Why Your Kids Need You To Take A Day Off From Social Media

No social media challenge

The other week we went to visit my family up in Wales, something we only get to do a couple of time a year due to the distance and long car rides with two small children are never fun.

Whilst there it’s a great break for me and the husband. The family are happy to see the boys, the boys are happy to see the family! They can entertain Gray (He’s in a demanding phase) while we can chill on the side-lines, and get a ‘parenting break’ to recharge our batteries.

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Getting some writing time in is always a bonus!

While it was nice to go hands-off on the parenting for a week, this isn’t a luxury we have often, and it reminded me of something that had bothered me recently.

Now that Gray is old enough to know his own mind he has started speaking it too, particularly when he feels he is not getting enough attention. He will in those moments come straight up to you and demand ‘PLAY WITH ME!’

I don’t want to raise a spoilt child so he understands full well he can’t always have his way, sometimes he simply has to be patient or entertain himself, while I feed his baby brother or cook us dinner. But then I had a day not long before going to Wales that was pretty… jarring. 

Due to a bad night’s sleep I was already cranky starting out; I had a full day of tasks ahead and my husband was at work that day, leaving me to deal alone until dinner time.

We didn’t have anywhere to go so it was a stay at home day while cooking, laundry and tidying got caught up. Unfortunately, being tired and cranky I failed to implement my own advice that day, to try to include a little fun using the tricks in my post here.

In the morning Gray asked me to play but I was feeding the baby and had yet to eat myself, so I said ‘later’. Mid-morning, he asked again but I had to put out laundry, so again I said ‘later’. Lunchtime he asked again, but yup, I was making lunch so again I said ‘later’. The day continued this way until finally he asked one last time and I said ‘We can’t, it’s bedtime’.

Now I know what some will say; Yes, I had (for the most part) entirely legitimate excuses. Kids should be able to entertain themselves and learn to play independently. Others will say I should have dropped everything to play no matter what but the truth is, some days we just aren’t perfect and we prioritise the wrong things. This is a very human flaw.

However, what was I doing between these tasks? I was sitting on my phone or tablet because ‘I had earned a break’.

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Now I firmly believe parents deserve some ‘me’ time and should be able to sit down for 5 mins in peace. However, that day each time I had a break Gray had been playing nicely by himself. Looking back on the day later that evening I realised when he had engaged me for attention I had said no every. Single. Time.

I felt like the biggest failure in the world.

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So what if the house was cleaner or more organised now? My baby boy had just spent an entire day playing alone, being rejected and probably feeling completely unwanted and unloved. Even if it hadn’t been as bad as I was imagining, I had never felt like such a failure as a parent.

I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who’s had a day like that and I bet I’m also not the only one who felt even worse by wondering; just how on earth am I supposed to make it right if I couldn’t even recognise it as it was happening?

Don’t worry.

We all have bad days as parents. For every bad day there are a dozen good days, and a couple of excellent days also! It’s just that these bad ones stick out more, because as a good parent, you don’t want them to happen at all.

So here’s my advice from personal experience:

TURN OFF.

Whether you’re having a stay-at-home day or have things to go out and do, whether you’re feeling great or feeling exhausted, there is one sure fire way to avoid one of these bad days. This method will also help you recognise how our days revolve around electronics far more than most realise!

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When you get up in the morning, leave your phone on your bedside table. That’s it! Unless you are expecting a specific call, just leave it behind. Turn off your ipad/tablet/laptop and put them away. Allow yourself a couple of checks for missed calls during the day, but no more than once an hour, and for no longer than five minutes.

When I did this, I found myself feeling happier throughout the day because it was clear Gray was happier. He asked me to play with him and if I had to do a task, I’d say ‘after this task’ rather than the ambiguous ‘later’. Then I actually played. Half the time I just had to sit there while he explained the game he was playing to me, he just wanted me to be present and listen to him.

You are all they want.

