I might be reconsidering my ‘no phones’ for my kids until their 18 Rule

Holy cow.  What a summer.  I was just laying in bed this morning thinking, “Where on earth did our summer go?”  It is the first weeks of August and school starts in a couple of weeks.  If your family is like ours, we are simply running out of time.  I feel like we were diligent about being frugal with our commitments; but evidently, we need an additional 10 hours per day.  I will figure that out.  

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I am not ready for school.  Thankfully, I don’t have to go myself; however, the entire process of getting the clothes, the supplies, and the sleep routines adjusted for the new season of our life has us a wee bit overwhelmed.

Last night, my wife told me that I suck at keeping track of the little things:  appointments, birthdays (truly suck at that), anniversaries, check-ups, etc.  She is right; however, there are, of course, special circumstances to explain my inability to keep track of some of these things:

Reason 1:

   My wife and I do not share a calendar electronically.  We do share a grocery list electronically; however, my wife won’t give up her paper calendar.  She says it is ‘old-school,’ my word for it is inefficient.  However, just like a marriage, it takes two people to share a calendar!  

I think her logic has an expiration date soon as our boys are 5 and 4.  I cannot see how a busy family can survive without a community schedule, available via the cloud from anywhere in the world.   Maybe she is scared of the potential cell phone bill for a large family plan.   Most likely it is the phone bill and the reality is we are giving our kids a potential Pandora’s box without the appropriate guidance.

She needs to check out the unlimited data plans available from Straight Talk Wireless.  Affordable and reliable plans are available to meet most needs of a busy family.  Yes, I get it.  We should slow down and put the phones away more than we do as a family; however, there certainly is value in using a process that maximizes good times as a family.   

I think she might be surprised at how affordable it will be for our entire family to switch to Straight Talk Wireless.  Their plans are inexpensive and they offer high-speed data, with unlimited talk and text.  Seriously, how valuable is keeping everyone on the same page?  If we had had a plan this summer, I can think of five times off the top of my head where we would have saved at least an hour per incident.  Argh.  

You might be thinking, “Julian, you have been advocating putting the cell phones down, and now you are saying we need a bigger plan to connect our kids?  Is that what you are saying?”  The answer is “no.”  

If you are able to survive without a mobile plan, kudo’s to you and your family.  I am jealous.  We might be a wee bit unique in the sense we have a large social media presence; however, I am pretty certain every family can gain great value from having a good, solid, unlimited plan like the plans at Straight Talk Wireless.  It is a fact of life for most of us.  

I will walk the delicate balance between what I would ‘love’ the world to look like and what the world ‘does’ look like for my kids and our future.  For me, I think being able to effectively utilize a mobile plan is a great way for our families to find more time together.  

Two weeks ago, 25 people from my wife’s side of the family went to the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park.  Without our smartphones, we struggled with organizing activities between our families.  Personally, our family spent around 5 hours over a five-day period of time waiting for someone to whom we were unable to communicate.  Since time is the most precious commodity when you are on vacation, 5 hours is a great deal of time.  

Reason 2:   

I have way too many things on my mind to fit anything else in my small brain (the small brain was my wife’s input).  My father always reminded us of a saying from his Army days: “Avoid Verbal Orders.”  He always insisted we write everything down.  He insisted so much as a young child that my rebelling against that process leads me to believe I had super-human abilities in terms of memory.  Remember, my wife said “small brain.”  

She is right.  I assume that she is going to take care of these things and I don’t commit it to paper or my ‘to do’ list successfully.  When I commit it to the list, I am usually pretty good at keeping track of those items.  If I could only get her to use an electronic calendar, I would be golden.  Or would I forget to check the calendar

I have looked at the deals offered by the other carriers and honestly, Straight Talk Wireless offers the best deals.  Just in time for back-to-school, Straight Talk Wireless has added more high-speed data to its best phone plans. Who else offers you no contracts, no credit checks and no mystery fees? Now you can get unlimited talk, text and the first 8GB of high-speed data then 2G* for $45 or bump it up to 12GB of high-speed data then 2G* for $55. With unlimited plans at $45 and $55, you can save on your monthly phone bill and great deals on the best phones – including the Samsung Galaxy S8.

I will never advocate a cell phone for a young, young kid, but the simplicity required to set my sons up with a connected iPad (with adult security) seems like my hard and fast rule might be changing a wee bit as they get old and we get busier.  

Straight Talk phones and service plans are available exclusively at Walmart stores and online at StraightTalk.com.. Maybe start your younger kids out with something simpler, but don’t leave them out of the family connectivity. Get them used to communicating their activities now, and it will pay dividends later, especially during the teen years when kids seem to have trouble sharing much of anything.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Straight Talk Wireless for this promotion.

*At 2G speeds, the functionality of some data applications, such as streaming audio or video may be affected. Please refer always to the latest Terms and Conditions of Service at StraightTalk.com.

photo credit: blakespot <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/35448539@N00/6860486028″>the iOS family pile (2012)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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Julian Caldwell

Julian Caldwell

Julian Ivey-Caldwell founded GetConnectDAD with one simple goal: Connect more families to their kids. Julian works a day job and spends his evenings (after the family retires) continuing to grow this platform. Because he travels a great deal for his “day job,” he is intensely focused on trying to find better ways for fathers and mothers who work long hours, different hours, or unusual hours find better ways to be engaged.

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