10 Ways to Spend More Time With Your Kids Than Your Phone
You’re the queen of the mommy apps. Your phone is filled with all kinds of digital glory that you use to categorize pics, organize playdates, schedule carpools, and do just about everything else in your life. And here you thought screen-time was just something your kids had to watch out for. Between apps, emails, texts, and streaming services, you’re on that same screen all day long. Take a deep breath, switch your phone/tablet/laptop off, and check out these ways to unplug from the digital side of parenting.
1. Keep a journal. Yes, a good ol’ paper journal. You know — one that you use an actual pen (not some sort of stylus) on. Journal out your anger, sadness, happiness, joys, triumphs, challenges, or anything else that comes with your day. Set aside at least 10 minutes every day just to write. Turn your phone off, put it far away, and just journal.
2. Create a calendar. No, not a spreadsheet. And no, don’t just update your phone’s calendar app. The rest of your family can’t see the spreadsheet you have locked in your computer. Post a dry erase calendar in the kitchen or some other central place. Write out the month’s schedule for everyone. Let everyone write their own schedules (except for your toddler, of course). This takes some of the pressure off of you and lets you share in a totally non-digital way.
3. Get artsy, with your family. Don’t stress if you’re not on the Martha Stewart crafting level. Whether you paint a portrait or just finger paint, letting your day go and the creativity flow is a bonding experience that the entire family can enjoy together.
4. Go outside, just because. You don’t need to GPS-out a walk around the neighborhood. Leave your phone at home, grab the stroller, and head outside with your honeys. Have an actual face-to-face conversation with your S.O. and forget all about the digital world.
5. Share a photo. Sharing pics of the littles is something you do on a daily basis. Forget about Facebook and Instagram and use the actual post. That is, the post office. Send Grandma, Grandpa, your BFF who now lives across the country, your sister, or anyone else who care about your kiddos their photos. Print them out, put them in an envelope, write a note (or better yet, have the kids write a note), stamp it, and send it!
6. Have a tech time-out. This one works for the entire family. Put everyone’s devices on a tech time-out for a period of time that you pick. Choose a time-out spot and take those badly behaving electronics to it. Put them on silent (so that they’re quiet), and request that they stay on time-out while you, your kids, and your other half have family time.
7. Camp out while camping in. When you wander into the woods, set up a tent, and have a family camping vacation, you don’t use your phone. Okay, so that’s probably because there’s no cell signal or WiFi way out in the middle of rural-ville. Pretend that you’re way, way, way away from anything that can stream data or connect to the internet and have a family camp-in. Set up a tent in the yard or fill the living room with sleeping bags.
8. Make your own mommy group. Those FB mommy groups certainly have their place in your life. They help you to explore and experience parenting through other people’s eyes, give you a supportive community to share with, and even offer tips that make taking care of your kids just that much easier. You don’t need a computer and a social media website to connect. Start your own neighborhood mom group — in person, at your home (or someone else’s home).
9. Take a picture. Oh wait, that’s using technology. Or is it? Believe it or not, they actually still make those 35mm film cameras. Buy a roll of black and white film (because everything looks better in black and white) and spend some time playing paparazzi with your kids. You can even frame the pics after you have them developed. Bonus points if you take a class and learn how to print your own photos.
10. Use an app to turn your phone off. Sometimes unplugging isn’t as easy as it should be. Try as you may, you just can’t start a digital detox. And that’s where detach apps — such as Moment (iOS) or BreakFree (iOS or Android) — come into play. They disable the “smart” features of your phone, turning it into an… um, phone. You set the amount of time and the app does its magic.
How do you unplug? Share your pick and tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)