2. Be Transparent About Your Media Use.
Because of the Look Up Challenge, I now simply tell my
children what I’m doing when I’m looking at my phone. This
way I’m conveying to them that I’m not choosing my phone
over them or ignoring them. This one has been great for my
kids, because they feel like they are a part of my daily interactions and they understand why I am on my phone. I just let
them know when I need to text daddy, check my email, look
up a recipe, make an important phone call, pay a bill, etc. This
really limited my passive phone use around my kids while
making them feel more included in my life.
3. Customize Your Phone Notifications to Your Advantage.
I’ve discovered that tweaking certain phone settings helps
me to be present at important times of the day, such as turning off notifications, removing previews, and disabling sounds
for apps. I’ve found this to be really effective—just make sure
you customize your notifications in a way that will work best
for you and your family. My family’s favorite quick-and-easy
change was to set a Do Not Disturb schedule for family time
on each of our phones every evening from 5–7 p.m. (go to
Settings > Do Not Disturb). This silences our texts and notifications, but we do allow calls from our Favorites list and any
repeated callers (in case of an emergency).
4. Stop Looking Through a Viewfinder.
An amazing lesson I learned is to be in the moment instead
of always looking for a cute photo to share on social media. If
you really think about it, are we really present to our children
during their big events or are we looking at them through a
phone screen? Will our children one day wonder if everything
worth celebrating about them is in the phone? Next time a
big event, such as a recital, holiday, or birthday occurs in your
child’s life, make a list of the pictures and videos that you re-
ally want, get them, and then put your phone away and enjoy
the moment and be fully present with your child.
After my seven-day digital detox, I felt a little bit of parental
guilt for not assessing my media use earlier in my children’s
lives. I saw what a difference it made in just a week! My toddler’s defiance had decreased, and I really did feel like I was
getting a lot more quality time with my kids. So, here is the
good news. No kid is ever ruined. Any behavior modification
by a parent or caregiver that starts with putting your phone
down and looking your kids in the eye is beneficial and worthwhile. I’ve learned that it can be as simple as pulling out some
books and taking that extra, uninterrupted time to reap all the
great benefits of being truly attuned to your child. As Penry
says: “Parents act as mirrors for their children. Children learn
who they are in the reflection of another person’s watchful
Briana Dicks is the proud mother of two fiery little girls. She is an advocate for
happiness, reading, healthy living, and truth-telling.