01/02/2016 05:29 GMT | Updated 29/01/2017 05:12 GMT

Forget My Emails, I Need to Cherish My Daughter's Pre-school Years

Press the lock button. Walk up those stairs. Place it under a pillow. Leave it upstairs. Just leave it up there. You do not need it at this moment. Repeat those few words.

We are all guilty of it. All shamefaced at the occasional aimless phone surfing, but when it gets to the point when you are looking at your phone whilst brushing your own teeth, you need to have a think about your life. Switch it off. Shift your brain from the outside world and bring it in to your world for a minute. And your family's.

Time spent on my phone whilst in the company of my daughter is relatively low but I get a sense it is creeping up.

I didn't feel the urge to check my emails to see whether my Amazon order had been shipped when she was being born via a caesarean section. Imagine the looks: "Why is he on his phone"? "Oh. He is just checking to see whether his jeans have been dispatched". So why should I have an urge when she is playing with her toys on the floor?

On the same breath, I did not need to be informed of the latest breaking news unfolding when my wife was in agony post C-section where I had to tend to the baby morning, noon and night. Again, imagine the questioning from my wife: "Why the hell are you on your phone; I am in total agony here?" "Oh. I just need to see what's happening in Guatemala". The real breaking news is the fact that I am probably beginning to miss out on minuscule details of my daughter's development - all because I am, at times, too focussed on touching the screen of my smart phone.

With this in mind, I am slowly learning that the pre-school early years are truly cherished times with our kids. Due to my shift work I often go 30 hours without seeing her cute little face and her mop of a hair style. It is hard, but it is something I have just had to learn to live with. I am lucky to have days off in the week spent entirely with her - just us two. In hindsight I am blessed to have a relatively large percentage of my time with her. The days she gets exclusively to her daddy are great - even though I feel it is not enough. I am now realising I need to spend our time together wisely. For she will soon be let off in to the big wide world of school five days a week. She will no longer be with me all day creating more memories. She will instead be with her classmates creating new ones.

Our time together will be reduced to the breakfast rush (if I am due to take her to childcare), a few hurried hours each evening (if I am on an early shift), and the weekend (if I am off work). Before I realise it, she will hit the teen years and want to spend time with her peers as opposed to me.

I need to grab her with two hands to the fact that she wants to play with her daddy during these few precious years of her life. She wants to have a piggyback; she wants to run laps around the house; she wants to be picked up because she is upset; she wants to be picked up because I am close to the snack cupboard; she wants to sit next to me to rest her head against my arms; she wants to copy words I say; she wants me to drive her around the house in her new car; she wants to show me her new scrunched up faces she now pulls; the contagious smile; the infectious laugh; the whinge; she wants me to react to her mischievous look when she realises she has done something naughty; she wants to show me her new novel methods of attempting to communicate with me, and, sometimes I am not entirely sure what she wants.

She wants me.

And yet I am on my phone.

Leave it upstairs.