Nod when this scenario sounds familiar. It’s Sunday morning. Your thoughts aren’t yet fully formed, apart from an internal voice pleading with you to please take it easy on the Pinot Noir next time.
Your toddler has dragged you out of bed to play yet another epic battle between some random plastic people and a tired-looking trainset. Every time she asks you, your knees bend down before you know it, but today you’re too strung out to get off the sofa.
Should you feel guilty?
Say goodbye to mom guilt
No, says Susie Allison, who introduced the term ‘sittervising’ on TikTok and captured this on Instagram:
“You do not need to hover over kids while they play OR feel like you absolutely must be playing with them at all times. You can supervise kids from a seated position.”
Allison’s parenting tip: Stop interrupting play
Halleluja! This is excellent news for hungover parents, busy ones, and caregivers who need to take time off from helicoptering their brood.
Allison tells TODAY Parents: “Play helps children develop, both alone and with adults.” She adds: “However, when parents play 100% of the time, kids lose the benefits of play, such as spatial awareness or risk management and conflict settlement.”
Sittervising doesn’t just allow parents to enjoy a hot drink without interruption; it’s also good for children to learn how to play independently in a safe setting.
“Sittervising allows children to safely explore their environment, their toys, and activities with their trusted adult or caregiver nearby while still feeling a sense of autonomy and independence,”
You can start any time, even when your child is only a baby. Make sure her environment is safe and observe her while she tentatively touches her soft toys, plays with a mirror, or investigates her toes.
When your child is older, ensure her play area is safe, and create a play routine of 10 minutes a day.
Follow the simple tips below:
- Consistency is vital; set your routine at the same time every day, for instance, after nap time.
- Start the session with a few minutes and gradually increase playtime.
- Don’t give in when your child asks you to play with her.
- Don’t butt in when you feel her play is not going right.
In an age of hovering parents, sittervising is a welcome relief for parents and kids. Ditch the mom guilt and observe your child instead of playing with her during set times of the day. Watch your child unleash her creativity and gain problem-solving skills while you finish your (still hot) flat white.
This post first appeared on Medium.