Why I let my kids skip school

While most employers want you to take the day off if you are physically ill, mental health days aren’t always looked at the same way.

With my kids I often encourage them to go to school with a case of the sniffles or a nagging cough. I use the old, ‘tell your teacher if you are feeling sick and they will call me to get you’ schtick knowing full well that they will forget about wanting to stay home once they are surrounded by their friends and the fun of school.

Yet when it comes to mental health I tend to take a different approach. In my opinion and my personal experience, when your mental health is suffering you are not going to be productive or receptive to learning new information.

While weekends may be the ideal time to recharge your batteries, with birthday parties, errands and three busy little girls I find the weekends busier than ever.

Taking time to reconnect

So when I notice one of my kids needing a little boost, I will usually take a day just for the two of us. This past week I noticed a need in my middle daughter. She had been especially crabby after school and I could just tell she was exhausted. The demands of full-day senior kindergarten coupled with after-school activities and a lingering cough had taken her toll and she needed a break.

So when it came time to get ready for school the next morning I gave her a free pass. One of the things my kids like the best about days off, whether it is the weekend or one of their special ‘bonus days’, is the ability to spend their entire day in their pajamas. Even if we go out I will still let them rock a princess nightgown and mismatched bottoms. After all, they are only kids once.Before I know it they will be embarrassed to be seen with me.

Our day off

Our days off usually follow the same sort of formula. We spend part of the day cleaning up the house and striking items off of my to-do list and then we get to do something fun together.

Our latest adventure consisted of cleaning a new to us couch, getting a happy meal (and a very large coffee) and going on the hunt for an out of season winter jacket.

Some days we spend alone at home snuggling on the couch and watching some terrible shows on Netflix. We spend time cuddling, unwinding, and de-stressing.

We get to spend some much needed one-on-one time together and they are able to face the next day of school energized and refreshed.

Mental health breaks benefit everyone

Taking care of my kid’s mental health is a great reminder to also take time for myself. As much as I am needed to take care of my family, if I am not also taking care of myself everything will fall apart. So, as I sip my wine and soak in the tub I am not wasting away my Friday night, but instead taking a great step towards better mental health.

 

Why having a lazy parent has benefited my kids

Doing less for my kids now will pay off in the future

Most parents find themselves wondering if they are doing enough for their children, but how many question if they are doing too much? After all, our job as parents is to prepare our kids for the future, but are we actually teaching them how to be independent or just becoming their personal slaves?

My husband and I chose to have our kids extremely close together. In the beginning my kid’s ability to be independent was a necessity, but as they grew I realize just how much this skill set has actually benefited my kids. After all, the job of a parent isn’t to do for our children, but rather teach them to do for themselves. Take a look at five ways being a ‘lazy parent’ has helped me raise independent kids.

Dress up-As soon as my kids were able to toddle I encouraged them to dress themselves and rewarded them for doing so. I understand how frustrating it is to watch your  little one struggle to put on a single shoe for five minutes when all you want to do is get out the door, but it will pay off later.

As my children got older, I gave them the freedom to choose their clothing in exchange for them dressing themselves.   They have come up with some questionable outfits, but as long as it is in season and it fits properly, it’s good to go.

Pack up-One of the biggest complaints among parents of school-aged kids is the complete torture of packing lunches. Not only do you have to compete with the Pinterest worthy animal-shaped gluten free lunches posted in the mom groups, but you also have to figure a way to pack a healthy, litter-free, allergen-free lunch your child will actually eat.

You are set up to fail in this scenario.

As soon as my kids were able to eat solids, they started helping me in the kitchen. As soon as my oldest started school, she started making her lunch. She was allowed to choose what went into her lunch as long as there was one veggie or fruit, one treat and a sandwich. Of course I still passively participated in this process, but by making her lunch herself she was far more likely to eat it. #momwin

Clean  up-As a busy mother of three, I see cleaning as less of a chore and more of a necessity. Battling the mess was a daily struggle. I remember I was at a parenting group and we had a guest speaker who spoke about the importance of rest for parents. She encouraged us to clean during the day and make sure to get downtime once we put the kids to bed. As a result from a young age my girls not only watched me clean, they got in on the act. In fact, they would fight over the chance to take a bottle of water and vinegar and wash the cupboards or sweep the floor. As the years progressed, cleaning just became part of our daily routine. Their rooms are expected to stay tidy and they put their own clothes in the laundry room when dirty and in the proper drawers when clean. I know many teenagers who still haven’t mastered this skill.

Make up-The only thing crazier than having three kids under three in our house is the knowledge that one day we will have three teenage daughters living under our roof.

f&*k…

The only way to deal with the tantrums, crying and arguments that are bound to happen in the future, is to take a hands-off approach in the present.  While my kids love to fight, (I have seen some epic blow-outs) unless there are extreme circumstances, I am not getting involved. My kids are learning conflict resolution, tolerance and not to be a tattle tale because I frankly don’t want to spend my day figuring out who took whose toy first.

Sleep up-One of the biggest wins as a parent was finding a punishment that works for my kids and for myself. When my kids misbehave my go-to punishment is almost always the same: early bedtime. This is actually genius because I know that when my kid starts acting out they need extra sleep but they hate the idea of going to bed. This is one punishment that I never feel guilty throwing out and I love following through on. The kid who needs extra sleep gets it and the other kids get more attention for behaving well.

While I may be lazy in my parenting method, I only have my kid’s best interests at heart. If they can grow up to know how to care for themselves, they may even consider moving out one day rather than living in our basement well into their 30’s.

Well, a parent can dream.