The Idle Parent

I'm very pleased that an article on lazy parenting appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald this week  The article talks about giving kids enough free time in their life so that they are forced to get bored, which then makes them more creative and inventive.

I'm a bit of a lazy parent (as in, I'm happy for them to work out ways to entertain themselves that don't involve me), but during term time our life is crazy.  It's partly because of the number of children.  Each child doesn't have lots on, but they often have to come along to each other's activities.  Plus homework, chores, baths, music practice - the time disappears during the week.

But weekends are generally reasonably quiet and the school holidays are glorious weeks of unstructured time.  The holidays are very precious times.  Some kids are better at entertaining themselves than others.  The easy option for some of them is to watch TV or use the computer - but once I say no, they get cranky, realise I actually mean it, they'll go and find something else to do.  Often with a sibling - those are the times when I say a big 'yay' for lots of kids.

I'd quite like to read the book referred to in the article- but I suspect that the main concept was summarised in the newspaper article - so maybe not.


Peter Sholl said…
I whole heartedly agree, and today is the ultimate lazy parent day. Pete's away, I woke at 8:50, No1 cooked pancakes for breakfast, by 11 I was ready for the day begin and asked the girls what they wanted to do - a no car day! After 2 board games, No 2 made lunch while No 1 and 3 organised a "picnic" with toys in the basement (no backyard). This afternoon there's siesta and a read for me, and Little House DVD for the girls. I love it!
Cath said…
Hi Jenny,
I can't wait for the lazy holidays! We couldn't believe how much time we had this weekend now that soccer has finished - a short reprieve before the cricket begins...

We were just talking about this (my husband and I) today, how we wrack our brains to think of things to entertain the kids, when my parents never dreamed of doing such a thing - they just let us play. So important I think. Thanks for this post!
Cath said…
PS Educational philosopher Charlotte Mason calls it "Masterly Inactivity" on the part of the parent - a nicer spin on parental laziness! :)
Karen said…
This is our parenting style too! Our 4 boys (13, 12, 9 and 5) spent all Sat morning playing lego together, building a very detailed football stadium - and we sat and chatted and drank coffee and admired their creativity! And yesterday after church the 12 year old invented a complex 'build a roller coaster theme park' board game which then occupied everyone. You're not alone, Jenny!
Anonymous said…
In the article it mentioned that each one in the family only having one activity - which is a fine concept but if you have 4 kids close together (ie none you can leave at home by themselves yet), and a hubby who works late, then that means all four kids have to go to each activity. This adds up to a lot of afternoons out, especially when it is say playing basketball and then another night training for it (when did a 6 year old really need a training day each week??). Did contemplate making them all play the same sport, regardless of their personal interests, but that seemed a little unfair??
Pip said…
I like articles like this - alleviates my mother guilt of not sending my girls to dancing.

Had to laugh at the tip down the bottom to 'let your kids choose their own activites' and earlier to read that his kid's activites were learning Greek and many six yos ask to do that?

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