Kids vs. Technology: Who Wins Our Attention?

I love my kids more than anything, and I’d be willing to bet you feel the same about yours. We make sure they have clean clothes, lots of toys, healthy meals, and everything else we think they need and deserve. But could we be overlooking a major need?

It’s easy to get caught up in other responsibilities and forget to spend quality time with our kids. And as our lives become more and more dependent on technology, it begs the question: are we ok with how technology influences our parenting?

It’s all too easy to say you’re just checking one email and get sucked down the rabbit hole of social media. I’ve definitely struggled with this a lot more since starting to blog since most of my work is online. When you add in laundry, meals, cleaning, etc., it’s easy to see how the day slips away!

There are distractions out there for all of us. Mine may be different from yours, but the outcome is the same. Our kids get ignored! 

Are Our Kids Acting Out or Begging for Our Attention?

Something I’ve noticed (and read about through studies like this one) is how much better my kids behave when I spend quality time with them. I’m sure we’ve all known someone, child OR adult, that obviously acts in a negative way to get attention. It seems obvious that our kids would do the same, right? After all, whose attention and approval does anyone crave more in the world than that of their parents.

I think it comes down to our connection and feeling “seen”. When Lulu feels connected to me, she naturally wants to cooperate more. If her only experiences that day are seeing me on the phone and then yelling at her to stop misbehaving, it won’t hold as much weight.

More important than the behavior we see, is the feeling behind it. Not having a chunk of undivided attention from parents each day leaves kids feeling unseen and unimportant. I know that’s the last thing any of us want to make our kids feel.

Kids vs. Technology 30 Day Challenge | thegrowingcreatives.com

Now, this isn’t to say we need to devote 100% of our day to focusing on our kids. I truly believe kids need to be bored in order to really get creative. And it’s super healthy for them to be able to entertain themselves. But there has to be a balance!

Desiring to raise independent kids doesn’t mean they live their lives and we live ours. I’ve found what works best for my kids is when I pay attention to them for a bit, then we do independent activities for a bit. They feel loved from our interaction, and therefore behave SO much better afterwards. 

Kids Are Cooler Challenge

Since we’ve established that we need to balance time spent focused on our kids with everything else, how do we make sure to fit that time in each day? Even more so, if we’re fighting a social media addiction (and many of us are!), how do we form new habits?

I’ve come up with a challenge I’m officially dubbing the Kids Are Cooler challenge. I made a 30 day calendar full of simple activities for us to do with our kids each day sans technology.

It’s almost January, so now is the perfect time to plan this out as a New Years resolution! However, I didn’t put a specific month on the calendar because it can be done at any point in the year. You can even start today!

My thinking behind this challenge is that it’s a lot easier to stick to a change when it’s planned out. I have already many times said, ok no phone today! Just to get stuck on it way longer than intended AGAIN. I’d bet that’s happened to a lot of us. So I recommend putting your phone in an entirely different room during this time together. 

Completing the Challenge

The month starts out with shorter activities, only requiring 10 minutes or so. As the month goes on, the activities get more involved or time-consuming. My hope is that as we intentionally spend time with our kids, we remember how much cooler they are than our phones.

Kids vs. Technology 30 Day Challenge | thegrowingcreatives.com

I enjoy my phone, but I wouldn’t die for it, sacrifice sleep and sanity for it, or cry because it learned something new. So why would I want to spend more time with it than my kids? I have no doubt all you mamas think your kids are the bomb, too.

Through this challenge, we can set aside a small part of our day to focus on nothing other than our sweet babies. It will make them feel loved, and it will make us feel more fulfilled as well.

Don’t forget to sign up below to have your own Kids Are Cooler Monthly Challenge sent right to your inbox! Print it out, and cross off activities as you complete them. Do them out-of-order, switch out activities for ones you like more… whatever! Just use it as a reminder and to keep track of the time spent with your kiddos each day. 

In addition to the filled in calendar, I also included an empty to add your own activities! You could even laminate it and reuse for months to come. As a bonus, you’ll also find 20 extra ideas for ways to bond with your kiddos. Just subscribe below for all 3 freebies 😊

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Let’s do this together!

Let’s all build each other up and encourage each other as we go through this challenge! A great place to do that is my new Facebook group, Kids Crafts For Real.

We share the crafts our kids are really making, not the pinterest perfect ones you normally see. All the hilarious, hilariously awful, super sweet, and unbelievably awesome stuff our little weirdos make for us.

Head over there to show us what you and you’re kiddos are up to during your quality time together. I can’t wait to see how much FUN you are having!

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Kids vs. Technology 30 Day Challenge | thegrowingcreatives.com

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44 thoughts on “Kids vs. Technology: Who Wins Our Attention?

  1. So many great ideas! I actually get up at 3-4 in the morning to do my blog work so the kids are not affected. I try to limit my screen time but ugh sometimes I fail epically! I definitely see a change in behaviour when my time is focused on them for example as soon as I answer the phone it is all about needing my full attention. Getting my girls involved in the household tasks that I have to do when we are all home from work and school makes them so much happier, who knew getting them to put laundry or dishes away could make them excited haha. My oldest is usually a bit more challenging she is at the age where she wants to be with her friends or is loving screen time. It can be difficult to get her involved in spending quality time. I will have to try a few of these over the long Christmas break with them all and see how it goes. Thanks for the great ideas!

