• Today, the average adult spends 49 days a year on their smart phone.
  • We unlock our phone 80 times a day, on average.
  • Adults are almost as bad as teens are, being preoccupied with their phone.
  • In a 30-hour period, the average teen spent almost half that time on a phone.
  • A growing number of teens are exchanging sleep time for screen time.
  • 82% of Americans say social media is a waste of time, but the majority still use it.

Pursue planned quantity times. By this I mean, when you plan enough times to simply be together, the more likely you’ll experience one or two genuine interactions. Quality conversations and epiphanies come more readily as an adult and teen spend lots of time truly connected. Familiarity brings comfortability and safety, when handled well. Teens feel safe to open up when there have been enough episodes of togetherness. It’s like digging for gold. You may have to wade through lots of seemingly irrelevant details to find the “nugget” of a great conversation eventually.

In summary—plan quantity times and look for quality moments inside those times.

Five Practical Ideas to Foster Quality Interactions During the “Quantity” Times

Let me offer some ideas to set yourself up with some quality time with your kids:

  1. Go to games, matches, meets and shows to watch your kid in action as often as you can. Talk to them to ensure they know you participated and saw them. It is paramount to cross into their territory and see them on their home turf.
  2. Plan at least three dinners a week where you eat with your kids. Meal times are one of the best times to put phones away and actually talk. Kids can both answer questions and overhear parents sharing their viewpoints.
  3. Identify a new opportunity where you and your child can share something in common that you both enjoy, be it a hobby, tradition, annual trip or game. This creates a personal history you share in together that no one else shares with them.
  4. When you experience shared time, be fully present, with your phone put away. This speaks volumes to your child, who is very aware of parental distractions. but may never say so. Your full attention actually fosters quality time.
  5. Look at your calendar and schedule times you can “push pause” and join your kid somewhere in their routine. Even if it means you grab that time when it’s good for them and make up your work time later than night.

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