I was recently playing catch with my daughter and trying to check emails at the same time. I like to think I’m really good at multi-tasking. However, when my toddler came and gently grabbed my phone and put it on the table and said “not right now…” I got the hint. I’m not proud of that moment, it actually makes me really sad. Thankful for God’s grace on this one. And for the chance to improve in this area.
I love being able to work from home, but I go through these seasons of doing it well and doing it no so well. It hurts my heart to think that my children are not getting the best of me. The point of me staying home is so that I can spend more time with them. I know it’s time to set clear boundaries. The first being screen time.
I’ve read numerous articles about screen time suggestions for kids. Our family rule is to limit their screen time to an hour while I prepare dinner. Mama gets a break and the kids get to sit back and enjoy the best of Netflix. We also have family movie nights once a week. This works well for our kids, and they look forward to that time.
But what about parents? Who’s limiting our screen time? This has been on my heart for a while, and I can imagine I’m not the only one thinking about this. My girls are really good at keeping themselves busy, which in turn can leave me thinking: what can I get done? I’m working on changing that mentality. As women, we know that there is always something to do. Always someone we need to get back to. Always something that needs to be cleaned. How do we separate the do-list from playtime? To me it’s simple – put the phone down. Turn off the notifications and be present with my kids.
I don’t want my girls to look back and remember Mom being with them, but constantly checking her phone. They deserve better, and I can give them better.
Here are some ways that are helping me improve in this area:
- Setting alarms on my phone throughout the day to check emails and messages (every 4 hours), and ONLY checking at these intervals.
- Turning off ALL notifications – even text messages. If someone really needs me, they will call. Those messages aren’t going anywhere.
- Putting my phone in a designated spot. Knowing that my phone is in it’s place is a great reminder that it needs to stay there. Placing it to charge in our guest room has worked out well, since we rarely go in there.
- Using a paper planner. I can’t say enough about this. Since I stopped using my phone as my calendar, I really have no excuse to need it. I can check our meal plan and schedule throughout the day – without a phone. Also, Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner is adorable and gives me the warm fuzzies.
- Designated work hours. I hope to one day really nail this down. For now my work hours consist of early morning before the kids wake up, nap time, and after they go to bed. We will occasionally hire a sitter for a few hours. But my husband and I both work from home, so we will trade off watching the kids periodically. It can be exhausting. We are working on this one for sure!
How are you limiting screen time? What are you doing to be more present with your kids? Comment below! I would love to hear from you!