top of page

The Five Minute Hack

A MicroStep Moment

More people have mobile phones than have toilets. Fun fact.

Research shows that phones are just too hard to ignore. It’s not your fault—it’s dopamine. And let’s face it, with younger kids (and sometimes even older!), the daily drama of our children is not always captivating. Don’t let my kids see this, but in the middle of a feed-clothe-drive-calm-feed-play cycle, plugging into social media reminds us of lives outside children. With older kids especially, I find myself thinking, “Well, they're on their phone so I might as well be, too,” or trying to convince myself, “Well, they prefer their friends at this age.”

The truth is, though, just looking at your phone during a conversation often results in a deterioration of the moment. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

Make a Moment

When we make a choice to look at our phone, the message we give is this text is more important than you. Can you imagine, in the middle of your child telling you a story, saying, “Hold that thought, I’m just going to read two pages in this great novel I started”?

  • “One sec, I just have to tell Adam I’ll be late tomorrow morning.”

  • “Let me just grab this, I’ll help you in a minute.”

  • “Let me just take a quick picture; I’ve got to post this.”

Disconnection is inevitable. Reconnecting is magical. I’m not suggesting that you stare lovingly into your children’s eyes all day long, but periodically projecting that they are more important than your phone is priceless.

  • “I’m so happy you’re home. I’m going to put my phone in the drawer over here; I really want to hear how your day went.”

  • “Oh, I know it’s ringing. But it can wait; I really want to hear the rest of your story.”

  • “Oh yes, I’m expecting that text. It can wait. I’m enjoying being with you.”

Why it works

The tradeoff for the convenience of texting and the fun of social media is reduced human-to-human interactions. Amidst all that digital noise, there's a little voice begging for your attention. Despite what Facebook and Tik Tok want us to believe, true belonging, connection, or simply feeling like we matter requires face-to-face time. Even with our kids. Especially with our kids.

Without beating a dead horse, disconnection is normal and natural, so the significance of that small voice is supreme. Remember, I’m only talking about five minutes. Higher self-esteem and self-confidence are crucial not only for their own sake but also as a key aspect of resilience.Of course, different children will be affected in different ways by their parents' use of technology, but for sensitive kids who are fighting for their parents’ attention, self-esteem or self-respect can plummet if they begin to feel second fiddle. Some kids even give up trying.

Putting aside the phone (did I mention just five minutes?) is one small, excruciating step for you and one giant, feel-good leap for your child.

Your MicroStep

Take a deep breath, put down your phone, and be your child's number one fan. Tuning into five minutes of kindergarten babble might just open the door for them to turn to you with their tween and teen escapades down the road.

bottom of page