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We’re starting 2024 in a way in which we hope to continue – by breaking bad habits and encouraging newer, more life-giving ones. First up – checking our phone habits.

Did you know that the average person checks their phone 200 times a day – that’s roughly once every six and a half minutes. If we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves constantly online in a never-ending loop of checking multiple apps, news reports, social media channels and Google’s personalised feed.

We need new rules and new behaviour when it comes to technology and screen time (especially when it comes to our phones). We skim through masses of information, but very rarely do we fully engage with anyone.

Remember, as parents, our children mimic our behaviour, and, if nothing else, focusing on unplugging from our devices and being present is a valuable and meaningful discipline to get into as we start the new year. Let’s engage in the real life, full-colour happenings around us.

Here are a few tips we are taking to heart, and we hope you do too!

  • Start your day WITHOUT your phone. Make a fresh cup of coffee, eat a healthy breakfast, go for a run, meditate or take a few deep breaths before getting going.
  • Fiddle with your device settings. Remove unnecessary apps and turn off notifications. Be ruthless in keeping your digital space safe and healthy.
  • When you really need to focus, switch OFF your laptop (unless needed) and switch ON airplane mode (or go charge your phone in another room.
  • Notice when you’re filling up silence with the tv, music, screens or your phone. While this is not always a bad thing (we do love an impromptu family dance party), we must become more aware of our default actions. This is a good way to teach yourself some self-control and break the habit of browsing/watching needlessly – it becomes a sneaky time-stealer.
  • Live IN the moment. What does that look like for you?
  • Remember the word ‘worthwhile’. At the end of the day, think about whether what you did that day was worthwhile. Did you sit on the floor and build Lego with your child, did you rock your baby to sleep, read the next chapter of a storybook out loud – or did you scroll mindlessly through the never-ending trending topics online?
  • Don’t allow your phone (especially) to become an extension of your body. It is not! The best things in life do not happen on a screen.

This year let’s enjoy the present moment.  Let’s focus on involving all our senses and create real-life memories without taking a photo. Let’s reconnect with the beautiful, messy, complex, awe-inspiring and tangible world around us.