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Old 24.08.2011, 09:31
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Lazy parents make happy families

We were always nagging each other to get out of the house earlier and make the most of our day with the kids. Our son still wanted to play but we would tell him to get dressed and go somewhere.

The last year has seen me being very lazy. No scheduled activities at all. No swimming, turnen or skiing classes that we needed to get to on time and I have found our lives have been so much less stressful and happier.

Instead of trying to get out and organising something, we go out alone with the kids, give them our undivided attention, play with them and enjoy our precious time with them.

I was listening to my colleague just yesterday arranging tennis, swimming, ballet, horse riding and ice skating lessons for her kids and I was thinking that I should be doing this too.

I came accross this article this morning: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life...824-1j94e.html

How scheduled is your life? I didn't put my son into local kindergarten (first year) so we would have some flexibility on attendance. I didn't want him going there 5 mornings a week. We do try to teach things through play, like times tables, how things work and at the moment all about vege gardens. A lazy afternoon in the garden keeps my kids happier than a long day out.
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Old 24.08.2011, 09:44
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

Congratulations Marie, true wisdom. Anything forced, not having arisen from authentic need or desire from within, sooner or later is going to backfire, directly or indirectly.
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Old 24.08.2011, 09:45
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

What a lovely post. Made me think. Thank you.

But your title is misleading, as I would guess you are not a lazy parent at all, just rather you choose to fill in your children's time differently to others.
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Old 24.08.2011, 09:54
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Not lazy at all. Gives you and your kids time to think, daydream, reflect, and invent.
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Old 24.08.2011, 10:12
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

Brava, MarieZug, for just saying, "No" and enjoying life at home with your family! Children get so much out of the simplest things, like playing board games with their family, swinging on swings in the park, or coming up with ways to play with sticks, action figures, modeling clay and bubbles at the same time! Unfortunately, some don't receive the opportunity to do many activities like that due to their filled schedules. Your children will cherish these memories!
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Old 24.08.2011, 10:24
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

I have to say, we don't force our kids to do any extra-curricular activity if they don't want to. They both sing in a local children's choir and the youngest dances hip-hop, but they are both passionate about these. They took music lessons for a couple of years each, but discontinued after they lost interest and we weren't going to force them to continue if they weren't motivated.
I could never see the point in making your kids do this, that and the other, just to satisfy your own parental needs.
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Old 24.08.2011, 10:56
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

I was always made to do things...like golf for example . 3 times a week for several hours. couldnt go to bday parties etc etc. hated it at the time. now I love it cause Im good at golf .
Same with horseback riding, skilessons (started when 3 years old) and boxing.


So to be honest. I WILL make my kids one day do these things and then when they are old enough they can choose themselves if they want to continue or not. I really thank my parents for doing what they did cause i taught me to be sociable, extrovert, athletic (not any more ) new experiences etc etc) and I am NOT saying that it is not possible the other way around so well I guess we can agree to disagree
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Old 24.08.2011, 10:57
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

I agree....my parents forced me into many extra-curricular activities and extra schooling on the weekends. Made for an extremely unhappy childhood---still have nightmares.
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Old 24.08.2011, 11:07
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

I always thought the lazy parents were the ones who never played with their kids and instead dropped them off at all these extra-curricular activities.

The ones who aren't lazy actually do things with their children themselves even if the activities don't sound so exotic as riding lessons when the boasting occurs at the yummy-mummy coffee-mornings or the tennis club in the afternoon.
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Old 24.08.2011, 09:57
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

It probably depends somewhat on circumstances - the child, the house, the local environment,...
Our son wants a lot of attention and loves to be around people so for him nursery twice a week and now kindergarten is super - he gets to play with lots of people (and I get to actually do the housework!). He gets bored very fast if we're having a day in and not seeing anyone. But our daughter is very contented playing on her own or just with me and/or him. I'm only sending her to nursery so she can learn Swiss-German, otherwise I'd keep her home longer -in fact I've already kept her home longer than I did him.

I also reckon it helps if you are fortunate enough to have an actual garden with trees and grass where you can just be at home and potter about, or send the kids out by themselves like the author does. We have a south-facing balcony, so most of it is in the full sun most of the day and gets terribly hot. The local playground has no shade from 10.30 a.m. so not an option for afternoon excursions in 35C heat. (Lovely on a sunny winter's day though). And without a garden you can't send your two-year old out unaccompanied even in a lovely quiet area like ours. Not complaining, just saying it helps to have the right environment where you can be "lazy" - by the way I don't think looking after your child all day is being lazy, rather the opposite. Can't believe he called his book the Idle Parent, as if being with your children 24-7 was some sort of relaxing cop-out?! I always thought I was lazy for wanting the children to go and play with other kids so I can have some alone time!

Having said that, nursery for one child, kindergarten for the other and church are our only scheduled activities at the moment - we might add swimming together once everyone has settled back in. And I agree that a long day out can be very tiring for everyone!
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Old 24.08.2011, 09:58
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

I wouldnt say that a "lazy" parent is one that lets children play independantly- it is one of the bases of the Maria Montessori teachings.

Here are a few of her quotes, one of my favourite being:

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”

A person needs to be able to learn to entertain themselves - this is difficult to do when being driven from A to B to F every day.

