Excerpted from “Generation Sleepless” (Penguin, 2022) by Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright.
Little kids and teenagers model their behaviors (often subconsciously) after their parents, so if your phone is an appendage and your attention is continually drawn to it, this behavior pattern is more likely to be adopted by your kids. When you practice basic boundaries and good screen habits, this also rubs off on the whole family. Not only that, it signifies to your teen that your own sleep and well-being are a priority.
Parents have room for improvement in this arena: the majority of parents say they sleep with a mobile device next to their bed, and about 1 in 4 say they wake up to check their phone in the night. If you ask children about their parents’ screen behaviors, many will express disdain for the phone and say their mom or dad is always on it, and it’s hard to get their attention. Half of adolescents say their parent or caregiver is distracted by their cell phone when they’re trying to have a conversation with them.
Most parents are aware that babies and little kids need our attention, but we don’t appreciate how much teenagers do, too. They pick up on signs of distraction, like when our eyes are glued…