A smartphone is a mama must-have. What else would keep us entertained during those marathon breastfeeding sessions? (Thank you, Instagram!)
But as we all know, it’s way too easy to wind up spending all of our quality time with baby with our face buried in our screen instead. Between posting on Instagram, responding to e-mails, refining our Amazon wish list, and taking selfies with baby, it can be hard to pocket those hypnotizing gadgets.
Unfortunately, when our babies grow up and nostalgia sets in, we may be left with the feeling that we should have spent more time interacting with baby and less time scrolling through our news feed. So, what’s a Mama to do?
If you are trying to break the tech habit, try these strategies for curbing Facebook so you can face baby instead—
1. Schedule phone-free periods during the day
Or make certain rooms phone-free zones (especially baby’s room).
2. Don’t use your phone for music during playtime.
Music is a great way to stimulate baby’s mind, but the minute you hear that notification ping, you may forget all about your good intentions for quality time with baby.
Instead of using your phone for music, go old school and use a CD or record player if you have one—the quality will be better, anyway! Or you could try a new home device like Alexa to play tunes for your little one without the need for a phone.
3. Set boundaries for yourself by creating a Baby Time folder for playtime apps
If you can’t function without the phone (no judgment here!), you might want to separate helpful apps from ones that suck you in (ahem: Facebook.)
I love Pandora for music, Relax Melodies for soothing ambient noise, or LibriVox for audio books in foreign languages (Gotta get that bilingual brain going!). If the app isn’t in the Baby Time folder, it is off-limits during playtime.
4. Turn off notifications for non-essential apps
Research (and our own experience) shows that many Millennials feel compelled to respond to e-mails as soon as they receive them. (Do you ever notice that twinge you get when you hear the ping of your phone notifying you of a new e-mail?) Save yourself time and sanity by turning off those notifications and checking your e-mail when you have free time away from baby.
5. Once you’ve enjoyed offline time, don’t forget to treat yourself!
The next time baby takes a nap or has playtime with your partner, spend a few minutes on your favorite pastime. Whether it is your phone, TV, computer, or the newest release on your e-reader, a few minutes with your favorite device can give you the boost you need to refocus your attention on baby.
Just remember, no mama is perfect. There will be days when baby will be perfectly contented to play independently while you kick up your feet for some much needed tech time. Even if you slip up on occasion, making the effort will still leave more time for those priceless moments with baby on a day-to-day basis.