Step away from the technology!
Sometimes I feel like my entire day is spent giving attention to our three little people. Not just the mundane stuff like cleaning up the constant mess (how do they make so much) and cooking (I say cooking, in my case more like heating up that which GBK has made previously) but playing, reading, transporting, talking. We spent so much time teaching and encouraging them to talk and now one in particular just doesn’t stop – ever. However, I read recently that 15 mins with your full attention can be more rewarding for both parties than a full morning with only 50% (or less I guess).
“Hmm, this doesn’t apply to me” I thought, “I have the opposite issue with giving out too much of my attention”.
Which would probably be true if it weren’t for the small handheld device which appears to have attached itself to my hand. I didn’t think I was that bad (I still don’t – true denial) but today I tested out the theory on attention.
I realised that whilst we were playing Lego this morning I was also listening to Desert Island Discs and at one point got up to turn it up because I couldn’t hear (it was Jo Malone – gosh what an interesting and inspiring woman).
Whilst feeding Hettie I was researching bunk beds on the iPad and suddenly realised that this meant I hadn’t looked into her eyes as much as I perhaps would have done prior to this technology thing. She smiled at me and dropped my boob out of her mouth. It made me laugh that she has started doing this (bunk beds can wait).
Whilst we were doing some messy play I was constantly trying to get a good picture (step away from the technology).
We have a rule in our house that there are no phones at the table during meals. Worryingly Mabel and Wilf have both had to enforce the rule recently and although we think there are valid reasons –
“I am just checking the weather to see if we can go out later” I reply guiltily to our 3 year old – really this could and should wait.
When they are teenagers and reply,
“I’m just checking the weather to see what I should wear later” I can’t see that going down well.
So full attention really means full attention. No phones, no TV, no radio, no washing up at the same time because it really needs to be done.
I’m not being particularly hard on myself here, of course there is nothing wrong with listening to music, but actually I could probably listen easier if I segmented my time a little better. For this 15 minutes play I am actually listening, actually playing and enjoying it. Then whilst I then tidy round or whatever I can listen to whatever I want and not feel guilty about being clear with them that my attention is elsewhere for a short while.
I am also really conscious of what we are teaching them by looking at our phone so often, aside from the fact that the thing in our hand is so important. I really don’t want to sound ancient and am generally in awe of how amazing technology can be but not at the expense of living in the here and now.
At least for 20 minutes out of the day.