This week my 7 year old daughter Ursula said to me and my husband, “Can you please put down the phone and watch my basketball practice?”
Ahhhhh!….. My first thought was “Wow, I feel bad”, my second thought was “She is right, I should” and my third thought was my perfectionist self saying, “You teach parents to teach their kids to limit screen time, how could you have let yourself go overboard!?” Yikes.
The scary part is that one of the biggest challenges families have today is a lack of truly connected time, and my daughter’s comment forced me to take a step back and consider whether I was spending enough time truly connected with my kids.
Feeling connected to parents is different for each child, but a key indicator is the amount and severity of misbehavior the child is exhibiting. If Ursula hadn’t had the words to share her feelings, she could have turned to misbehavior as a way to let me know that she wanted my attention and connection.
Recently, studies have shown that just 15 minutes of daily connected time with each child can drastically reduce misbehavior and increase cooperation and while the example of watching basketball practice isn’t necessarily “truly” connected time per se (think more like eye to eye, one on one contact/talks/bonding/walks/games), I know that Ursula was clearly feeling we were disconnected.
So this week I am going to work on putting down the phone and watch my daughter practice or play or sing. Will I do it every time? Probably not, but I know I need to be more conscious about the choices I am making in regards to my own screen time. I also have to keep thinking that there is going to come a time in the near future when she won’t want me to watch her so I had better take in as much of this as I can- I will have plenty of phone time later. J
Hope this helps and here is another post on the topic by Andrea Nair.