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I talked a few days ago about trying not to work on my computer while Emma is talking to me. This is a similar concept but even easier to slip into if we’re not intentional.
We were at Emma’s dance class several weeks ago, and a young mom walked in with three kids in tow. She looked like she was texting on her phone, and she continued her message as she sat down on the bench. One of her kids tried to climb in her lap and fell off. Mom’s response? “Well don’t climb on Mommy while I’m using my phone.” (Said without looking up from the text.) Ouch. The little girl was crushed.
Mom’s response just told the child that the phone was more important than she was.
Now, I’m not saying that Mom shouldn’t have some space to send messages. It’s important for our kids to realize that it’s not all about them all the time. But balancing that with the fact that our kids ARE more important than our phones is (in my opinion) the key. What could that look like? Maybe the mom I saw could’ve stopped texting long enough to say something like “Give Mommy just a minute and then we’ll snuggle.” Just taking the time to stop and make eye contact would send the message that the child is valued. And that’s the key.
Around here, my phone is mostly used for reading. I use my phone’s Kindle app and snatch up all kinds of free Kindle books (I post them here as I find them). I want Emma to see me reading, but not when I should be paying attention to her. So it’s a balance that I try to find. I’m not always successful, but I’m trying to be intentional about how and when I use my phone and in letting Emma know that she always comes before whatever is on the screen.
Do you have any phone rules for yourself when the kids are around? Share them in the comments so that we can all benefit from each other’s experience.
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