Doing this trick every now and then doesn’t just make your kids happy, it can help you unwind, let go of stress or pressure you’ve been subconsciously putting on yourself and see things with a refreshed perspective. This is because you’re detaching yourself from the ‘bigger picture’, removing yourself from your worries about work or family or finance or whatever, because nine times out of ten, if you’re not online or on social media, you won’t be reminded of them.

It also helps you recognise the moments you are missing.

This is a massively helpful thing in my experience. I may not get it right every day, I may still say ‘later’ when I’m tired sometimes, but the more days I detach myself from my devices and focus on what is actually in front of me, the more I am reminded of what is really important.

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Why not come back after you’ve given it a go and comment about how your day went? We parents need to stick together, there is so much tearing down and judging going on all around, lets boost each other up this time, eh?

Hot Pink Wellingtons

Mummascribbles

14 thoughts on “Why Your Kids Need You To Take A Day Off From Social Media”

  1. Weird that you should post about this today-
    I was completing an online survey earlier in the week and it asked how many hours I spent using the internet in an average day. I knew it was more than a couple of hours, but I tried to work it out and with a guilty start realised my laptop is open pretty much all day. If I’m not changing nappies, or preparing meals, or doing some other task, I’m sitting on the sofa, at my laptop, either browsing, online shopping, or on facebook. My laptop is sat out and on for about 12 hours. And for some of that time I’m feeding the baby, so I could allow myself the opportunity to check social media and emails, but I absolutely need to switch off.
    I’m always complaining that I don’t have enough time- to wash up, to clean, to get the washing done, to tidy, to work on projects… or to play. And one the odd days when I don’t get my laptop out, I achieve so much more and my kids are so much happier.
    Thanks for the reminder to be more present.

    1. You’re very welcome! I wrote this almost as a way to hold myself accountable, because i’m very similar, some days I am just glued to screens and it’s really not fair on the little ones xxx

  2. As a new father, I can t wait to take my daughter fishing. On another level, as a public school teacher, I see the opportunity for fishing to teach kids meaningful lessons about life and the world around them. Make it a point to take your kids fishing this summer.

  3. I am often too guilty of doing exactly this, and I tell myself I’ve earned a sit down and then faff on my phone. I am definitely going to give this a go in the next week before my little boy starts school. xx #SharingtheBlogLove

  4. I know that I’m guilty of having my phone in my hand for far too much of the day. Leaving it on the bedside table for a day is great advice – it’s the only way that temptation to check it won’t just creep in. I’m going to try to do this one day this week and see how we go (I’m sure I’ll be checking in during nap time!) Thanks so much for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove – I really hope we see you again next week!
    Katy – Hot Pink Wellingtons recently posted…#SharingtheBlogLove #10My Profile

  5. We can all get caught up in our own agenda and I think there is a difference to saying ‘later’ when you are doing a job around the house to saying ‘later’ when you are just on your phone. If I am on my phone and my girls ask me, I always say ‘yes’ straight away as there is nothing more important on my phone than them. But if I am doing a job then I will reply with a time that I can do it, like after I have just done this or if its my eldest I will let her know we can do it when my youngest is napping. I find that by giving a time that I will do it, makes them feel ok and I always make sure I follow through. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…The Time Before School…The Ordinary MomentsMy Profile

  6. This post is so true. When do we switch off? I have my laptop pretty much on all day long… And when baby is asleep, I am typing on it like a mad woman… My son is still small, only 7 months old but I totally get what you are saying and make sure that I will have the time for him.It’s not spoiling them, it’s showing them love. #TwinklyTuesday

  7. This is something that has been playing on my mind recently, being on maternity leave and obsessed with my blog and blogging often makes me wonder whether Ill look back at this time and wish I’d given more of my time to my little ones rather than my blog. I have an ok balance at the moment, but it could be better. Definitely something to work on I think! Emily #TwinklyTuesday

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