Ep-5: Disrupting Distracted Parenting: Presence Over Devices

By | Last Updated: 17 January 2024

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Today, we're tackling a critical topic – 'Disrupting Distracted Parenting: Choosing Presence Over Devices.'

In this episode, I'll dive deep into distracted parenting, why it's a problem, and the consequences on children's development.

But most importantly, we'll explore practical strategies to be more present with our kids in this digital age.

Defining Distracted Parenting:

Let's start by defining distracted parenting.

It's when our devices take precedence over our children, leaving them longing for our attention.

Imagine a scenario: You're engrossed in your smartphone while your child tries to share their day with you.

Maybe your child is watching you engaged in your mobile, and gets annoyed by your act.

This distracted disconnect is more common than we'd like to admit.

The Impact on Child's Development:

Distracted parenting can have profound effects on our children's development.

From cognitive and emotional to social and physical development, the consequences go long term.

Think about how a child's cognitive development is hindered when their questions go unanswered due to our preoccupation with screens.

Let's discuss the Strategies to Be More Present: Let's shift gears and discuss how we can disrupt distracted parenting and prioritize presence.

First, schedule a dedicated time each day to focus solely on your child. No distractions, just quality time.

The Power of Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is key. Be aware of your phone use when you're with your child. Put it away and be fully present in the moment.

Imagine how different your interactions can be when your child sees your undivided attention during playtime.

Engaging Activities and Communication: Engaging in activities that require your full attention is vital. Whether it's playing a game, cooking together, or reading a book, these moments matter.

Picture the joy on your child's face when they have your complete focus during a fun activity.

A few Questions Parents have been asking: To shed more light on this topic, I have been getting a few questions to be answered from parents.

1. How can I tell if I'm being a distracted parent?

Being aware is the first step. Ask yourself if you often find your attention divided between your device and your child during quality time.

Do you frequently check your phone during meals or conversations with your child?

If the answer is yes, you might be a distracted parent.

2. What are the consequences of distracted parenting for my child?

Distracted parenting can impact your child's development.

They might feel neglected, leading to emotions like frustration and loneliness.

Cognitive development can suffer as unanswered questions go unaddressed.

Emotionally, it can lead to a sense of rejection.

Socially, it may affect their ability to form meaningful connections.

3. Physically, it can hinder their motor skills if active playtime is replaced by screen time.

How can I reduce the amount of time I spend on my devices when I'm with my child?

Start by setting boundaries.

Designate specific times for device use and stick to them.

Create phone-free zones in your home, like the dining table.

Consider using apps that track and limit screen time.

When with your child, put your device out of sight to resist the urge to check it.

4. How can I teach my child to be more present?

Lead by example.

Show your child what it means to be present by actively listening when they talk and engaging in activities without distractions.

Encourage mindfulness techniques, like deep breathing, to help them focus.

Encourage face-to-face interactions and set aside quality time together.

5. How can I balance my work and personal life to have more time to spend with my child?

Time management is crucial.

Create a schedule that includes dedicated family time. Set boundaries with work, and communicate your priorities with your employer.

Remember, it's about quality over quantity, so make the most of the time together.

6. What are some activities that I can do with my child that don't require electronic devices?

There are countless possibilities: outdoor adventures, arts and crafts, board games, cooking together, storytelling, and exploring nature.

Consider your child's interests and choose activities that align with their passions.

If your child is over 7 years old, you could ask simple questions, that they won't mind answering.

It could be;

How was your day?

Did you have fun today?

Would you like to share something from your day?

Keep in mind, that open-ended questions are great. And the questions should not be about their friends or any specific events or something they would not want to share.

7. How can I talk to my child about my phone use?

Honesty is key.

Have an open conversation with your child about the importance of being present with them.

Explain that sometimes adults also need to manage their phone use and that it doesn't diminish your love for them.

Be receptive to their feelings and suggestions

8. How can I deal with my guilt, when I feel, I'm not being present enough with my child?

It's normal to experience guilt, but remember that recognizing the issue is a positive step.

Use that guilt as motivation to make positive changes.

Forgive yourself for past distractions and focus on building a more present future with your child.

9. How can I get my partner and other caregivers on the common page about reducing screen time?

Open communication is key.

Discuss your concerns and goals as a family.

Share the benefits of reduced screen time, like stronger connections and improved child development.

Collaborate on strategies and set consistent rules for everyone.

10. Are there resources to learn more about distracted parenting?

There are excellent books like "The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr and "The Tech-Wise Family" by Andy Crouch.

You can join my Facebook Group to keep learning.

Conclusion:

As we wrap up, remember that being present with our children is a conscious choice we make every day.

To summarize, distracted parenting can impact our children's development, but we have the power to change that.

By scheduling device-free time, practicing mindfulness, and engaging fully in activities, we can foster stronger connections with our kids.

Final Thoughts: Thank you for joining us on 'Family Oriented Man.' Remember, children are our greatest treasures.

Let's be present, nurture those connections, and continue to thrive as family-oriented men.

Until next time, choose presence over devices, and cherish every moment with your loved ones.

Santosh Acharya Closeup

Santosh Acharya is a Engineer, Technocrat turned on to Psychology Geek. He is a Proud Family Man, a Husband, a Parent to 2 adults, an obedient Son to my Parent, a Curious, Problem solver, Creator, Coffee Lover, Life-Long learner, Food Maker, Engineer, Psychologist, Marketer. His life took a sharp turn, when his mother asked him, "If you could rethink what you want to do with your life, what could it be." 

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