We live in a screen-obsessed world. From the moment we wake up we check our phone. For some of us, the phone even follows us to the toilet.
When I grew up there were no smartphones, it was a low-tech world but despite that, I have now turned into a high-tech parent.
I use my phone for almost every aspect of my life. Planning my groceries, checking the weather, communicate with family members and more.
While I must admit that I am highly dependent on my phone for my daily tasks, I am yet mindful about how tech will affect my child. I started using a smartphone at a mature age, hence I am able to take a step back from it.
But now kids are getting their first smartphone at a very young age. Will they have the ability to take a step back when needed? What must I do as a parent to not let devices control my child?
I am always in a quest to find the right balance of screen time. I emphasize on face to face connection, reading “actual” books ( not Kindle), and playing with my child outdoors as much as I can.
But most importantly, I am practicing mindfulness and always being present at the moment without being distracted by smartphone notifications.
It would be rude if someone is talking to you and you are focused on your phone. To teach kids good manners, we need to show it to them. So at a certain time of the day, for instance, family dinner we keep all our devices away. We also dedicate a few hours in the evening just for family time. For instance, playing board games or just watching a movie together.
During bedtime, all gadgets are locked in the cupboard so no one can access it or use their devices in the bedroom. The point is, find a system that works in your home where you can dedicate a certain hour of the day to be tech-free.
This is something that I am still learning and trying to master. Sometimes I find myself feeling anxious for the smallest of things. I started noticing how I need to chill out and just take a breath.
So every morning before my husband goes to work, we would sit together and meditate for a few minutes. Some mornings can be a rush and we might not get the time to do it but the majority of the time we get this done.
Now, we see this routine just like brushing our teeth. We wouldn’t leave the house without doing it.
Even 3 minutes of meditation helps us relax and focus on the tasks for the day. We started noticing how our toddler would sit next to us and just be watching what we are doing. She might not understand the breathing techniques yet but she is at least interested in what we are doing.
So start by taking a few minutes of your morning to relax and watch your child follow you by doing the same thing.
Coloring can also be as peaceful as meditating. You can check the inspirational coloring pages filled with fun activities and motivational coloring quotes.
In our crazy busy life, we sometimes forget how to have fun. I remember as a young girl how much I loved to dance and sing. The feeling of being high on life and free.
Studies have shown that singing releases endorphins, which is associated with a feeling of pleasure.
Take some time in the evening and sing with your kids. Choose a song that you all enjoy and dance to the music. The instant bonding you have with your kids will amaze you.
Don’t just send your kids out to play, when you get the time to go out and join them. Ride a bicycle, kick a ball or just go for a walk. These outdoor moments are some of my favorite with my child. She will wander off looking at flowers, feeling the grass and picking up stones.
It is beautiful to see how our child finds magic in the smallest of things and sometimes this can be a reminder for us too. That good things are around us if we decide to take a moment and appreciate nature.
There is no doubt that our kids will grow up using technology, hence it is important that we keep them active and mindful. Help them be in tune with the present moment. Focus on face to face interaction. Most importantly, show them how to live a healthy lifestyle so this becomes a habit as they grow up.