How to spend less time on your phone and more with your kids

Scrolling on phone

So before I begin and you all get the wrong idea, I’m not some old lady stuck in the times of writing letters while listening to a wireless who thinks we should all chuck our smart phones out in the bin. I am, in fact, a child of the 90’s. I got my first phone when I was 12 (the Nokia 3310 of course) and over the years my phone has become like an extra, extremely important limb.

My love for my electronic BFF is causing me not to be present enough in the actual real world around me though. I know I spend too much time scrolling, liking, reading and commenting, even more so now I am a blogger, but it is something that I find quite difficult to keep in check. Something happened the other day that made me realise I need to prise that damn phone out of my own hands and stop staring at that glowing screen. Leo and I were in the library and my little man was playing with the kitchen set in the children’s corner. I was feeling a bit swamped with linky reading so decided to do some commenting while Leo pretended to cook a steak on the toy stove. Suddenly Leo went, ‘Mummy you cook!’ , so I put my phone on the chair, sat on the floor and finished cooking the steak. I looked up at Leo who had climbed up on the chair, grabbed hold of my phone and started tapping away. He looked down at me with my smartphone in hand and said ‘Look Mummy, I’m you!’. He then carried on tapping on my phone, the whole time not looking at me once. I felt awful.

What have I become? Wasting precious time with my boy glued to my phone like some Android addict, getting her kicks from new followers on Twitter and free WiFi? I don’t want to be that person any more, I’m not saying I want to ditch my phone completely, I just want to spend as little time on it as I can – especially in front of Leo. Being a blogger and being constantly on your phone pretty much go hand and hand but I am trying my best to find a balance and only reach for my phone when I actually need to, not just to ease my screen time cravings.

I am sure I am not the only person who feels this way, I can’t be can I? I think if a lot of you are honest with yourselves you would probably admit to spending more time than you are happy with scrolling away on your phone too. So here is my solution, 5 easy little steps you can take to spend less time on your phone and more with your kids.

Watch

1. Wear a watch – Telling the time the old fashioned way is a great way of avoiding unnecessary screen time. Looking at your watch is a much quicker way of finding out the time and, as you’re not on it, you are not going to get distracted by anything going on with your phone. You only wanted to know the time after all, not have a quick nose on Facebook and check your Twitter feed.

Camera

2. Take photos on a camera – I’m not saying you need go out and buy yourself a fancy DSLR camera, although you can if you want to, but by using an actual camera to take pictures you are saving yourself so much time potentially wasted on your phone. It is so easy to snap a picture on your phone, immediately upload in to Instagram and then somehow spend the next 20 minutes scrolling through other peoples profiles and commenting on pictures. If you are using a camera you don’t have this option, easy.

3. Limit your social media time – So this is easier said than done but social media really is the root cause of most peoples eyes-glued-on-phone syndrome. If you need to use social media (which you will if you’re a blogger too), decide how long you’re going to spend on there before you dive in to the never ending feeds of status updates, images, videos and so on. Set your time limit and stick to it. I allow myself to be active on Twitter for about half an hour over breakfast and then again in the evening once Leo is in bed. I will respond to notifications if and when I have chance to during the day but if my phone beeps and I’m busy doing something else, I ignore it. Most things in life are more important than a notification saying someone favourited your last tweet.

Diary Naptime Natter

4. Get organised – This year I have been using a diary properly for the first time in years. I use my diary to keep on track of things going on in my real life as well as in my blogging life too. I plan out my months worth of posts in advance (pretty much) and knowing exactly what I am going to be writing about stops me procrastinating and wasting time when I do sit down to blog. By writing down any upcoming events/family visits/trips away in my diary I am no longer having to waste time searching through old Facebook and WhatsApp messages to find out when and where things are happening, it’s now all jotted down easy for me to find in my diary.

5. Turn your WiFi off – After Leo is done watching his cartoons in the morning (around 9am) I turn the WiFi off on my phone and don’t turn it back on until we have a bit of quiet time in the afternoon or sometimes not until Oli is home from work. It is too tempting to mess around on my phone if I can hear new notifications coming in or the ping of a new Facebook message. I would just turn my phone off but someone might need to call me so it stays on but without any internet, like in the olden days. I am also trying my best not to turn my data on when we are out and about and instead waiting to get my internet fix in the evenings when Leo’s prying eyes are tightly shut as he snoozes in his bed.

