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Between our computers, smartphones, tablets, and TVs, we are constantly plugged in.
It’s hard to imagine life without technology at this point.
But the truth is that many of us grew up with very limited access to technology.
Having a day without technology for many of us as kids was the norm.
Now it’s hard for us to put the phone down and have an unplugged focus on the family right in front of us.
Without meaning to, we can find ourselves losing hours of our day to Instagram and Netflix (not to mention Facebook)!
When we finally get the downtime to play with our kids, we can sometimes find it hard to completely disconnect from technology to reconnect with each other.
Related: Parenting with the Magic Number 5
What are the Benefits of Unplugging Yourself
The internet and technology are amazing tools. But, they can become distractions and so quickly gobble up precious time.
Let’s face it, we carry mini computers around in our pockets and purses constantly.
And while the internet has created amazing ways for us to stay connected to others by technology, often the internet disconnects us from those right next to us.
An interesting study was done recently that found just having a smart phone in the same room lowers concentration.
So, even if you’re TRYING to pay attention to the people right in front of you, your brain is having to actively remind you to put the phone down and leave it there…scary, right?
And the truth is, we miss out on so much when we’re looking at a device – facial expressions, social cues, most of what’s going on around us.
The effects of technology on the brain are many with possibly even more that are unknown.
But we do know it decreases attention span, distracts us, and has addictive properties.
So many of us are feeling disconnected from people around us.
More and more of us are looking for ways to unplug from technology.
You may see ‘Facebook Fast’ posts with an email address or phone number where the person can be reached while they’re on digital detox.
Moms and Technology
More and more moms are heading to social media for help with parenting, product recommendations, and to find their village.
On average, moms are spending about 4 hours a day plugged in and much of that time is on social media.
Stay at home moms often are lonely spending 9+ hours a day isolated from other adults.
Social media is a great way for these moms to interact with adults, find a tribe of like-minded parents, and get support from other mothers.
Working moms often feel like they need (or are expected) to stay plugged in to work.
This is especially true when they need to stay home with a sick child or their childcare falls through.
They are also looking for support from other moms and help with parenting from online.
So, how to unplug moms that find their social and work needs require a certain amount of time being plugged in?
First, we need to begin by understanding that technology, devices, and the internet have many benefits that improve our lives as mothers.
Never before have we had so much information, data, and access to social support from around the world to help us in our mothering.
Then we need to also understand that these benefits also have downsides.
Like missing out on time with our family because we are connected.
Or passing up opportunities to meet other moms in our community because we are focusing on a virtual community.
So, let’s use technology to give us the greatest benefits while minimizing the drawbacks.
Part of that is taking some time every day to unplug and taking control of our devices.
So, if you’re looking to unplug every day, or even just feel more in control of your device usage, here’s how to unplug.
How to Unplug Yourself
Out of sight, out of mind
If you are struggling to put the phone down, or stay off Facebook while you’re with your kids, move it out of sight.
Put your phone in another room, just make sure the ringer is loud enough that you can hear it if you’re expecting a call.
Otherwise, set it to do not disturb or vibrate so that you aren’t distracted wondering what new notification is coming in.
If you can reach your phone, it’s too close and will be much harder to resist.
Your text messages and social media notifications can wait until later.
If you’re trying to have family unplugged time, I love this unplug box.
Look for activities that don’t require devices
Plan activities that can’t be done with a phone in your hand or where phones aren’t allowed like this fun scavenger hunt.
Going outside for a game of tag or heading to a museum are great ways to connect with your kids while disconnecting from technology.
Leave the phone in the glove box of your car if it’s just too tempting.
Set a time each day to be device free
When the end of the day rolls around, at least make the last few hours before bedtime a device-free time, you can use a simple outlet timer to shut off your router automatically every day at a certain time.
Put your phone in the bedroom and spend time with your kids.
By carving out this time each day to focus away from your screen and on your family, you will have intentional time with them every single day.
You may even find you sleep better.
The blue light from devices suppresses melatonin which helps you fall asleep.
Need some extra help unplugging from technology?
If you struggle with how to stay off your phone, try the Freedom app which will disable your internet on your phone for a set amount of time.
Save your plugged in time for when the kids are in bed
If you are struggling to find a balance, try saving your screen time for when the kids are asleep!
This is a great way to make sure when your kids are awake, you are present and there with them.
Often, kids react to technology negatively when we’re staring at the screen instead of connecting with them.
Head off some negative behavior by giving them the attention and presence they need and want.
You can read some reasons behind this in many gentle parenting books.
Give yourself time after the kids are in bed to scroll aimlessly through Twitter and Instagram without the guilt.
Set a time limit for the use of devices for yourself too
We are all focused on how much time our children spend in front of the screen, but what about us?
It’s just as important to set a time limit for yourself as it is for your kids.
Even if your kids are sleeping while you’re surfing.
You are in control of how much screen time you get each day, but make sure you stick to it.
Evaluate how much time you are spending on your devices.
Set a time limit for how much time you want to spend “plugged in.”
The amount of time you’re spending on your devices may surprise you.
The best way to decrease your plugged in time is to start slow.
Decrease by about 15 minutes every few days until you get to your goal.
Finding a life balance is hard
Unplugging isn’t exactly an easy task, especially when you’re a mom.
If you’re working and have a need to plug in regularly or at home with your kids and need connection to other moms, we all get the same 24 hours.
How much time you choose to spend in front of a screen can make a big difference in your relationships.
You may find that you were missing out on moments that you can’t get back.
Ultimately, this is the biggest reason to go unplugged.
Our kids are only kids for a short time – that text and social media notification will still be there.
So, let’s unplug and start reconnecting with our families.
Let’s be present so we can savor those moments that’ll pass so quickly.
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