Joanna Gaines Reveals 'House Rule' for Her Kids and Their Phones, Which Hoda Kotb Calls 'Brilliant'
Joanna Gaines explained on the Today show that when it comes to her five kids, she doesn't want constantly checking their smartphones to "be part of who they become"
While promoting the launch of their Magnolia Network on Thursday, Joanna and Chip Gaines told Today co-hosts Kotb and Savannah Guthrie about some of their parenting techniques at home. The Fixer Upper couple share five kids: Drake, 16, Ella, 14, Duke, 13, Emmie, 11, and Crew, 3.
"I did love a little bit of advice, I think, Jo, that you have," says Kotb, 56, who is mom to daughters Hope, 2, and Haley, 4. "A lot of kids are on their devices, and your son was on his a lot and every time he felt a buzz he checked his pocket. And you had a solution."
"We have this little station where everyone charges their phones," explains Joanna, 43, "and finally we decided we don't like how our kids — they almost look like robots, I mean all of us, when it buzzes you gotta check it, and when they're reading they're checking it."
"It just became a house rule, when you're at home, that all the phones go in one spot, so if you want to check a text, if you want to check an email, you go to that spot, but it's not on your bodies," the mom continues. "So it's like 'no phones on body,' that's the rule at home."
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Joanna adds, "They're developing, they're growing. And as they're growing at 14, 15, 16, I don't want [constantly checking their phones] to be part of who they become, you know?" Kotb then agrees, calling the house rule "brilliant."
Back in 2016, before they had Crew in their household, Joanna spoke to Entertainment Tonight about holding off on giving her children smartphones and why it was important to her.
"I tell the kids that you are probably not going to get a cell phone. We want to teach our kids that life happens outside of these devices," she said at the time. "It's just a simple thing to go outside and connect with nature, play with your friends and get dirty. It's the simple things."
In November, Joanna told PEOPLE that even though she's constantly busy with family and running their Magnolia lifestyle empire, she's never had more energy. "I feel younger than ever because I now see the world like Crew sees it," she said. "I'm very thankful."
"When your kids get older, you start adjusting the way you parent," added Joanna. "But when you have a toddler, it's so different. You almost have to see the world in the way that they do."
"When Crew is in the car with me," she continued, "it's always, 'I see a sun, I see a tractor, I see a boat.' He's finding the simplest things, and in his mind it's an amazing discovery, but to us it's just stuff. When you look at things through the eyes of your children, it brings you back to that place of awe and wonder."