We all want to be parents who are more present, more attentive and more attentive. But let's face it, it's hard to do with our phones that buzz, buzz, vibrate and bring us back constantly. Add the attraction of entertaining children's shows and captivating apps, get our kids to unplug them, it's impossible too.
The answer? You just have to unplug. Not all day, but for periods of time. This means leaving all notifications, e-mails and texts on hold. Do not worry. They will be there when you are done with your "unplugged" time.
First of all, start by determining which hours of the day it is best to unplug. Do not prepare for failure. For example, if you usually have children watching TV while you're preparing dinner, keep it that way and keep it as part of your normal routine. We want you to keep your mental health (or at least part of it) throughout this process.
We suggest you cut off the technology and the time spent in front of the screen during the morning routine, when you eat together and during the bedtime routine. Start there, trying to add a dedicated time once you have started.
Here are some tips for success:
Hide your phone: That's right, put your phone physically in another room. Light it in silence. Once out of sight, you will be less likely to check it impulsively every five minutes.
Unplug the TV: In fact, get your hands behind the TV! This little ritual may sound silly, but it will mean that the "unplugged" time has begun, pushing your family to find new creative ways to be entertained.
Turn off Wi-Fi: Unplug your Wi-Fi network while you're there. This will remind you and others that it is time to take a break and be present.
Set the timer: Knowing that "unplugged" time is not forever will help you and your family get there! Start with 30 minutes if it seems like a real fight, and possibly work up to a full hour or even two or three hours.
Unplugging is a good start, but it's not the only way to pay more attention to parents. For more tips and tricks, check out our guide to parenting by minimizing distractions.