October 2, 2014

Get Real: My children will learn to give eye contact

One of my pet peeves is when someone is using a cell phone at the check out or in the drive through or even sitting at a table in a restaurant.  I believe that Miss Manners would be appalled!
 We can't put aside a phone call or wait 5 min to make a call while we check out with our groceries or pay for our coffee order?  Well today I witnessed an unintended result of our over-phoned society.

The situation was this: I was in a waiting room at the pediatric dentist when a father and his 15 year old daughter walked in.  She never looked up from her phone and had her earbuds in her ears.  I watched as she could barely walk to an empty seat while staring at her phone.  The father pulled out his computer and a phone and started to work and make a phone call that was obviously business related.  The hygienist came out calling a name that nobody responded to.  After a few moments the man raised his hand while continuing his conversation.  The daughter stood up, still looking at her phone and not removing her earbuds.  The hygienist and daughter stood there, a little awkwardly, waiting for his phone call to be completed.  The hygienist then spoke to the father, while the daughter stood there doing something on her phone.  Then the hygienist started toward the door but had to back up and touch the girls arm to get her to move, she still did not look up.  Then she proceeded to pass the door that the hygienist had opened for her to enter.  The entire time, I never saw the girl look up from her phone!

So I have a new initiative in my house.  My kids will learn to put the phone down, and make eye contact.  We already have pretty strict expectations on all electronics.  Some may feel we are too strict.  We require that all chores have to be completed before they get their daily 30 minutes.  That is it.  We don't sit on phones in the waiting room or at restaurants or while purchasing coffee.  But my girls do tend to be shy so I think we need to work on the eye contact thing.  After what I saw today, I am sure that doing so will give them an advantaged over much of their generation.

How do you keep your kids eyes on the world around them and off their phones?