Make eye contact
A few days ago, I saw a couple of young girls get off the school bus, which was met by their father. As girls tend to do, they both started talking to their dad as soon as their feet hit the pavement. The dad never took his eyes off his phone (or perhaps slightly). He simply put his hand on the girl’s heads to gently guide them in the direction he wanted to go, while still looking at his phone. I did not see him speak a word or make eye contact with his daughters as they strolled off down the sidewalk.
Yesterday, I witnessed two parents in the waiting room of a dentist’s office. Both had their phones out. Their child came out, after getting his teeth cleaned. The mom looked up and said a few words. The dad gave the boy a brief hug. As the youngster tried to talk to his parents, they both went back to their phones. He defaulted to bouncing a superball around the office.
I recently saw a video about the power of attention. If I could remember where I saw it, I’d share it here, but… yeah.
I do recall the content, though. The presenter was talking about people constantly looking at their cell phones.
What are you telling the person with you about how important they are when you are constantly looking at your phone?
Do you think they feel important? Would you feel important if you were sitting with someone whose face was constantly on their phone? I would guess not.
How about if someone has their phone in their pocket, but pulls it out every time it makes a noise? How important would you feel then?
If the phone was on a table, not being looked at, not making noise, but available to check at a moment’s notice? That’s better, but the message is still, “If I need to look at my phone, I will.”
Let’s change our frame of reference to a child. How do you think a child feels when they can see that your phone takes priority over them? Talk about taking a hit to the ol’ self-esteem!
Children are important, they are the future leaders of the free world. Children deserve our full attention, especially when they want to talk to you. There will be plenty of years (the teen years) that they won’t want to talk to you. Take advantage of the opportunities while you can. Put your phone away and make eye contact with your child.