There you go, 5 little changes you can make to your life that will help you to spend less time on your phone and more in the real world with your kids. I hope no one feels offended by this, I am not judging anyone who spends a lot of time on their phone. I am simply saying that if, like me, you want to reduce your screen time here is an easy way to do it.

Do you feel like you use your phone too much? Maybe you have found the perfect balance between your online and real life? Please tell me your secret if you have! Are there any other things you do to try and spend less time on your phone?

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64 Comments

  1. June 3, 2016 / 9:26 am

    I can relate to this, especially this week with half term. The times I would normally do linky comments and social media just vanish when I have both my girls. I’ve been grabbing time when I can and really I just want to be with my girls. Great tips X #TheList

    • Wendy
      June 4, 2016 / 12:24 pm

      Thanks :). Yes it is so hard when you have your little ones are with you all the time. I have been doing so much in the evenings lately because I just don’t want my little boy to think it’s normal to be staring at a screen all day xx

  2. June 3, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    This is so good! I’ve seen a few posts about this subject (wrote one myself) – but I think it’s the first time I’ve seen legitimate ways to get around the problem! Nicely done, my husband will love you.
    #TheList

    • Wendy
      June 4, 2016 / 12:35 pm

      Ohh, I will pop over and have a read of your post!I think this is something that lots of us feel guilty about, especially us bloggers. There’s so much to do and it really is difficult to not let doing things on your phone take over your whole day. I am glad your husband will be pleased with this post, haha 🙂 xx

  3. June 4, 2016 / 9:24 am

    I am so guilty of this! I have also switched to a paper diary and paper post scheduler which helps a lot and I try to limit my social media to certain times of the day but I still need to work on this. Thanks for sharing X #thelist

    • Wendy
      June 4, 2016 / 12:37 pm

      It can be really hard to not spend ages on social media, it just sucks you in doesn’t it? I definitely think using a traditional diary helps, the more organised I am the less time I spend procrastinating and wasting time on my phone xx

    • Wendy
      June 5, 2016 / 8:40 pm

      Hi, thanks for popping over Jen! I hope you find these tips useful and manage to ditch the phone a bit more often 🙂 xx

  4. June 5, 2016 / 2:21 am

    These are fantastic suggestions. I definitely have an iPhone addiction especially with the blogging aspect. I find it really difficult to put my phone, computer, iPad down sometimes… something I need to work on for sure. #KCACOLS

    • Wendy
      June 5, 2016 / 8:39 pm

      It is so hard, sometimes I really struggle to put my phone down too. I am really trying to work on it though as I don’t want it to rule my life. Good luck with overcoming your phone addiction :p xx

    • Wendy
      June 5, 2016 / 8:38 pm

      I think I would just cry forever if I smashed my phone, haha. Glad to hear it is possible to live without a phone, even though no one would want to!xx

  5. June 5, 2016 / 10:57 am

    yes I do feel I spend too much time looking at my phone and I am naughty as I have the iwatch which means I even see tweets and Instagram on my wrist (how bad am I?????) But I agree it is great to unplug and focus on ‘real life’! Loved this post!
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…knowing when it is time to let go, & when it’s notMy Profile

    • Wendy
      June 5, 2016 / 8:37 pm

      Oh my goodness, you are just surrounded by technology! Haha, can’t believe you see tweets on your watch! Thanks Mac, I really do think switching off sometimes is really beneficial xx

  6. June 5, 2016 / 11:32 am

    Really fantastic tips, especially your wearing the watch one! I don’t wear a watch and yes I use my phone to check the time and then before I know it I have become distracted by my phone. I need to start wearing a watch! :- ) Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday
    Emma recently posted…Green People Sun Lotion ReviewMy Profile

    • Wendy
      June 5, 2016 / 8:34 pm

      Haha, yes do it! Wearing a watch is definitely the way to go, I only got mine in April and I am already noticing the difference. Thanks for hosting xx

  7. June 5, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    Hi, it is really hard but I agree we do need to limit our time on our phones. I work full time so reserve my commute for social media checking. When I have Cygnet for the day I make a rule of only checking my blog or social media when he is asleep (he is napping as I type). It is a really tough thing to do but so important I think. Good luck. Pen x #KCACOLS
    Pen recently posted…Proud to be a single mumMy Profile

