'Get off your phone!': the daycare note that's got people talking

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A note posted by a US daycare facility has urged parents to get off their phone when collecting their children:

Although the note is reportedly a few years old it has recently resurfaced on a Facebook page for parents - and has caused mixed reactions.

"You care picking up your child! GET OFF YOUR PHONE!!!" it begins.

"Your child is happy to see you! Are you happy to see your child?" 

Some mums agree with the idea wholeheartedly. After not seeing your child all day, they say that any phone call at that time can wait.

"You should leave your phone in the car and give your child the attention they deserve," said one commenter.

"That's honestly sad if your child is talking to you and you can't even hear them because all of your attention is on the phone."

Others felt more strongly, one writing, "Unless we're performing heart transplants we can generally take a few moments to greet our kids like they deserve to be greeted."

Educator Sharon Witt couldn't be more enthusiastic about the idea. She says in our fast-paced lives we need to sometimes be reminded that our children require our full attention.

"I absolutely agree with this note being displayed as a reminder for parents to be present," she says.

While many applaud the sentiments expressed, some have taken offense at the wording.

"The way it's presented is horrible - super sanctimonious and inappropriate," one commenter said.

Early childhood educator Dympna Kennedy feels the same way.

"The note - if brought to life - would consist of screaming, shaming and blaming; not an optimum way for inspiring or instilling change."

However, Dympna supports the actual message, saying the importance of being "truly present" with your child after a period of absence can't be overstated.

Paying attention shows your child that, "Although I was gone, I missed you, I thought about you, I am interested in what you have done."

Clinical psychologist Kirstin Bouse, author of The Conscious Mother, says there are key psychological reasons as to why parents need to be fully present when seeing their child after time apart.

She says that whenever you spend time apart from a small child, a "rupture" in the relationship occurs.

While she says that's completely normal, she explains that the "rupture" then needs to be "repaired" when you re-unite. Having a warm, loving reunion therefore teaches your child that separation is okay.

While most parents agree you shouldn't consistently be on the phone when collecting your child, some commenters pointed out that calls can't always be avoided.

"Sometimes phone calls just come at a bad time and sometimes those phone calls are important like business or a doctor calling with results."

Work doesn't always end when you want it to, either.

"It's rare, but I've had to participate in conference calls during drop-off and pickup," said one mum.

"I'd prefer to finish my call in the car, but if the call is ongoing and the daycare is closing, I'll hit Mute and be as present as possible with my child while still listening for cues that I'm needed on my call."

When possible, Dympna says it's best to find ways to avoid phone calls at pick-up time.

Tell the caller you need to phone them back, or set an automatic text message when you're unable to take a call.

But if you must take a call at that time, Dympna recommends making eye contact with your child and extending your arms for a cuddle.

"Get down to the child's eye level and thank them for being patient."

While she says you shouldn't make a habit of being on your phone when collecting your child, Kirstin reminds that if it happens occasionally, it's not such a big deal.

"Mothers have competing demands that crop up, so we all need to chill a little if they're on their phone from time to time at pick up."