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July 24, 2024

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10 Lazy Ways to Be a Better Parent

A do-nothing approach may be in order this summer โ€” as long as nobody's getting hurt!

ย I was reading my Kindle when I caught the blur out of the corner of my eye. It was my 9-year-old girl running through the front lawn with her friends. I smiled as I realized I had just practiced one of my lazy ways to be a better parent: I did nothing. Thatโ€™s right. When my daughter claimed she was bored five minutes ago, I refused to entertain her. She could do something about it, after all. And so she did.
ย  ย  I know other lazy ways to be a better parent, too. Because who has time to read countless articles and books on being a better mom and incorporate their action items amidst laundry, sports, activities, work, passion projects, birthday parties and more? ย 

Herewith: ideas for a more relaxed approach to kids.ย 

Sometimes better parenting means relaxing and meeting the kids where they are.

10 Lazy Ways to Be a Better Parent

1. Laugh with your kids.

Itโ€™s easy, free and enjoyable. Even if you just laugh at stupid bodily function jokes, like my family does, laughing releases endorphins and gives you a subtle rush.

2. Sleep on it.

With apologies to anyone in the newborn phase, moms of older kids can go to bed earlier, get up later, or take a short nap on the couch for 15 minutes while the kids watch YouTube. (I tried that last suggestion myself. Thumbs up!) Youโ€™ll feel recharged and happier with a bit more shut-eye.

3. Stay hydrated.ย 

Youโ€™ll feel more content if youโ€™ve been drinking enough. Of course I mean water. Mostly. But thatโ€™s not to say that my teenager and I donโ€™t swing by the drive-thru every so often to indulge in a large soda pop. Sure, thereโ€™s no nutritional value, blah blah blah. However, it makes me happy, my teenager loves it, and my thirst is quenched.

4. Say, โ€œI love you.โ€ย 

Never mind if your daughter replies with โ€œGreatโ€. (True story.) No matter how often you say this phrase, just say it.ย  Your kids, and their hearts, will blossom when they hear those three little words.

5. Hug your kids.ย 

I like to grab my teenager and give him a squeeze. He protests, but I think he likes it. Physical touch prevents illness and creates a tangible bond. Chances are, your kids will hug you back.

6. Do nothing.

Let them be bored and figure out for themselves how to live with that or change that. Absolutely resist the urge to swoop in.

7. Be yourself.

Show them that you are not perfect and that everyone has flaws as well as awesomeness. I like to think Iโ€™m celebrating my imperfections when I sing the wrong lyrics to pretty much every song on the radio, with my kids in the car of course.

8. Listen.

Once my daughter spent 20 minutes replaying every mundane moment of the dream she had the night before. I spent 20 minutes nodding and saying, โ€œUh huhโ€ while drinking coffee and watching the news. It worked for both of us.

9. Donโ€™t compare your kids.

To each other, to their friends, or to you. When my husband tells our son that he used to do X, Y, and Z to be a better hockey player in high school, I can see my sonโ€™s eyes glazing over. There will always be someone who is faster, stronger, tougher, cuter (thanks, Heidi Klum), smarter, etc.

10. Let them fail.

ย It takes effort to intervene and fix things for them. When my daughter tried to build a sidecar for her stuffed animals on her scooter, I knew it wouldnโ€™t work. However, she needed to see for herself that 23 stuffed animals in a shoebox taped to her handlebars wouldnโ€™t cut it. She reaped the benefits of resilience and perseverance from her failure and redesigned a working sidecar. So what if it held one stuffed animal, not 23.


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About the Author

Katy Clark

Katy Clark is an award-winning writer who has been published in many national publications. Her essays have appeared on sites including Scary Mommy, Your Teen, Mamalode and others. Follow her blog at