Knowing When to Unplug

A while back I read a great article in the NY Times about parenting while plugged in . It  hit home with me since so many of us, including me, are so plugged into to our technology. That article was from back in 2010 and there have been many more articles written about our plugged in life, including our need to always online, even email.
 It is a great piece about the impact of parents who talk on their phones, instant message, Tweet, Facebook all while trying to parent. I was really struck by the piece because I have, like so many other parents, been guilty of doing the very thing I was reading about. I have to admit I have put my kids on the back burner while answering a tweet or checking email. Reading that article was a bit of a light bulb moment for me. Sad really that I needed an article to make me notice what I was ( or wasn’t ) doing with my kids. I now try to make sure that I am not spending a lot of time online while I am with my kids. I am trying to make a distinction between family time and computer time. Sometimes it is work to resist the urge to sit down in front of the computer and start tweeting, checking Facebook and email.
Here is the one issue, my iPhone. Having social media and email on my phone makes it even more accessible and so much easier to hop online and fall down that rabbit hole. I am guilty of checking email or Facebook notifications while out with the kids. The kids are often at me for being on my phone too much. Know the feeling?
Do you have a problem parenting unplugged?
Here are a few ways I am working to limit my computer/phone time while having family time.
1. Leave The Laptop Closed
For me it if it is out of sight, out of mind. If my laptop is open it is much more tempting to hop on and check email or Facebook. If I leave the laptop closed, or even in my laptop sleeve, I am less likely to be tempted.
2. Turn Off Notifications
Turning off notifications for social media on my phone helps lessen the temptation to check Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Notifications are designed to draw your attention back online. When I don’t know people are hitting me up on social I won’t feel the drive to check it all day long.
3. Put On Limitations
This one is easier said than done BUT it is necessary.  Setting limits on when I check email and social (on my computer and phone) is a good thing. It allows me to have more family time. Not only is it good for family time, it is also good for my mental health. It is not healthy to be checking email and social and being online so much. It also sets a good example for my kids when it comes to screen time.
OK, I am not saying I am perfect when it comes to unplugging. It is hard. Every day is a work in progress, that’s for sure. The key here is that I am aware of it every single day and work to be more focused.

Why is it so hard for us these days to actually unplug and spend quality time with our families. Isn’t it more important to actually be focused on our children, to really be PRESENT with our families?

How do you unplug? Have other tips to help?

Author: imfreckles