood, seeing an adult sitting at the table reading a paper. But nobody does it anymore. Now people read the news on their phones. I’ve mentioned before, that we have a no phone rule at the table, so where do you draw the line…no phones at the table period? Try to explain the difference of content to our young child and how videos and Elmo’s alphabet game aren’t allowed but what mommy does is, it feels hypocritical.

To avoid having my phone out at breakfast, I usually try to have a morning coffee and catch up on Social Media and news later in the morning if we’re at home. I might be at the table or I might be on the couch. Either way, if I have my phone or iPad out, my son will compete for my attention. If I’m cleaning up the kitchen, he’s usually happy to play on his own, but not when I’m using technology. This makes me feel guilty about using technology around him, which, at the end of the day, parents need to do.

When we’re searching for preschools, we’re looking online, not reading a dozen pamphlets. Enrolling children in activities is now done online. When we’re shopping, we’re looking at a website, not flyers or catalogues. If our child is sick, we don’t get out our “Dr. Mom Encyclopedia”, we go to medical sites. But how can we differentiate sitting around on our phone, killing time texting and Facebooking over actually doing regular, daily tasks that are now done online. More importantly, how can we demonstrate that to our children???

I think I’m old fashion and when I see someone on a phone or tablet, I automatically think texting or “playing”, errands and must dos and errands don’t usually come to mind, although I use my phone for these things all the time!

A perfect example of this is church. If you attend church, look around your congregation and note how many people follow along with an actual Bible and how many people use a Bible App! The other week I looked around and it actually appeared as though people had tuned the pastor out and were playing on their phones! Of course they weren’t, they were following along, but again, it’s my old school perception of phones.

So what’s the answer??? …I wish I had it! As you know, I try to limit my use of technology around my son as much as I can because I know he picks up on it, but at the end of the day, I have stuff I need to do…for my son…which needs to be done on a computer or tablet and unfortunately, with him napping less and less I’m not able to limit these “technology errands” to nap time.

I try to tell me son what I’m doing…”mommy’s shopping” and he can sit on my lap at the computer and we talk about all the things we see in the pictures…which makes it a very slow process but at least he understands and is involved. I still put him first and if he asks me to play, I tell him what I’m doing and explain I will play when I’m finished (but of course he doesn’t always want to wait!). I don’t do these things while we’re out besides bringing up an online flyer for a price match or something quick. But unfortunately, I don’t know the answer, I don’t know how to set an example for my son to not always have a piece of technology on hand when that is the way of the world. I guess, like everything else, the key is to be mindful and aware of our actions.

Why I Don’t Prop My Kid in Front of a TV

It sounds so tempting, like such an easy out, but there are 100 reasons (that I won’t mention) why I don’t leave my kid to watch tv. The first and most important reason is all the studies that stress how detrimental television and tablets are for children under 2 years old. It affects brain development, language development and can cause ADHD. Don’t get me wrong, although there are known risks, we live in a world surrounded by technology and as my son nears the age of 2, we are allowing him to watch more television and use the iPad. But it is monitored, limited and never used as a babysitter.

Risks aside, I also don’t think it’s fair on my husband who works long hours at a stressful job so I can stay home with our son. Why should I let technology babysit our son while I play on my phone or sit around while my husband is working his butt off?! How disrespectful is that?! No. My husband and I are a team. He goes out and earns the money and my job is to stay home and manage the house and take care of our son.

Sure, at the end of the day, if I need to get supper ready and I don’t want my son to help, I catch him in a good mood and tell him he’s been such a good boy that he can watch a video while mommy cooks supper. He’s usually pretty excited. We don’t have a television on our main floor so he watches videos on YouTube or Netflix on our computer. I want him to know that watching tv is a treat. Unfortunately, I’ve also given in to him watching videos while I shower and get ready in the morning because it was becoming too difficult to keep him out of trouble. But I like to think it’s still in moderation.

While my husband is out working, I’m working at home. I’m coming up with creative ways to enrich our child, when we do watch a video, I often talk about what’s on the screen so it’s still interactive, we colour, do arts and crafts and I include him in household chores and activities so he not only feels included and a sense of accomplishment, but he’s also learning about work and chores which we will expect him to help with as he gets older.

There is so much to do, my son, like most in the western world, has too many toys and summer is nearly here. On the average day, there is no excuse to prop a child in front of a tv for hours. Teach your child to entertain him or herself, play with them. If you are blessed to be able to stay at home with your child, spend that quality time with them. Get on your hands and knees and drives cars or play dolls. Go for a walk or play outside. Colour a picture. If we prop our children in front of televisions, we will only have ourselves to blame when, in a few years, they whine about being bored because they have never learned to entertain themselves and be independent of technology.

So for the sake of our children, for our working spouses and for the future of humankind, please, please, please, limit the time your children spend with technology. Even the programs and apps specifically for toddlers aren’t good in large doses!!! Instead, spend time with them, because time flies and these precious years will soon be gone.

How you know when your Baby has become a Toddler

  1. “No!”
  2. They suddenly become too clever for their own good.
  3. Tantrums. Tantrums at home, tantrums in public, tantrums anywhere and everywhere.
  4. They repeat everything you don’t want them to! “Say sorry.” …nothing. “$#@!” …”$#@!” …crap…“crap” …sigh.
  5. You wonder whether your once sweet baby could be bipolar or perhaps you should consider an acting career for them, how can they turn it on and off like that?!
  6. Suddenly all the foods you thought they loved aren’t edible anymore and deserve to be thrown on the floor.
  7. Getting dressed is now a form of torture.
  8. Cute splashes in the bath have now become a tidal wave onto the bathroom floor.
  9. They’re opinionated, I don’t care if there’s snow on the ground, I want to wear my flip flops or just try to get me out of this house on time!
  10. Changing a diaper, especially if it’s messy, is like being in the WWF! Sometimes I catch myself counting how long I can hold him down.
  11. “Mine!”
  12. You can teach them cool things but when you want to show off their new talents, no chance, they don’t perform for nobody. …Maybe scrap the acting career idea.
  13. They want to be like you but the toy phone and remote doesn’t cut it.
  14. They become fascinated with babies but haven’t quite mastered gentleness. They also think older children are babies?!
  15. They become as fast as lighting, before it was rolling or scooting across the floor, but now they completely disappear in seconds! …“sweetheart? Where arrrrre you???”😬
  16. I want up. You lift them up. They squirm and push away so you put them back down. They cry, “Up!” You try again, same thing happens, you explain the obvious, “No I just lifted you up and you wanted down again, you can stay down now.” Tantrum.
  17. They share when and what they want to, when you insist they share all toys, tantrum. When you take the toy away for not sharing, tantrum.
  18. If acting doesn’t workout, perhaps they have a future as a spy or CIA agent…how are they so quiet and sneaky when doing something they’re not supposed to be doing?!
  19. …or a detective, “where did you find that?!?! No! Dirty! …not in your mouth!”
  20. “No, no no!” I’m beginning to hate that word.