12 Times Parents Need to Focus on Their Kids — and Not on Their Devices — in 2017

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

Parents complain all of the time that their older children are addicted to their phones, but many don't realize how dependent they are on their own devices. Kids pick up what they learn from their parents, and not only could mom or dad's excessive screen time be rubbing off on their kids, but it can also be teaching them that whatever is happening online is more important than them.

It might seem like common sense to put down the phone when your kid is around, especially during opportunities to connect before or after a long day, but a recent study showed that parents are guilty of not being able to unplug. According to a new report from Common Sense Media, parents spend more than nine hours with screen media each day and 82 percent of that time (almost eight hours) is outside of doing work. In case you or someone you know has a tendency to be on the phone or tablet when kids are around, here's a reminder of times when you should be engaging with kiddos and not technology as well as how to make that more realistic.

Ask yourself: Are you guilty of ever being on your phone when . . .?

  1. You're having breakfast with your child.
  2. They're explaining their hopes or concerns for the day.
  3. They're struggling to get their shoes on and out the door.
  4. They walk through the door.
  5. They're telling you about their day.
  6. They're having a snack with you.
  7. They're asking for help with homework.
  8. You're watching a practice, game, or performance.
  9. You're having dinner together.
  10. You're getting them ready for bed.
  11. You're asking them a question.
  12. Pretty much whenever your child is around and it isn't essential to be on your phone.

If the answer is yes to any or all of these, here's how you can make staying unplugged a little easier:

  • Silence It: Put your phone on do not disturb mode for the first hour that you are home with your kids so you don't get sucked into any distractions.
  • Have Blackout Times: Make it a rule that you don't look at your phone until after dinner or the kids are in bed.
  • Keep it Away From Meals: Have everyone in the family turn off their phones or leave all devices in a different room during dinner to prevent any interruptions.
  • Work on Your Work-Life Boundaries: Be clear with work about times that you are offline so you don't feel pressured to constantly check in during those moments.
  • Just Look Up: Make eye contact with your children a priority.
  • Stop Assuming You Can Do It All: Reevaluate the times you need to multitask with the help of technology while the kids are home and work on breaking the cycle to streamline your routine.