Weaning Kids from the E-pacifier

by Esther Feng

"Mom, I’m bored!" My daughter tugs at my arm. I silently pass her my smartphone.

Whenever an errand or a social situation is even slightly boring, my kids look for my phone. Compared to the finger-swiping thrills of Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds, the real world just isn’t all that interesting.

So I’m trying to wean my kids off of their "e-pacifier." Lately that means telling interesting little stories about people we visit, giving them something to talk about, or finding ways they can help when I need to run an errand or buy groceries. I also show them my less busy, people-focused side by not being tethered to my phone as often. That way, I can help my kids face boring or awkward situations head on.

It’s still sometimes tempting to use the phone as a distraction, but minimizing its use can help my children develop a healthier relationship with technology –  and with other people.

This article appeared in the March/April 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2012 by Esther Feng. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.