When I first started to take my daughter to the park, no one was on their phones. Everyone was helicoptering their kids on the monkey bars.
Slowly parents starting sitting down on the play structures, on benches, on blankets and started looking at their phones while their kids played.
When this first started it ticked me off.
Why was I having to take care of your kid so you could text your high school boyfriend?
Kids were falling.
Kids were crying.
And then I noticed something weird happening…
Kids were still playing.
They were playing without their parents telling them where to put their foot on the climbing wall. They were playing by throwing rocks and seeing that other kids didn’t like being hit in the head with a handful of gravel. They were playing without someone telling them not to climb up the slide.
The kind of playing that I did when I was a kid.
You know, like when I rode my bike helmetless, to the park beside the highway, that wasn’t fenced, but is now, and my Mom stayed at home and did whatever the hell she did, but knew that I would be home when I was hungry, kind of playing.
Did that make sense?
I believe I have come to the conclusion, that cell phones are actually helping our kids play at the park.
Yeah. I said it.
Now before you go all freakydeaky and hippydippy on me.
Just think about it for a moment….
When you are not following your kids all around the park and instead are letting them play while you drink your Starbucks and sending your husband a passive aggressive text like , “You forgot to take out the garbage… again” Your kids are actually playing with other kids.
They are being kids.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am not so into my phone that I am unaware of where my children are.
I make them wear fluorescent hats for this very reason.
Periphery vision is an amazing thing.
I am also aware that my opinions on things change about as often as I change my underwear. That’s about 4x a week if you are wondering.
Today while I was sitting on the picnic bench texting a friend about social media, my sister about folk festivals and someone else about planning a play date, Baby Bot started yelling for me.
“Momma. I’m scared!”
“Of what?” I yelled back, my eyes slowing glancing away from my phone.
“I’m scared I’m gonna fall…”
Slowly I set down my phone and sauntered over to where he was. Yup, he was right to be scared. He was holding on for dear life. He was going to fall.
I grabbed him and set him down from the play structure.
“Thank you Momma.” He said as he ran to the slide.
I walked back to my phone at the picnic table and immediately went back to texting.
Here’s the thing….
I may be on my phone at the park. But, I am there. For as long as my kids need me, I will be there. They know that if they need me that all they need to do is call.
So what are you?
Do you mostly play with your kids in the park or do you play on your phone?
P.s as far as I am concerned, no answer is wrong.
I have strong opinions on the park.