Why We Need to Put Our Phones Down During Our Kids' Activities

Image: docoverachiever/Creative CommonsI can't say that I turn off the computer and phone whenever my kids are around. As much as I would like to give them my undivided attention, I work from home and I work odd hours so that I can actually spend more time with them. And of course, with the way the Internet provides us with everything from bill paying to ordering diapers to communicating with friends and family, even when I'm not working, I'm often online. I try to focus my attention on the kids as much as possible once they get home from school, and when I bring them to activities such as swimming or tennis lessons, I try to use that time to check back in on work emails...at least that's what I was doing until my daughter made one telling comment last week.

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"Mommy, will you watch me swim this time?"

"What are you talking about? I always watch you swim."

"No you don't. You're always on your phone."

Ugh! I couldn't have felt more horrible when she said that. The thing is that our kids are constantly looking for our approval and to show off their abilities. My daughter is four-years-old. She wants me to see her every time she jumps off the side of the pool or blows bubbles, and she's right; I should be watching. Not only does it build her self-confidence and show her that I care, but I've realized that I was missing out on things too.

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By making a more conscious effort to pay attention to her during her activities and not be too distracted by phone or even other parents to chat with, I was able to see her do a somersault on the bar and walk the high beam at gymnastics this week. Telling her after we got home that I saw her do those things gave us something to discuss and made her feel very proud.

It's certainly tempting to bury ourselves in our phones, tablets, or even a newspaper or magazine during our kids' sometimes seemingly unending activities, but it's so much more rewarding for both us and them if we don't. I, for one, will be limiting my time with my cell phone, save for when I want to snap a picture of their newest moves on the tumble track.

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How Your Cell Phone Could Kill You (Or Your Kids)