Learn what bare minimum parenting (also known as lazy parenting) is, and the many benefits it has on both kids and parents.
I am no where near a helicopter parent, but I wouldn’t call myself a free range parent either.
I reside somewhere right smack in the middle.
My kids can’t be found roaming the streets freely, barefooted and trying figure out life on their own for hours on end.
Yet, I take pride in my ability to give them freedom to fall down and get back up again, and avoid hovering over at all times.
I like to refer to my parenting style as bare minimum parenting.
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What is Bare Minimum Parenting?
I am well aware that the term ‘bare minimum’ may have a negative connotation.
If someone is doing the bare minimum at work, for example, they are doing the very least they can to get a paid check without getting fired.
Here is where bare minimum parenting is different.
When I use this term, I am not referring to spending less time taking care of your kids, loving them any less, or only providing them what they need to live and breathe.
Bare minimum parenting is about only focusing on what REALLY matters, and stripping out all the junk that we worry about that does not matter.
When I refer to bare minimum parenting, I am referring to a parenting style where you stop stressing about fancy birthday parties, expensive gifts, screen time limits, if they had a bath yesterday or the day before, and all the other things that parents think about that frankly do not matter.
I am not saying don’t ever do these things- just don’t stress about it.
Also read: 5 Things I Learned in my 20s vs 30s
Bare Minimum Basics: What Kids DO Need
Bare minimum parenting (or lazy parenting) is more of a mindset.
Take last Friday for example. I was exhausted after a week of work and family chaos.
A SWAT team wouldn’t have been able to pry me from my home. To be honest, I felt a little guilty at first that we weren’t doing a fun Friday activity.
All I had energy to do was order pizza, toss out some paper plates, and open a twist-off bottle of wine (fancy, I know).
My kids ran outside and grabbed a group of neighbors. They started a pick-up game of football, and my husband relaxed on our porch while they played. They needed baths, but it was late so we just cuddled on the couch and watched TV.
What I am getting at is that kids don’t need or even want well-thought out activities or fancy pinterest-inspired crafts.
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In bare minimum parenting, you strip out all the stuff that doesn’t matter (including the mom guilt for NOT going above and beyond), and you simply focus on these three things:
1) Making Kids Feel Loved
Affection, quality time, and open conversations are key to making your child feel valued and loved. Different kids have different “love languages“, and when you learn which of these your kid responds to you can best connect with them.
Nothing fancy about it.
In fact, they don’t even need hours of one on one time – read how 9 minutes a day is sufficient for making kids feel special.
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2) Letting them Explore Life in a Safe Environment
Yes, as a parent you have to keep your child safe.
Intervene when your child is going to hurt themselves or someone else, otherwise let them explore the world around them – physically and emotionally.
It is important to talk to your kids about these 5 important safety topics to prepare them for the world, too.
3) Giving them Space to Grow
Studies have shown many negative effects stem from parents hovering over their children.
If you want to raise resilient kids, they will need to learn how to experience life without the training wheels.
They may fall down or get in arguments with other kids, that is all part of life.
5 Benefits of Bare Minimum or Lazy Parenting
So, children need love, safety, and freedom.
Notice I did not say ‘happiness’. If your child feels valued, secure, and has room to grow, they will inevitably learn to be happy.
Don’t believe me? Learn how you can literally hardwire your kid’s mind for happiness here.
Bare minimum parenting and lazy parenting have 5 extraordinary benefits. Kids are:
When parents accept the bare minimum parenting style, kids learn valuable life skills.
Your kid asks for a snack and you reply, “you can go get one yourself” – you are teaching them to be more self-reliant.
It is said that Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before successfully inventing the the light bulb. When asked how it felt to fail 1,000 times, Edison simply said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention of 1,000 steps.”
If his mom said after the first try, “this is too hard, I will do it for you”, we may all be living in darkness.
Failure leads to innovation and resilience.
Kids of “lazy parents” understand the hard work that goes into things.
I started to have my 10 year old son take out the garbage when it gets full. He understands that the garbage doesn’t just magically disappear, and it is not a fun job.
He has learned to appreciate what he has and what his parents do starting at an early age.
My daughter demanded to go outside in the 50 degree weather wearing flip-flops.
I didn’t fight her. She froze and ran in to change.
Bare minimum parenting teaches children about natural consequences very quickly.
If a child is bored, a lazy parent doesn’t jump to the rescue.
Studies have actually linked boredom to creativity. One British study asked subjects to complete a creative challenge (coming up with a list of alternative uses for a household item). One group of subjects did a boring activity first, while the others went straight to the creative task. Those who were bored were more productive and efficient.
Learn the Beautiful Benefits of Boredom here.
Final Thoughts on Bare Minimum Parenting (aka Lazy Parenting)
In addition to the benefits bare minimum parenting has on kids, it allows parents to have more free time and less parenting guilt.
This goes full circle: A happy and relaxed parent, leads to a happy and relaxed child.
You think I am a lazy mom? Thank you, I take that as a compliment.
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