Put Down the Phone
I had some friends over this weekend. We were just hanging out and watching football together. At one point, I looked around and everyone was on their phone. Twenty years ago, this would never have been the case. Ten years ago, "being on the phone" would mean that we were actually speaking to someone. Today, our phones are the resource for our email, shopping, reading, news, watching shows or videos, and texting. They provide so much flexibility and access to information. But, they have also changed the dynamic of how we interact with others.
I have been striving to be more intentional in my life this year. Losing a parent and having another parent going through many health issues will cause you to evaluate how you spend your time. It also has me considering the way I interact with my immediate family and children. I want to think about when and how I use my phone so that I provide more undivided attention to those I love.
Here are some tips that I am working on to better focus on time away from my phone.
Give your phone a home. Create a place in your home that you can put your phone and leave it alone. Don't feel like you have to carry it around all the time. This allows you to leave the phone and focus on the people around you.
Turn off the automatic push notifications. Nothing is more distracting than hearing that chime to notify you that you have received an email or a text. If you are working to spend more intentional time with others, turning off those notifications for a length of time can help ease that process.
Schedule tech-free time. Nothing is more important than setting time aside that you can routinely plan for you and your family to get off your devices and spend time together.
Fill time you would play on your phone with another activity. Rather than scrolling mindlessly through facebook, go for a walk with your family or play a board game. These small shifts in activities help to create better habits and make cherished memories in the process.
Model good habits. Our children are growing up in a world where technology is available to them 24 hours a day. As parents, it is our responsibility to show our children how to balance life to allow for time away from electronics. Show them that you have the capacity to take time for your family and friends away from your phone so that they will recognize the importance and learn to do the same.
I saw a quote recently that said, "Ten years ago, the internet was an escape from reality, today, reality is an escape from the internet." Truer words have never been spoken.
So, put the phone down, close the computer and make some memories with your family.