Helicopter Parenting. Free Range Parenting. Sharenting. The names go on and on. We all reap rewards and pay the price for whichever philosophy we adopt. What happens when we don’t adopt a philosophy at all? What happens to our kids if we cross the line from laissez-faire to downright lazy? Let’s take a look…
1. Outerwear – My son rushed out the door to school juggling his backpack, sneakers, and water bottle. What was missing? His coat. It was 5 degrees. Did I run after him? No. I sat at the counter sipping my tea. One frozen walk to school can save hundreds of mornings of nagging.
2. Laundry – My son rarely gets out of his snuggly fleece. The whole family rotates through contributions and it was his turn to do the laundry. After dumping a bowl of cereal down his front he added his “fuzzy” to a full load. He ran the washer and stopped there. From Friday to Tuesday things melded into a sour mess. He lost his beloved fleece. We were down a few sheets, but we are now up a diligent laundry doer. Things are fresh and folded in just a few hours.
3. Dinner- This one is a simple equation. One meal + full family = flexible eaters.
4. Cold Hard Cash – My kids get a dollar per year of life.* The money comes at the end of family meeting and is not tied to chores. Contributing to our household is an expectation that stands apart from payment. They are paid in cash each Monday. If they leave their cash lying around they lose it. This has happened one time each.
5. Reaping the Rewards of Natural Consequences* – Do you dread food shopping? Do your kids whine and demand things at checkout, do you forget half of your list? Here is the lazy way to address all of those problems… Let the kids shop. Our town has a small grocery store. One afternoon I sat in the car and talked with the boys about what our family needed to get through the week. They carefully wrote down a list. Which they ignored. (Some things run in the family) I gave them the money to shop and sat in the literal drivers seat while the boys took the figurative one. About 50 minutes later they were loading the car. By Thursday we were all a bit hungry. The next week they chose more chicken. As a bonus they appreciate the delicate balance of meal planning and budget and are much better companions when we take to the cart collaboratively.
6. The Reverse Tuck In – I go to bed. They tuck me in. So simple. So satisfying. They feel competent and grown up. I feel my eyelids on my eyeballs.
7. Playing Doctor (The G rated Version) – Think of this as a science-meets-sleep combo. When my boys were little I would lie on the couch and have them apply compresses and assess my “illness”. The patient was always comatose. Comas can take a while to come out of. This was a lovely blend of compassion (theirs) and rest (mine). If you find the doctor game cliche you can play coast guard where you are a boat drifting at sea, or sleep researcher. It is never too early to introduce the caring professions. Plus if your kids are boys you are fighting societal gender norms while you nap in bliss.
8. Dishes – My kids make their own breakfast, snack and lunch. As much time as this saves for me in the early days of their chefdom my satisfaction was wiped out by a sink full of sticky dishes. You know what is worse than free time? Scraping oatmeal out of a bowl. Since my boys would both prefer screen time to sink time they have started washing their dishes immediately after their meals. Which works for me.
9. Starting Without Them- Every morning we began our day late because of a certain dawdler in our house. Every evening we missed a bit of book time while one son opened all the drawers in the bathroom expecting some great discovery instead of discovering the plaque on his teeth. As it turns out waiting and whining are the worst way to address this. What was the best? Just get going. We would start the car or start reading while he was noodling around and as quickly as we began he would end his procrastination to participate.
This list could be even more lengthy…but I am lazy so I will stop there. The bottom line is that doing less lets your kids do more — and they get ready to join the world without you having to say a word.
*The ideas in this post, like so many of my parenting posts, have been dramatically influenced by Vicki Hoefle of Parenting On Track. Buy Duct Tape Parenting here..
If you liked this post please read more, comment, or both…its a lonely thing being a lazy parent and long term blogger.
See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/families/9-ways-lazy-parenting-raises-great-men-ajrt/#sthash.Byubs2zb.dpuf Also syndicated on Babble.com.