Unplugging with Children

Unplugging with Children

Guest Post by Angie Williams (daughter of EFC owners Steve and Priscilla and new mom to Abby, who attends EFC Edina/W 70th Street)

Even though my daughter is only 10 months old, I imagine that there are times when she would like to launch a ball at my head to get my attention as I stare down at my phone (some of you may have seen a Windows phone ad depicting just that). I love hanging out with Abby, but I do find myself checking email, Facebook or the weather now and then when we’re together. I think I do this for a few reasons:

  • I must admit, I get bored sometimes. Stacking blocks and singing nursery songs are great, but since Abby can’t give much back in the way of conversation yet, my mind tends to wander after a while and the smart phone, as we all know, provides that instant gratification in terms of a stimulus.
  • Abby is pretty good at entertaining herself, and that’s a good thing. Like any baby her age, she can contentedly bang a plastic lid against the floor for a good 5-10 minutes. Not enough time for me to accomplish any real task, but certainly enough for me to get caught up on all those important status updates!
  • Work calls and I answer. Since I work from home, my boundaries between work and home life are not always clear and there are times when I feel the pull of getting back to a client even when an hour or two delay would not make a difference to anyone.

So, I confess to spending time (too much?) with the phone, and I would like to do better. It is more important for me to develop my relationship with Abby than with my phone – or almost anyone contacting me through it, for that matter. And, for better or worse, I will be an example for her. I would prefer that as a 10 year old at the park she is playing with friends on the slide and not playing Angry Birds on a screen. 

So I am pledging to spend a little less time checking my phone and a little more time engaging with my daughter. I won’t give it up completely, I know that. But I will be more conscious of it when we’re together.

Last week Abby was playing with a toy that plays music when you open a lid. Over and over she would open the lid and, as the music started, look up to see if I was looking back. When she saw that I was, she would smile and we would both rock back and forth (“dance”) and laugh. It was a special moment and I am so glad I had my head up and didn’t miss it.

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