Thursday, August 19, 2010

Knowing When to Unplug

Earlier this summer I read a great article in the NY Times about parenting while plugged in . It is a great piece about the impact of parents who talk on their phones, instant message, tweet, facebook all while trying to parent. I was really struck by the piece because I have, like so many other parents, been guilty of doing the very thing I was reading about. I have put my kids on the back burner while answering a tweet or checking email on my blackberry BUT I try not to do that anymore. Reading that article was a bit of a light bulb moment for me. Sad really that I needed an article to make me notice what I was ( or wasn't ) doing with my kids. I now try to make sure that I am not spending a lot of time online while I am with my kids. I am trying to make a distinction between family time and computer time. Sometimes it is work to resist the urge to sit down in front of the computer and start tweeting, checking facebook and email. Or even worse, picking up my blackberry and checking email.

Now to the reason I decided to write this post. On the weekend I took my girls to a great city hosted event, the annual Childrens Festival. It is close to our house, just minutes away. It is free and a great chance to spend some quality time together. It never ceases to amaze me though that so many parents/adults find it so hard to unplug when the are out with their children. Don't get me wrong, I know there are things/calls/emails that just can't wait but do you really need to talk on the phone for 20 or 30 minutes while waiting in line with your children or even worse, while your children are running wild around the park because their parental unit is not paying attention? I get a quick call, or email to deal with the issue and then get back to spending time with your children.

Why is it so hard for us these days to actually unplug and spend quality time with our families. Isn't it more important to actually be focused on our children, to really be PRESENT with our families?  What are your thoughts?