July 07, 2014

put your phone on top of your fridge. a challenge. sort of.

Let me say right off the bat: don't worry- this is not a food challenge. My own lunch started out as spinach salad and digressed to the kid's leftover mac'n'cheese. (Side note: Costco now sells Annies. Something like twelve boxes for thirteen dollars. Don't walk, run.)

Anyway, I'll be up front: the challenge is to put your phone on top of your fridge and to not look at it during the day. Well, not very often.*

For some inexplicable reason, my phone has become a huge source of temptation for my children. They are constantly stealing it off the counter and running away with it. Which they are not allowed to do, making this act what we call "deliberate disobedience". Every once in a while I will be caught up doing dishes or some other task and I will wonder why they have been so quiet. The answer is almost always the same: they have "thieved" my phone and are trying to get it to do something fun.

James has learned which icons go into camera mode, and he is getting oddly good at the "selfie". (I shutter just putting that word in a blog post. No worries, you will never see a hashtag here.) I also have "kid mode", which I used to let him do while I put Eleanor down for a nap. Both he and Elle try to play games in the kid mode quite often if they get a hold of my phone.

The phone itself is not a big temptation for me. (In fact, people often get frustrated with me for not responding quick enough to messages- which I am totally guilty of.) I use it, of course, to make calls, send text messages, answer emails, and take the occasional picture. I like to think of it as nothing more than a tool. I take it with me to the park in case of emergency, but purposely wear a watch so that I won't have to look at my phone to check the time.

However, a strange thing has started to happen. I find myself leaving my phone on the kitchen counter, but checking it several times a day. I don't know what I am hoping to find- maybe a play date offer or an email explaining that I won a cruise sweepstakes that I never entered. The point is, that it is pointless. It's like a nervous habit. I don't carry my phone with me around the house, I don't look things up on it, I don't make lengthy calls, I just check it when I go into the kitchen. And, like all things with small children, I am sure this has not gone unnoticed by my kiddos. They see that I look at my phone, and so they decide there must be something on there worth looking at. Which is the funniest part because, of course, there isn't anything worth looking at.

So I have chosen to place it on top of the fridge, on the side it cannot be reached even if James climbs onto the counter (which I anticipate he will do). I keep it on silent anyway, so it won't make noises that will tempt me to go check it while I am in the middle of playing or art time or even a meal. Out of sight, out of mind, for both my children and myself.

Now, to get to the disclaimers. First off, I don't think cell phones or text messaging, or any of that is a bad thing. But, I don't want my kids to be attached to their phones one day (a long, long time from now when they have phones of their own), and I certainly don't want them to be attached to my phone now. *Second: duh, of course I will check it. Just not often. Every once in a while Lane messages to see how my day is going, or to ask me to bring something to him at work. Sometimes there is a last minute play date opportunity someone may call about or a vitally important email, like overdue library books. But, for the most part, if I check at morning, midday, and evening, that should be plenty.

Third, this is not supposed to be a guilt-inducing challenge. There are always exceptions. You know yourself and your kids. If this would benefit you and your family, then join in. If your phone is not a problem, great. If this post did help you realize that your phone is an issue, I would love to hear about how putting it up affects your family. For us, I just hope it leads to less time-outs.

...Which leads me to disclaimer number four: this is not a post about how naughty my children are. They really are a couple of wonderful kids, who just happen to be interested in Mom's phone.

I would love to hear responses in the comments below!


No comments:

Post a Comment