kids

“Yes, I force my kids to talk to me. Every. Single. Day.”

I regret nothing.

When my children were little, I was one of those smug mothers who was adamant that they wouldn’t have mobile phones. At the time, I thought it was overindulgent and unnecessary.

Fast forward five years and I take it ALL back. In fact, all three of my children now have a phone. With them catching a bus to three different locations each morning and me working full-time, I have to know if anything in the daily plan changes and therefore, they need to be contactable at all times. So yes, this does mean my 9-year-old also has a mobile phone.

“I have to know if anything in the daily plan changes and therefore, they need to be contactable at all times”

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Vodafone. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

I do have some rules in place, though. For one, I make them all check in with me when they arrive at school each morning. It might sound like helicopter parenting, but I need to know that they have arrived safely inside of those gates every morning before I can comfortably get on with my day.  If they don’t text me or they forget, I will contact them (much to the 16-year-old’s chagrin).

I’ve also found that now, my 16-year-old daughter and I have gotten closer via phone. We rarely get the time to sit around the dinner table these days with all of us keeping such different timetables, so the phone has become our saviour.

Related: The 6 mistakes us mums make when talking to kids about food.

What we would once have kept to discuss each night with each other, is now relayed in real time. She’ll text me about a concert coming to town or we’ll email each other funny memes. Sometimes we’ll even comment on each other’s Facebook or Instagram posts.

It all helps to open up a whole new level to our relationship and I find we share more and understand each other better as a result.

My 9-year-old son has also taken to having epic telephone conversations with me each morning as well. Sometimes I’ll drive to work and put him on hands-free and we’ll sit and discuss the footy game he watched the night before or what he’s been learning in maths.

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It makes him happy to keep me company on that long drive in to work and it is a brilliant start to my day as well.

“It makes him happy to keep me company on that long drive in to work and it is a brilliant start to my day as well.”

But really, the best times of all are when we can sit down in the same place at the same time, to relax and just talk. As I mentioned, it really is difficult to find time for us all to have dinner at a table anymore.

At least one of us has a prior engagement, appointment or sporting practice to be at. That’s why I have made sure our Sunday nights are sacred, like they used to be for me when I was growing up.

We usually have a roast, which my son loves to help me prepare by peeling the potatoes. We chat a lot during that time, his little mind wandering all over the place, remembering funny things that have happened to him during the week.

Related: Big Bird has some surprisingly sage advice for talking to kids about death.

Then we have an early dinner and we all sit down as a family. No devices are allowed at the table during this time and although there was reluctance initially, now we actually all look forward to this time.

My daughter has recently introduced a game of sorts where we all have to tell the family one thing that happened to us during the week that’s never happened before.

This can go a number of ways but is usually always hilarious. The wonderful thing about this time is that although I can’t be with them every day, I still get to peak inside their worlds.

So yes, I do force my kids to communicate with me every day. And I have no regrets. Because it’s how we manage to stay connected as a family when things get crazy. And I wouldn’t change it for anything.

“Because it’s how we manage to stay connected as a family when things get crazy.”

How do you keep in contact with your kids?

We all use our phones differently, so Vodafone has created Shared to help you get the most out of your plans. It’s the only plan in Australia that lets you create one pool of talk, TXT, data and international minutes and share it with your favourite people and devices. Find out more at vodafone.com.au/shared.

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