What is the most important thing when interacting with our children? What we say? How we act? Our facial expressions? How about if we have a mobile phone glued to our hands and in our children’s faces?
I recently went to a Halloween party with my 2 nieces (who are 1 and 3). As the music was playing and the children were dancing, I looked around the room to see almost every adult with a phone in their hand; either looking down at it, ignoring their children, or taking photo’s with it.
Now, you may think It’s nice to want to have photo’s of our children at events. But what do the children see? Do they know we are wanting to save the moment to share with our families and friends? Or do they just see a metal, lifeless object being shoved in their faces? Do they see the fact that we want to capture their abilities and talents? Or do they feel pressure being judged and monitored all the time?
Don’t get me wrong, I was one of these adults, too! I can sort of look through my phone whilst taking videos and photos, and somehow forget that the children just want to see our faces. Maybe my nieces would’ve liked it if I danced with them, but I was too occupied with getting good photo’s for social media. The interactions would’ve been so much more valuable if I’d have just PUT THE PHONE DOWN!
And maybe it forces our children to act differently? I know from experience that if we are playing or interacting with children very closely, they act differently. They seem to shy away from instinct and spontaneity when you are next to them and only freely explore when they are away from adults and interruptions. Maybe knowing that their every moment is being captured makes them shy away from their true selves?
Some research shows that in communication, words account for 7%, the tone of your voice accounts for 33% and body language accounts for 55%! So what does this really say if we are constantly looking at our phones. Does it send a message that our phones are more important? That we value them more than our children?
I hope our children know that we still love, value and cherish them, just maybe they would realise it a little more if we spent less time on our phones and more time looking into our children’s eyes.