    • Wendy
      June 5, 2016 / 8:32 pm

      It is really hard and is definitely something lots of us struggle with. I think limiting social media time to when your little one is asleep is great, you can give it your full attention then and not feel guilty at all! Thanks for the good luck, I am slowly starting to notice a difference but there is definitely more to be done before I can break my phone addiction for good!xx

  8. June 5, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    I have a very similar post in the pipeline! I’m currently doing my #KCACOLS commenting with my boy on my lap. He’s on the iPad I am on my phone! We are too guilty of it in this house even OH and I barely speak to each other in the evenings because we are glued to our phones…hmm. #KCACOLS

    • Wendy
      June 5, 2016 / 8:26 pm

      Oh I know what that is like, some nights my hubby and I don’t speak at all and then we realise it’s 11pm and we’ve wasted the whole evening. Let me know when you publish your post and I’ll pop over for a read xx

  9. June 5, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    This are all good ideas. I try to limit my social media time as I have to almost schedule it in now, for work. Turning off notifications helps too #KCACOLS

    • Wendy
      June 5, 2016 / 8:25 pm

      Yes, I need to turn notifications off for more of my apps, thanks for the tip! 🙂 xx

  10. June 5, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    Oh my word, I hate to admit that I know what you mean – but I do! My children who are teens and spend a ridiculous amount of time on their phones lecture me – but it is since becoming a blogger – addicted and not proud! Thank you for the tips – will let you know how I get on! #KCACOLS

    • Wendy
      June 5, 2016 / 8:23 pm

      Haha, you must be bad if your teens lecture you! Blogging definitely is responsible for most of my phone time too, there’s always so much to do! Yes, let me know how you get one 🙂 xx

  11. June 5, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    Whenever I leave my phone at home on a day out it’s always really liberating. I’d leave it at home on purpose more but annoyingly they’re sometimes completely necessary! #KCACOLS

    • Wendy
      June 5, 2016 / 8:21 pm

      I know! I wish I could go out without mine but what if there is an emergency or I need to use the Sat Nav?! I know what you mean about thaliberating feeling xx

  12. June 5, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    I definitely like the wearing a watch one. I keep my data/wifi one because I use WhatsApp to keep in touch with the husband but I’m trying to keep my phone upstairs while I’m downstairs. Or in my bag. We “send emails” from laptops which pulls me up often. And we talk on the phones but to each other – it’s his latest game!!! #KCACOLS

    • Wendy
      June 6, 2016 / 9:24 pm

      Ohh that’s a pain, you can’t really get around that one. I sometijmes WhatsApp Oli but most of the time we txt so it doesn’t matter if I turn the wifi off. Leaving the room upstairs is a good idea xx

  13. June 6, 2016 / 6:47 am

    Yes, it’s easy to get sucked into this trap. My tot is pretty good at shoving his face in mine when he’s after some attention and now I use that as a cue to put my phone away for a bit. I’ve also taken to reading books when he’s busy and I’m bored. I’d rather he thought extra reading was normal than extra FB time 🙂

    #fartglitter
    Mama, My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows recently posted…The #FartGlitter Linky: Week Twenty EightMy Profile

    • Wendy
      June 6, 2016 / 9:27 pm

      Haha, my boy just goes ‘no phone!’ if I pick mine up in front of him! I wish I had time for more reading, a much prefer a book to scrolling through Facebook too. I bet you need to be on yours a lot with all your linky commenting!xx

  14. June 6, 2016 / 6:48 am

    These are really, really great tips. I am going to get a watch now (the camera may have to wait a bit). I also try to turn wifi off after about 9am but it’s so easy to slip into ‘forgetting’. Thank you for these – Leo sounds lovely by the way! #fartglitter

    • Wendy
      June 6, 2016 / 9:30 pm

      Aww thanks, he is lovely :). Yes you should definitely get a watch, it’s changed my life haha. I must admit I don’t remember to turn the wifi off everyday, I try my best though. Nice to hear I’m not the only one who does this xx

