The Benefits & Challenges of Unplugging

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There is a new rule at our house. I am the only one affected by this rule, which is okay as I am also the author and enforcer of it.

It's simple. If I am with Troy, my phone is turned off. Doesn't sound like a big deal right? Makes perfect sense and shouldn't be difficult... but it's astonishing how often I reach for my phone throughout the day. It's become my hard drive and my mental crutch. (Who was the actor in that movie? Google. Where is this restaurant? Google. What did Obama actually say about bayonets? Google.)

Not just that, but Troy liked the phone for other reasons. He liked videos of what he calls "Bah Pooh" (Winnie the Pooh) and Thomas, but now Mama says, "No, we don't want to watch those. Let's play with your Duplos instead."

Physical Notifications

Turning the phone off forces me to take an even more active role in parenting. If you had asked me before, I would have told you that I was a very active and engaged parent. We danced in his room, played with his farm animals, discussed the alphabet ad nauseum... all the while with the phone in pocket, buzzing every time someone posted on Facebook or texted me about their day... and every buzz caused a pause in playtime as Mommy checked, read and often responded to others.

Those seconds spent checking the phone for this or that add up and you never realize how much time you spend distracted until the distraction is removed. I've been astonished at how many times I catch myself reaching for a phone that isn't there.

I hope giving those seconds and minutes back to my son will result in a deeper bond and a more confident child, but even if they don't, they have increased our laughter factor as Mommy spends more time tickling, spinning and kissing bellies and less time surfing the web while Troy is awake.

 

Photo Credit: johanl.

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