    1. I so envy you’re ability to get up early to work, I want to do that but it’s super hard for me lol! My kids love helping with household tasks too 😂 just goes to show that they love doing anything as long as it’s with us ya know? And actually when I was writing this post I found specific amounts of time that kids need our undivided attention at different ages- for older kids it was a looooot less. So I’m sure you’re daughter is getting plenty quality time to feel loved!

    1. It’s crazy isn’t it? And it’s not from a lack of desire to be present with our kids. Social media is designed to purposely hold our attention, and unless we are actively saying no I’m staying off the phone right now- it’s so easy to waste way more time on it than we realize!

    1. Yay I’m so glad to hear you’re joining in! It’s definitely something that sneaks up on us before we even realize there might be a problem. I hope you and your kiddos benefit from this challenge!

    1. Right??? That’s how it goes for me all the time. I think I’ll just do one more task for my blog and then put the phone down, and before I know it it’s been an hour and I’m not even working on the blog anymore! Hoping this challenge gives us all an easy way to be more accountable to ourselves 😊

  2. I really do love the concept you have here. Such a great idea especially with the new year approaching. Time to get those resolutions together.

    1. Absolutely! I thought this would be a great time to recommit to being the present parents I know all of us want and intended to be. I just started doing this with my kids as well and have already seen a huge difference!

  3. Everything you said is so true. I’ll never forget the time when my 3 year old daughter told me to put the phone down. I was so embarrassed lol but she has every right! Our kids need our full attention!

    1. Ughh right?? Sometimes when I put my phone down one of my kids will bring it to me and it makes me sad that at their young age they already have a sense that I need it at all times

  4. I once quit an full time online job because my kids needed more time and attention from me. They do tend to get into more trouble when we spend less time with them. There’s something about us giving them time that helps them grow in character.

    1. That’s so amazing you were willing and able to do that because you felt your kids needed it though! I definitely agree that having our undivided attention, for at least part of the day, really changes their behavior and development

    1. They sure are! I think part of the allure of social media is to feel connected to more people at once? But we actually need face to face interaction as well, and our kids need that more than anyone!

  5. You always have the BEST ideas! I struggle with this since starting the blog, too. I block out times when my kids aren’t around and utilize every bit of gym childcare time I can. LOVE #kidsarecooler challenge. Way to help parents remember what really matters outside of that tiny box they shove in their faces all day (me included!)

    1. Thank you friend!! I try to block off time when mine are asleep or busy as well. It can be hard though when you know the more time you put into your blog, the further you’ll get with it. So I have to remind myself that my kids need me more than any of the distractions. We’re all just a work in progress 💪

  6. Love this reminder. We all need accountability and I know I particularly need it in this area as well ever since I started my blog/business. The challenge is genius! Yes!!! #kidsarecooler

    1. I feel ya! Especially when I think about how I started this blog FOR them, to be able to work while staying home with them. And they’re the inspiration behind everything I share on here. So why would I not keep them as my main priorities for how my time is spent?

  7. This is such a great post and such an important message for parents. I definitely notice that when I am not paying attention to my two-year-old, he is more prone to throw tantrums. When I spend quality time with him, he attitude and behavior improves tremendously. Thank for sharing this important message.

    1. It’s crazy how big of a difference it makes in their behavior, but it really makes sense. Quality time spent together is better for both the kids and parents in every way!

  8. It truly is alarming how much technology is put in front of kids. Even despite my efforts as a mom to monitor and control I find that they have screen time at school, at friends, or relatives’ houses. We learned early on the detriment it can cause. Especially since our oldest boy has ADHD and the blue light of the device only amplifies his erratic hyperactive behaviors. I know we hear about it at the peds office but the research should be more readily available to parents so they have the knowledge they need around the topics.

    1. I totally agree about needing the information more readily available. I think there’s definitely an overall feeling put out there that too much screen time is bad. But not enough about WHY specifically it’s not good for them, and I think that’s why a lot of people don’t listen to the advice unfortunately

    1. Aww it’s definitely a fun game for the kiddos! I’m not very good at speeding up the actions haha. I’ll have to work on my skills before the kids get too much older and are better at it lol!

  9. Thank you for this! I was planning on doing something like this starting January, but I love how you’ve organized it. I’m definitely battling the phone addiction. One thing that has helped lately is to turn up my ringer and leave my phone in a central location in the house. That way I’m not worried someone is trying to get a hold of me so I don’t feel the need to check it all the time. I also put a sticky note on it that says “if you check me before ______ o’clock you have to do _____ push-ups.” And a notepad next to it to write down and remember what I “needed” to use my phone for so I can do it later when the kids don’t need me.

  10. So true!
    We have a rule that the first person who goes on their phone at the dinner table has to do the dishes.
    It’s so easy to get distracted … and they grow up so fast!

    1. I love that rule! An extra way to hold everyone accountable. And so true about how fast they grow up- mine are still little and I’m already feeling it!

  11. This is so true especially with multiple kids to give each kids individual “mommy time”. I set a timer for 10-15 minutes and just sit with that kid and do whatever they want. They LOVE it! The amount of time doesn’t matter, they just love having that one on one interaction. Thanks for the reminder, I’ve been slacking on it lately!

    1. That’s so wonderful, Kristin!! You’re so right that the amount of time doesn’t matter that much to them, as long as they know they’re important enough to get our undivided attention!

  12. Omg, this post brought so much reality to me. I find myself constantly on my phone because work and I definitely see how it impacts my parenting and connection with my kids. I have to work on spending that time with my kids like you said and then some independent time. Such an eye opening post. Thanks for this!

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