But of course, talking to another mother yesterday, she wants her child "to have everything I never did..."

We all do the best we can.
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Old 24.08.2011, 10:03
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

Well said Marie!

The most important gift you can give your child is the gift of yourself.

If more parents could spend more quality time with their children there would definitely be fewer problems in this world. It's definitely the hardest job in the world.
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Old 24.08.2011, 10:05
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

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But of course, talking to another mother yesterday, she wants her child "to have everything I never did..."

We all do the best we can.
Funny, for me that would be a relaxed parent who lets me fail and does not scare the sh1t out of me telling me bad thing will happen to me if I do this or that...sorry I am in a funny mood today
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Old 24.08.2011, 10:10
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

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What a lovely post. Made me think. Thank you.

But your title is misleading, as I would guess you are not a lazy parent at all, just rather you choose to fill in your children's time differently to others.
Well said ecb. Lazy isnt the word - i think "relaxed" is more accurate. I dont have kids but my parents are extremely laid back when it comes to extra cirricular activities. I spent lots of quality time with them visiting aquariums, zoos, the public library and travelling when I was younger. I was never pushed into swimming/ballet/piano lessons. In fact, I asked for music lessons on my own accord. In my eyes, they encouraged alot of my interests rather than pushed.

Coming from such a laidback background, trust me - your kids will thank you in the future for giving them the space to breathe and enjoy being kids.
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Old 28.08.2011, 15:36
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

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We were always nagging each other to get out of the house earlier and make the most of our day with the kids. Our son still wanted to play but we would tell him to get dressed and go somewhere.

The last year has seen me being very lazy. No scheduled activities at all. No swimming, turnen or skiing classes that we needed to get to on time and I have found our lives have been so much less stressful and happier.

Instead of trying to get out and organising something, we go out alone with the kids, give them our undivided attention, play with them and enjoy our precious time with them.

I was listening to my colleague just yesterday arranging tennis, swimming, ballet, horse riding and ice skating lessons for her kids and I was thinking that I should be doing this too.

I came accross this article this morning: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life...824-1j94e.html

How scheduled is your life? I didn't put my son into local kindergarten (first year) so we would have some flexibility on attendance. I didn't want him going there 5 mornings a week. We do try to teach things through play, like times tables, how things work and at the moment all about vege gardens. A lazy afternoon in the garden keeps my kids happier than a long day out.
A lot of the "rushing children here and there" comes from the American culture. The so-called "having it all" syndrome. In Switzerland being a "laid-back parent" is nothing new. The idea that rushing children to a bunch of activities makes them...what? You fill in the blank. Children aren't postal packages to be dropped of and picked up at various points...Good for you that you have a better understanding of your life in relation to your children...
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Old 28.08.2011, 15:46
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

I think it's also important to teach kids how to entertain themselves (through art, reading, etc.) and to be content with simplicity so that they don't always feel the need for some form of "external stimulation" like video games or social activities. I think a child's interests should be discovered and then nurtured, rather than being something forced upon them. Besides, it seems that a lot of kids end up taking an aversion to what is forced upon them, so a parent's good intentions could easily backfire.

Raising kids never gets easy does, it?
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Old 28.08.2011, 15:50
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

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A lot of the "rushing children here and there" comes from the American culture.
Yes, it's probably similar to that competitive "Keeping up with the Joneses" mentality that is so prevalent in the US.

If your friends' kids are all in soccer and learning to play instruments (etc.), then you feel obligated to do the same with your kids. This is one more reason why I'm so glad that I won't be parenting in the States.
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Old 28.08.2011, 15:59
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

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Yes, it's probably similar to that competitive "Keeping up with the Joneses" mentality that is so prevalent in the US.

If your friends' kids are all in soccer and learning to play instruments (etc.), then you feel obligated to do the same with your kids. This is one more reason why I'm so glad that I won't be parenting in the States.
I know. But just because of some fad it does not mean you have to do the same..I have a couple of great US friends who parent completely differently than the trends there, reasonably, with a lot of parental envolvement, but having faith in their kids at the same time and not falling into the whole soccer mom bull, filtering out the mainstream push, while being quite inspirational to me, as a parent, with their ideas, freedom and wisdom, creativity. Parenting is mostly about improvising, anyways. Paying for courses or chaufering offsprings here and there means squat nothing about the quality of parenting the kids are getting, at the end.
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Old 28.08.2011, 18:14
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

I am not sure that the original topic is really specific to parents. I would think it is directly connected to the eternal discussion who is happier -- relaxed people who perhaps do not pack too many things into every day or over-driven personalities whose days are filled to the brim and calendars for the next few months... Most likely the answer is that it depends -- on personalities, what people drive utility from, also interconnected with the choice of the lifestyle, friends, and so on. Parenting style is just one of many facets of the life we try to live...

KTZV
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Old 28.08.2011, 19:16
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

One reason perhaps that growing up in Switzerland, providing you are not in a big city, is great. Many more opportunities to play in the fields or woods, by the lake, etc. My grand-children are growing up in Surrey, and it is so 'scheduled' and so many (too many) organised activities, clubs, classes, etc- constant dropping off and picking up. Here kids just say 'going to the football field, will be back for supper' - or 'to the woods' 'to the skating rink', to the local ski slope, etc.
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