This is an uncomfortable topic for many of us and it hits home for me because I live with my smart phone in my hand like it's part of my body. During baseball season I'm invested in my favorite team and it's a similar situation on NFL Sundays. I'm also slightly addicted to Twitter.

Lately I've noticed that my smartphone addiction is beginning to interfere with the type of quality time I'm spending with my kids and it's got me worried. In fact, I think there might be a cottage industry of 12 step programs for people like me, consumed by their smart phones.

Here are some questions and scenarios to think about when determining if you're smart phone is interfering with your parenting and/or your relationship with your children:

  • Do you grab and check your phone first thing in the morning before you say hello to your spouse or children?
     
  • Do you check your phone while you're driving in the car with your children?
     
  • During family outings are you checking the scores and your Facebook updates?
     
  • Do your kids have to repeat themselves when they're talking to you because you're immersed up in your phone?

Even if you answered yes to any of those questions, it's not necessarily indicative of a problem. It just might mean that you need to rebalance your use of technology with your parenting skills. Life constantly gets out of whack and it's a good thing to be able to step back and prioritize from time to time.

Here are some ideas on how to do it:

1. Avoid the Phone in the Morning

When you awake, leave the phone alone for a little while. Challenge yourself to begin the day by interacting with your family members and not responding to every email and status update or playing a quick game of Candy Crush. This will pay dividends with your family members and set an example for them to follow your lead.

2. Set a Timer

If it's too difficult to be away from your phone for an extended period of time, set a timer to remind yourself to take a break. Make it a realistic amount of time to cut the cord and gradually try to work up to longer stretches.

3. Turn It Off

If setting a timer doesn't work, try turning the phone off for a while. Maybe if it's shut down it won't be such a temptation to use.

4. It Can Wait

Remember that each email and text message does not demand an immediate response. Sure, there are emergencies and crises that need to be dealt with but that's the exception, not the rule. Also, if someone comments on your blog or responds to your tweet, you do not have to reply right away.

5. Change Your Brain

Another option is to immerse yourself in another activity — reading, exercising, woodworking, cleaning — that will take your mind off your phone and onto another pursuit.