  15. June 6, 2016 / 6:51 am

    Gosh I relate to this so much! I feel so guilty for the amount of time I am on my phone and have started to put it down in one specific place in the house and leave it there – before I would literally carry it from room to room with me and that’s when the notifications start to whisper to you whilst you’re baking or whatever with the kids. Like you say – my screen time has increased so much since I started blogging. Love your tips – although I couldnt turn the wifi off because my husband works from home and needs the Internet – what I might start doing though is turning the wifi off on my phone instead. Thanks for sharing on #fartglitter

    • Wendy
      June 6, 2016 / 9:33 pm

      Ahh, I guess hubby wouldn’t be too happy if you turned the wifi off while he was working! I carry mine everywhere with me too, trying my best to leave it somewhere else though..this is working better now I know the wifi is off so there’s not much point having it on me anyway. I think so many of us are feeling guilty about our screen time, it’s such a difficult habbit to break. I’m getting there, very slowly!xx

  16. Nige
    June 6, 2016 / 8:06 am

    Yes I do but nowadays I put it in the kitchen and forget about kids time is far more important thanks for sharing #fartglitter

    • Wendy
      June 6, 2016 / 9:22 pm

      Yes, lots of people seem to leave it in a different room as a way of avoided any distractions. Definitely agree time spent with the kids is much more important xx

  17. June 6, 2016 / 2:59 pm

    With the kids being on half term last week I didn’t do as much online as I would normally. If I am on my phone my daughter tells me off, or she is looking through my instagram so I can’t use it anyway lol.
    #KCACOLS
    Ali recently posted…Bournemouth Wheels Festival 2016My Profile

    • Wendy
      June 6, 2016 / 9:09 pm

      haha, I love that you get shouted at by your daughter for being on your phone! I wish mine would shout at me, maybe then I wouldn’t go on it as much xx

  18. June 6, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    This is an issue close to my heart, I wrote about it a while ago (https://yummyblogger.com/2014/09/02/still-addicted-to-my-iphone/)
    I think as a parent the tiredness just makes it so easy to just scroll scroll scroll!
    The thing that works best for me is leaving my phone in a different room at home (I’m not so bad when we’re out and about) you have some other great tips, good luck! #KCACOLS

    • Wendy
      June 6, 2016 / 8:52 pm

      Ohh I am going to pop over and have a read of your post now. Yes I know, it is so easy to waste hours just scrolling away. Leaving the phone in a different room is a great idea, I need to do that more often xx

  19. June 6, 2016 / 8:53 pm

    I loved reading this. At times I’ve often felt like I’m on my phone too much, but I do try really hard not to use it around Taylor. My hubby gets annoyed too – but most of the time it will be because I’m looking at photos or sending a text or email…and yet I still feel guilty about it! I got an actual campera at Christmas and I also keep a separate diary, which has definitely reduced the amount of time I look at it. I love the idea of wearing a watch again. I often put mine on flightmode which stops social media notifications coming through too. Fab post xx #TheList
    Mum in Brum recently posted…Looking for a unique Father’s Day gift?My Profile

    • Wendy
      June 6, 2016 / 9:40 pm

      Aww thanks :). Yes, I really believe that using a paper diary and a camera are great ways of avoiding unnecessary screen time, it’s working brilliantly for me anyway. Ahh don’t worry, my hubby gets annoyed at me too..I don’t think they appreciate how much work goes into blogging do they?! It is hard to not use your phone in front of the kids isn’t it? I think as long as it isn’t getting all your attention and you mostly do it when little one is asleep/somewhere else then we shouldn’t feel too guilty.xx

  20. June 6, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    I’ve really tried to not use my phone much at weekends unless I’m home alone and the kids are out with their Dad. You’re right, it’s so important to be present with our children! #fartglitter

    • Wendy
      June 8, 2016 / 4:10 pm

      That’s a good idea..I never get to be home alone so it’s really difficult. Yes, it really is important to be in the ‘real world’more xx

  21. June 6, 2016 / 11:26 pm

    I’m totally with you on this. I found I was spending too much time with my nose in my phone and I noticed that I would get snappy b/c my children were trying to get my attention. Then I was like, “woah woah… ” Getting a watch is a great idea b/c I do always pick up my phone to check the time and then all of a sudden I’m looking at FB or Twitter. And turning off wifi I should probably do, too. RIght now I just try to leave it in the bathroom. 🙂 #fartglitter

