5 Tips for Distraction-Free Parenting

With an average of 10 active devices in the American home, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for parents to be a positive technology role models to their kids. While we can’t deny the conveniences our technology provides, we also can’t ignore the impact they could be having on the relationships with our children. To make sure you aren’t guilty of distraction-free parenting, try to emphasize these tips from Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker, a psychologist and marriage family counselor.

1. Prioritize time with your kids.
“You can do better. Play with your children. Read to them. Cook with them. Go for hikes and bike rides. Visit museums. Time together in the living room with everyone on a different device doesn’t count.”

2. Don’t underestimate your importance.
“32% of kids in a 2015 international study of 6,000 8 to 13-year-olds reported feeling ‘unimportant’ when their parents used their cellphones during meals and other family times. Discipline yourself to ignore the pings.”

3. Make eye contact with your children.
“Eye contact is an act of love. It says, ‘I’m really here with you. I see you.’”

4. Establish media-free time for everyone.
“When parents are engaged with their phones, not their children and each other during meals, everyone is missing important family bonding time.”

5. Take seriously that you are an important role model.
“Your kids interpret anything you do as behavior that is okay with you. If you do it, chances are they will as well.”

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