Recently my younger daughter asked me why Daddy always had his phone with him. I paused, coming up with all of the politically correct answers I could give her. They went something like this:
“Daddy owns his own business and needs to be accessible.”
“Something important may happen and Daddy needs to find out immediately.”
“Daddy isn’t on the phone, it’s just nearby, in case…”
I even contemplated:
“Daddy is addicted to Trivia Crack”. Okay, maybe I didn’t…well…
Then I thought about it some more and realized that there wasn’t a single excuse I could provide to my young daughter that would make sense to her. Mainly because it doesn’t make sense in a child’s mind, why anything and especially a phone, would be more important than her.
Do you remember the song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”? Listen up moms and dads: we’ve become the epitome of the words sung by Harry Chapin. Our children are growing up too fast and before you know it, they’re gong to be asking for their own Nano, smart phone, e-reader and/or tablet.
Parents continue to ask me, in amazement, why these material items are so important and sought after by their children Well, why shouldn’t they be? From a young age, they see us literally connected to our e-devices at all times.
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before: Keep in mind what you say and do (at all times) in front of your children because they’re constantly watching you. Well, it couldn’t be truer if you have an 18 month -10 year old. They’re picking up your words, habits, sayings, morals and everything that you do.
If you want to ensure you have a child who one day makes time for you, start by turning off that smart phone, put down your tablet, disconnect from the computer and pay attention to your child. Right now, what is most important is your presence. Quality time together. Believe it or not, that’s what they want. They want your presence more than any material item you could ever give them.
Next time your child asks if they can borrow your smart phone to play a game, suggest putting on music instead and having a dance- or sing-a-long. SigO has (finally!) recognized how important his time with our children is and now spends his time with them in impromptu sing-along sessions. This time together is more precious than any electronic device they can play with.
Slow down, disconnect, talk and just “be” together. Model it and you’ll get it back, guaranteed.