    • Wendy
      June 8, 2016 / 4:11 pm

      I’ve had those moments too so you’re not alone there! Yes a watch really has made a big difference and turning the wifi off. Leaving it in the bathroom is a great idea too 🙂 xx

  22. June 7, 2016 / 10:59 am

    Hi These are such practical ideas, as a blogger i really struggle to limit my screen time thank you for sharisng I have also shared this on my facebook page #anythinggoes

    • Wendy
      June 9, 2016 / 10:52 am

      Aww thank you for sharing on Facebook. It seems too much screen time is an issue lots of us bloggers have xx

  23. June 7, 2016 / 8:03 pm

    Such a fantastic post. And if I’m honest, I spend way too much time too. It’s so hard to switch off from it isn’t it?! But I love these suggestions – I’m going to try them from tomorrow! Especially the Wifi one! #KCACOLS
    Rebecca recently posted…Families are…My Profile

    • Wendy
      June 9, 2016 / 10:50 am

      Oh yay, let me know how you get on! Yep, it is really hard but it’s got to be done sometimes xx

    • Wendy
      June 9, 2016 / 10:54 am

      You are definitely not alone lovely, it seems lots of us are phone addicts. I hope some of these suggestions help a bit 🙂 xx

  24. June 9, 2016 / 5:20 pm

    Fab post and really great tips to help those who feel it is a problem, I am sort of on the fence. I totally agree that extremes of this situation would be awful, but you know what checking my phone , gives me a tiny breaking the days which can be quite challenging and I don’t really want to feel bad about that anymore. Really great post. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…’10 Things That Make Me Me’ – #VlogStarsMy Profile

    • Wendy
      June 9, 2016 / 8:10 pm

      Thanks Aby. I don’t think you need to feel bad at all, it’s about doing whatever you’re happy with. I was just feeling like I was letting my phone take over my life and really needed a change. Thanks for hosting xx

  25. June 9, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    I have been making a real effort to not spend so much time on my phone around the kids. I will still check in on emails and stuff but try and not get dragged in for too long. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

    • Wendy
      June 9, 2016 / 8:12 pm

      That’s a good way to be I think, there’s no problem in checking as long as you don’t end up wasting half the day on it. There are some things that need attention straight away and can’t wait until the kids are in bed aren’t there? Thanks for hosting xx

  26. June 10, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    Some really good tips here, thank you. I might try switching off my wifi for a few hours tomorrow! I want to make the most of my time with my daughter. #anythinggoes

    • Wendy
      June 11, 2016 / 2:46 pm

      Yes, you should do it! I love a bit of no wi fi time xx

  27. June 11, 2016 / 3:07 pm

    It’s getting more and more difficult to switch off entirely and forget about technologies. I hate my everyday life being dictated by the small device in my hands, and yet sometimes it happens. I totally agree with you, we still could find ways to reduce the time we spend on the phone and give it to our family instead. Lovely post. #AnythingGoes
    Marina recently posted…Motherhood Means Fears TooMy Profile

    • Wendy
      June 11, 2016 / 9:50 pm

      Aww that is so true, our phones are ruling our lives aren’t they?It is so good to take back a bit of control and ditch the phone and focus on the family.xx

  28. June 11, 2016 / 11:29 pm

    I was quite religious about not taking my phone out when I only had Big F. He used to sleep 2-3 hours during the day, so I had plenty of time to catch up on social media. Now that he no longer sleeps during the day and that I have a second baby it’s much harder to avoid being seen with the phone. My child-free moments are so scarce. I only have evenings and I prefer to write my posts and do any longer blogging jobs, rather than get lost in social.
    I am willing to slow down my blogging life until Big F goes to nursery. It’s not easy though…
    #thelist

    • Wendy
      June 16, 2016 / 3:25 pm

      Ohh I know how you feel, my boy has stopped napping now too and it’s impossible not to get caught with my phone in my hand. Trying my best, like you, to not be on it as much. Soon the kids will be in school and there will be all the time in the world to blog!xx

  29. June 17, 2016 / 9:35 pm

    Great advice with some practical tips thank you! I think we are all guilty of it and we all need to make much more of an effort to unplug or stay away from the phone when with our kids or family. #TheList x

    • Wendy
      June 22, 2016 / 5:23 pm

      Yes I think you are right there, we are all a bit addicted to our phones. It is hard to switch off but sometimes we really need to xx

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