Do you want to put aside everyday distractions and carve out intentional time with your kids, but your phone keeps getting in the way of being fully present? Me too, mama! Learn how to create distraction free time with your kids, plus get the full tutorial to make a DIY phone box to help make mindlessly grabbing for your phone a thing of the past.
Ready for a really honest, vulnerable and raw confession? I often choose my phone over my kids. Ugh. It breaks my heart to even type out those words, but sometimes the ugly reality has to come out so real heart change can happen. I daily struggle and fail with finding the balance between being on my phone and setting it aside to be fully present. Somehow in the middle of my messy ordinary days of motherhood the lure of that bright screen cunningly begs me to scroll away seconds, minutes, and hours with the promise of joy, validation, and escape and then leaves me feeling empty, agitated, and totally distracted from the real life people in front of me.
But it doesn’t have to end there. Today is a new day. A fresh opportunity to choose living present instead of distracted. I’m calling out the big fat lie that living distracted is better and declaring truth that our lives are way to beautiful to miss. Since I’m pretty certain that I’m not alone in desiring to be a more present mama, today I’m sharing a few tips and tools to create distraction free time with your kids and an easy tutorial for a put your phone away box.
So here’s the million dollar question. How do we disconnect from the to do list, phone buzzing, and the constant noise of the world so that we can connect with our kids? While there’s no one size fits all answer and it’s definitely going to look different for each of us, here’s some steps that I’m taking:
- Recognize that you’re distracted. True heart change starts by acknowledging that there’s a problem.
- Make a verbal commitment to set aside your phone, to do list, etc. so that you can connect with your kids. Communicate this out loud to your kids, spouse, friends so that they can help hold you accountable.
- Create intentional pockets of time to check your email or interact on social media. Scheduling planned ‘connected times’ will help you be more intentional and effective, especially if you consider ahead of time your purpose for logging into your inbox or hopping on Instagram.
- Come up with a list of simple ways you can connect. Use this list as an idea bank for easy ways to spend time together throughout the day. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or fancy, but it’s helpful to have some tried and true ideas on hand.
- Put your phone, computer, and to do list out of sight. I don’t know about you, but when I can see my list I’m more likely to begin checking off all the to-do’s. When I see my phone, it’s a lot easier for me to begin scrolling. Carve out time to put it all away.
Like I mentioned, sometimes the difference between being distracted and choosing your people is simply having your phone out of sight—enter the put the phone away box. After stumbling upon and devouring Make It Happen a few years ago, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Making Things Happen Conference. (I could go on and on about how amazing it was—highly recommend it!)
The heart change that happened there is a whole different post for a different day, but one of the things I loved the most was how each day we placed our cell phones in a decorated box so that we could dig deep without any distractions. While I am going to be the first to admit that a box isn’t going to magically change the real heart issue behind choosing phones over real life people, it’s definitely a tool that has been so helpful in my own life.
Something about the physical act of putting my phone in a box stuck with me in such a profound way that recently I created one in my own house. Here’s how you can easily make one too!
How to Create a Put the Phone Away DIY Cell Phone Box
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Step One: Find a Box
It doesn’t have to be fancy. Grab any old box from around your house. Shoe boxes work great!
Step Two: Cut a Hole in the Top of the Box
Use scissors to cut a rectangle in the lid of the box. Make sure that it’s large enough to fit your phone through.
Step Three: Decorate
Use construction paper, wrapping paper, washi tape or whatever supplies you have on hand to decorate your box. You can also download the ‘My Life is Too Beautiful to Miss’ print below and attach it to your box. I love seeing this reminder every time I put my phone in the box or take it out.
Click the button below to download the “My Life is Too Beautiful to Miss” print.
Step Four: Find a Home for Your Phone Free Box
Our box is located in a kitchen cabinet, but choose a spot that is the most logical for you.
Step Five: Create Designated Time(s) to Put Your Phone Away
Creating designated times to away the phone each day creates space for true connection with your family. You don’t have to put your phone in the box all day everyday. Although, when you experience the freedom of not having your phone attached to your hip, you just might want to.
I don’t always get it right. I don’t. But I am starting to see that my days are made up of a million little choices—choices to grasp the things that really matter or let them slip through my busy fingers. With the kitchen in disarray and a hundred things to do I choose my child. Because I still can. Today my child stands before me wanting, needing, and hoping to be chosen. Tomorrow might be different. [Rachel Macy Stafford, Only Love Today]
I’m making a choice to say no to my phone more often so that I can say YES to the people that matter the most. I don’t want to miss my crazy beautiful life because I’m distracted. I don’t want to always see the moments of my day through my phone. Today is a new day, a fresh start, a beginning of choosing my people more and my phone less. You’re life is too beautiful to miss, precious friend. Join me?
If you’re looking for additional tools to help you break your phone addition and live on purpose here’s some I have used and recommend:
Powersheets (Make it a daily goal to have phone free time)