When Your Kid Tells You to “Lick Your Phone”

Yesterday morning, I took Quinn to a doctor’s appointment. It was just a quick check-up for his ears. He got tubes put in about a year ago, so we go every 6 months to make sure they’re still doing their job. (Everything was a-ok.)

While waiting for our appointment, I was playing around on my iPhone – doing who knows what. I was probably posting something on Instagram or scrolling mindlessly. I don’t even remember, and it honestly doesn’t matter for the point of this story.

Quinn asked me something, and, because I was on my phone, I replied: “Say what, buddy?” (I now realize I say this wayyyy too often to him.) In response, he let out a frustrated sigh and said (what sounded like): “Lick your phone.” Quinn telling me to “lick my phone” definitely caught my attention. Right now, he’s battling a booger-y cold, so I made a joke about hygiene, but then it occurred to me what he actually said. Quinn told me to “brick my phone,” so I would pay attention to him.

Holy cow, his statement hit me like a ton of bricks. (You see what I did there?) Recently, Mal and I have made a conscious effort to “brick” our phones when we’re with Quinn, so we can give him our full and undivided attention. We’re not perfect, and it’s a habit that’s still a work in progress, but it made me realize just how much Quinn is watching our every move. It also made me feel terrible for having my face in my phone and not hearing him the first time!

I’m the first to admit that I’m addicted to my phone. I often find myself reaching for it even when I have no real reason to use it. It’s such a habit to pick it up a zillion times a day and check it for alerts. Obviously, I need my phone for my job, but I’m starting to “schedule” times to be on social media and disconnect more often during family time and on the weekends. Truthfully, it’s a hard balancing act (and hard habit to break). I’m still figuring out how to be active and engaged on social media while distancing myself at the same time. I honestly feel like I’m at some weird breaking point with it all. Something needs to change, but I’m not sure quite yet how it’s all going to play out. I’m totally rambling here, but I just wanted to throw out some thoughts on the subject because I feel like a lot of us are in the same boat with regard to our relationship with social media and “real life.”

After Quinn’s doctor’s appointment, I dropped him off for school, worked my tail off, and then picked him up early for some quality (disconnected) time together. (I felt so guilty about what happened that morning.) We played with PicassoTiles and built an epic castle!

When Mal got home, we ate dinner and then headed out for fro-yo!

My phone was “bricked” (aka on airplane mode) during our fro-yo date, but I still snapped some photos and shared one on Instagram Stories after Quinn was in bed. Clearly, it’s a balancing act, but I’ll eventually figure it out.

Question of the Day

What are your thoughts on balancing your time on social media, especially with kids in the mix? 


  1. I noticed today that when my 11 month old has my phone he swipes his one finger across the screen! I thought he is too young to pay attention to my actions but apparently not!

  2. Soo when mine was little I didn’t have a smartphone? Or if I did there wasn’t wifi at doctors offices or something? But here’s the deal…we all sat with our noses in magazines in the waiting room, guilt free. And the kiddos were like…hey momma look at this. Look at this. And we did to an extent. But anyway, not to sound like Grandma but, cut yourself some slack! You’re doing awesome and Quinn doesn’t need your 100% attention in the waiting room. Or other places like that. If you feel like it’s the phone that’s the issue maybe bring a book?

    1. Aww, thank you! I appreciate the kind words and totally agree. I think I just feel guilty because I know I’m on my phone SO MUCH. It’s definitely a work in progress!

  3. I struggle with this too! I have started to leave my phone where it gets charged….so its not on me or near me all the time. When I first started this I would literally set the kitchen timer for 1 hour. I was not allowed to check it unless I got a text message. I reasoned that my husband was out of the house and if he needed something that was reasonable. I no longer have to set the timer and can sometimes make it from afternoon bus drop off time to dinner time without checking. I still struggle somewhat but this one practice has helped so much. I think it is similar to your scheduled times. I also believe that ANYTHING you do to be conscious of your time and try to be more present is a step in the right direction! Good luck!

  4. I don’t have kiddos yet but I also struggle with this. My boyfriend is one of those amazing people who doesn’t really care about social media (as in, doesn’t even have a Facebook or Instagram account) and he gets on my case about being on my phone all the time. I’m thankful for him because he makes me want to be more present in my life and now we have a rule – when we are eating dinner or watching one of our favorite shows together, I put my phone on silent and put it in another room so I’m not tempted to mindlessly scroll. I’m definitely not perfect and sometimes I still “slip up” and find myself on my phone for no reason, but I’m working on it. I am sure you are a great mom and are doing great, but I understand feeling guilty and wanting to work on it. We’re all just doing the best we can <3

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