The day before Thanksgiving, I fought with myself about setting up cell phone rules for the family I love: 3 daughters, 3 son-in laws, 3 grandsons, and 3 granddaughters. I know I wanted my family to have face-to face conversations since it is so rare that we are all together in one place.
I know I wanted to set some boundaries for phones during our holiday get together. And I knew I risked making the teens mad, and even some of the grown-ups upset about Grammy’s New Phone Rules. Like all parents, I faced the fear that the people I love would be angry, and then not talk. Not talking was the opposite of what I hoped for.
But then guess what? I did it!
I asked everyone to put away his or her phones during and after dinner. The results: for the first time there was laughter-filled discussion around the grandkids’ dinner table. The adults were engaged in meaningful conversation. It was a Thanksgiving miracle!
After the meal was over, when we gathered in the family room, I noticed that 3 of the adults were texting. I politely asked them, “Please put the phones away.” They did and they apologized.
What followed, instead of eyes buried in their phones, was a family learning how to dance the Whip/Nae Nae and trying out the latest hover board technology on the kitchen tile (Yes, I have it on video).
By setting some guidelines for cell phone use, we improved our interactions and had real, in-depth conversations. What I learned on Thanksgiving is that it is NEVER too late to set some rules.
I would encourage all parents to think about the best way to set or reset the phone etiquette for your family.
I suggest Emily Post’s 10 Tips for Using Your Cell Phone:
- Don’t let it control you!
- Speak softly.
- Be courteous to those you are with; turn off your phone if it will be interrupting a conversation or activity.
- Watch your language, especially when others can overhear you.
- Avoid talking about personal problems in a public place.
- If it must be on and it could bother others, use the silent ring mode and move away to talk.
- Don’t make calls in a library, theater, church, or from your table in a restaurant.
- Don’t text during class or a meeting at your job.
- Private info can be forwarded, so don’t text it.
- NEVER drive and use your phone at the same time.
Written by Darcy Perreault
Do you have other cell phone rules for your family? Leave your tips in the comment section below.