#WinParenting

. February 1, 2018.
better-parenting-ann-arbor

My 9-year-old was running through the front lawn with her friends. I smiled as I realized I had just practiced a lazy way to be a better a mom: I did nothing.

That’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.

These 10 lazy ways to be a better parent require no more effort than reading this article and realizing that 1) you are already doing these, 2) you can easily do these, or 3) you will never do all of these at once— and that’s okay.

1. Laugh with your kids. It’s easy, free and enjoyable. 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 while the kids watch TV or YouTube. You’ll feel recharged and happier.

3. Stay hydrated. You’ll feel more contented if you’ve been drinking enough. Of course I mean water. Mostly. But that’s not to say that my teenager and I don’t swing by the drive-thru every so often to indulge in a large soda pop.

4. Say “I love you.” Never mind if your daughter replies with “Great.” (True story.) Your kids, and their hearts, will blossom when they hear those three little words.

5. Hug your kids. 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.

6. As I said before, do nothing. Let them be bored and figure out for themselves how to live with that, or change that.

7. Be yourself. Show them that you are not perfect and that everyone has flaws as well as awesomeness.

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, “Uh huh” while drinking coffee and watching the news. It worked for both of us.

9. Don’t compare your kids. To each other, to their friends, or to you.

10. Let them fail. 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 wouldn’t work. However, she needed to see for herself that 23 stuffed animals in a shoebox taped to her handlebars wouldn’t cut it. She reaped the benefits of resilience and perseverance from her failure, and then, redesigned a working sidecar.

There you have it, 10 lazy ways to be a better parent. Whether you can squeeze one or all of them into your day, you’ll be better and happier for it.

This piece originally appeared on Parent.com.