It’s almost halfway through Term 4 of an extraordinarily challenging year and I know many of you are very tired. So instead of the usual blog on how to be an excellent parent, I thought it was time to encourage you to parent the “lazy way” for a change.
I came across this quote by Maria Russo, one of the editors of the New York Times and it sums up what I was thinking:
“When I’m sitting there on my couch, reading a book, and my kids are doing their own thing, I like to think, ‘I’m parenting right now – they can see me reading this book.’”
Lazy parenting hack #1
Take a leaf out of Maria Russo’s book and read without guilt. So often, we beat ourselves up for doing something we enjoy but feel guilty the whole time because we are not playing with or reading to our children. However, our children learn from watching us. Children of readers become readers. Give yourself permission to pick up a book and relax without the guilt trip – you are parenting!
Lazy parenting hack #2
Another thing we often do just for our children is to bake with them making recipes they want to cook. That is admirable but give yourself a break and cook what you want to make for a change. Children will probably learn more from watching you in action than mixing chocolate crackles again (not that there is anything wrong with chocolate crackles). Some of the best cooks in the world say they owe their skills to watching their ‘nonna’ cooking in the kitchen. If your child is not into cooking, they could always read a book on the couch.
Lazy parenting hack #3
Indulge your hobbies. Go fishing or whatever you like to do on a Saturday. You don’t always have to plan the day around what the children want to do. If you like fishing, take them with you. If they are interested, they will want to learn how to fish themselves. If they are not interested they can play in the sand, read a book or just chatter away to you while they have you as their captive audience. You get to go fishing and they get to spend time outside with their mum or dad.
If you are an indoor person and craft is your hobby, set aside some time for yourself to do this and before long your children will be asking to use craft supplies and make their own projects. You are parenting by motivating them to use their fine motor skills and be creative.
Lazy parenting hack #4
You don’t have to cram every weekend with activities. If you feel like slowing down and taking it easy, there is a good chance your children will benefit from doing so also. Plan a sleep-in where they can make their own breakfast or have a lie in themselves. Give your children space to slow down and recharge their batteries while you recharge your own.
Lazy parenting hack #5
This hack may require a bit more effort for some but if you develop good habits yourself, your children will follow. Children will always ‘do as you do’ before they ‘do as you say’. Cultivate good eating and drinking habits and your children will follow. Speak well of others in front of your children and they will learn the importance of respect. Enjoy a balanced lifestyle filled with outdoor activities, craft, cooking, reading, exercise and sport and your children will naturally want to spend their time doing those things rather than be glued to the TV. Cultivate a culture of thankfulness and you will have content children who appreciate what they have.
Happy parents result in happy children so give yourselves a break and do some lazy parenting every now and then.
Mike Curtis, Principal