Congratulations to Adam Welcome! Read his winning essay below!
“Dad, you’re on your phone a lot lately, probably too much actually”
My five year old daughter doesn’t miss a beat, she can tell I’ve been overly wired lately and I haven’t been as sly with my digital life the past couple weeks. Her and my three year old son aren’t shy about keeping me in check!
Maintaining digital balance as a dad is super hard and yet so important!
I’m a husband – a father – I run three marathons a year – just wrote a book – just finished my sixth year as an Elementary Principal and am very connected to our digital world. How are we supposed to balance it all, stay sane and be a model for our kids?
It’s also really important to be honest with my kids. After my daughter made the comment I talked with her and my son about why I’ve been on my phone much more lately. The release of my book has kept me busy with our social media interactions and both kids were very aware while I was even writing the book. Explaining to them that it’s not forever, this is just a busier time and pretty soon we’ll all have some recharge time with a family vacation.
First thing to remember on a daily basis is to not try and do it all. There was a time when I felt obligated to answer/respond/like every social media interaction that came my way. Letting go of that ‘obligation’ is hugely important. What’s more important is authentic interactions during your work day and when you come home to the family!
There’s nothing more important than building memories with your child. Being in the moment experiencing the ocean, playing at the park, reading books together, watching the Warriors game or even grocery shopping together.
A few ideas that have worked for me:
– I use to turn email off on my phone when I left work each day. Now I don’t have my work email on my phone at all – talk about refreshing and I haven’t missed a thing at work! Give it a try.
– Leaving my phone at home when I go grocery shopping. Small moments of tech-free living is refreshing and allows you great conversation time about healthy eating and shopping with your kids. Even if you don’t bring your kids to the store, it’s a nice break and you’ll notice so much more in your surroundings if your phone isn’t there as a distraction.
– Put your phone in a drawer at home for a few hours, if it’s not out you can’t check it!
– Turning it completely off for an entire day twice a month – this is the best. Like turn your phone off when you wake up and don’t turn it on until you wake up again the next morning. Give it a try!
– Whenever my kids go to a birthday party at the park, I always leave the phone in my car. If you really want to bring it along for photos, put it on airplane mode so you won’t have any disruptions.
It’s also really important to compartmentalize your digital life. I’m a HUGE believer that work should happen at work. I’m at work for well over eight hours a day and when I’m home it’s family time and when the kids are in bed then it’s personal digital time. Being a ‘hard worker’ is much more sustainable and impactful than being a workaholic.
Don’t let your digital life take over, it’s easy for it to happen. Harness all the amazing that is out there with technology in our world, but please remember to enjoy a break and face to face conversation. Your kids deserve it and so do you!
Adam has worked in public education for 14 years and just finished his sixth year as an Elementary Principal. Next year he’ll be transitioning to a new position as Director of Innovation and Technology. He has two young children (five and three) and a wonderful wife who is not only a life partner but also running buddy each week! Adam is the co-author of Kids Deserve It and blogs on a regular basis for different publications.
Connect with Adam:
Twitter – @awelcome
Insta – @mrwelcome
Blog – adamwelcome.blogspot.com
Book – kidsdeserveit.com