023: How to Stop Looking at your Phone and Why It Matters // Dr. Katie Penry, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

“Parents act as mirrors for their children. Children learn who they are in the reflection of another person’s watchful gaze.”

Dr. Katie Penry, a licensed clinical psychologist and mother of two young children, is on the podcast today teaching us the brain research behind why we need to look up from our phones and engage more with our little children.

And she doesn’t just tell us WHY to do this…she also tells us HOW! Listen in as she explains each of the following takeaways:


1) Decide on some sacred spaces and places where you will not use your phone. (This matters more than arbitrary time limits for yourself.)

2) Tell your kids what you are doing when you are looking at your phone.

3) Use your phone’s non-notification settings to help you be present at important times of day.


Listen to the podcast as an introduction to Dr. Penry’s work, and then head to her website to sign up for her email course called the “Look Up Challenge”: afriendlyaffair.com/lookupchallenge


Fascinating Facts from the Interview:

-Almost 80% of your child’s brain development happens from age 0-3 years, through consistent verbal and non-verbal interaction with their parents

-Look at your baby and attune to who they are and what they love–react to each other–Harvard Psychologists call this “Serve and Return”

-Daniel Stern, a renowned American psychologist, found that 70%-80% of the time that your baby is alert, he/she is looking at you.

-Babies are born able to see the exact distance from their biological mother’s eye to nipple. (!!!)

 You can read the full transcript from this episode here.

Show Notes:

-Dr. Katie Penry’s FREE email course, the #LookUpChallenge”: https://afriendlyaffair.lpages.co/look-up-challenge/

-Sign up to receive a monthly PDF of all the podcast takeaways: 3in30podcast.com

-Dr. Katie Penry’s website: https://www.afriendlyaffair.com/

-Dr. Katie Penry’s Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/afriendlyaffair/

-Children’s book about the life of Nelle Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird: https://www.amazon.com/Alabama-Spitfire-Story-Harper-Mockingbird/dp/0062456709


About the Podcast Host, Rachel Nielson

Rachel taught high school English for five years before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom to her two miracle babies, Noah Atticus, who was adopted, and Sally Grace, who was conceived through IVF.

In her life, Rachel has experienced great sorrow but also great joy--and she loves diving deep into the topics that matter most. Thank you for listening to the podcast and giving her a chance to share her heart.


  1. Rachel Pennington on 03/28/2018 at 12:15 PM

    Wow! Just wow! I am a grandparent of 6 grandkids under the age of 7 and this was so helpful for me! Thank you for this wonderful podcast! I love listening to you! What great work you are doing!

    • Rachel Nielson on 03/28/2018 at 2:14 PM

      Thank YOU for the incredibly kind comment. I’m so very glad to know this was helpful. It means a lot to know that people are listening!

  2. […] -Last week’s episode “How to Stop Looking at Your Phone So Much–And Why It Matters”: https://3in30podcast.com/lookup/ […]

  3. Brittany Phillips on 05/11/2018 at 11:20 AM

    I’m so slow to this Podcast world but have been motivated to get connected since learning that you were starting your own segment. I just listened to my first ever podcast and it was yours!! Oh I loved hearing your wonderful voice again. Thank you for your inspiring words. I’m excited to get some more eye to eye contact with my kiddos!

    • Rachel Nielson on 05/11/2018 at 10:28 PM

      Oh that makes me so happy!! Yay! Welcome to the podcast world! I’m so glad you chose to start with my show!!

  4. […] to anyone else that is wants to level up in this area of their life, go check out the podcast episode from @3in30podcast and […]

  5. […] Dr. Katie Penry’s episode “How to Stop Looking at Your Phone So Much–And Why It Matters”: https://3in30podcast.com/phones/ […]

  6. […] -Part 1 with Dr. Katie Penry, “How to Stop Looking at Your Phone So Much–And Why It Matters”: https://3in30podcast.com/phones/ […]

  7. Chrisitne Kamienski on 08/03/2018 at 9:33 AM

    Loved this episode!

  8. […] 3 in 30 episode about “looking up” from our phones: https://3in30podcast.com/phones/ […]

  9. […] Episode 23 “How to Stop Looking at Your Phone So Much–and Why It Matters”: https://3in30podcast.com/phones/ […]

  10. […] down. Dr. Katie Penry, a licensed clinical psychologist and mother of two young children, shares How to Stop Looking at your Phone So Much — and Why it Matters. She offers three easy takeaways to help us look up from our phones and engage our children. (added […]

  11. […] Listen to the episode and see full show notes here.  […]

  12. Casey on 05/28/2021 at 11:52 AM

    Help, HELP!! I know this is an older episode, but I just listened to it in 2021 and I really want to sign up for the Look Up challenge. I’ve signed up 3 times, but no email ever comes. Her Instagram is not active. Is this still happening? Does anyone have old emails sent that could be forwarded? I feel like I’m a day late (or 3 years late!!) But want to take part!

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