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Being a helicopter parent to my kids was driving me insane — then I discovered ‘sittervising’ on TikTok

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In April, mom of two Laynah Rose was so sick that she felt like she was dying

At the same time, her active toddlers Bryan, 5, and Benjamin, 4, were clinging to her hip, expecting mommy to get down on the rug with them and make up an endless series of fun games to play. An overwhelmed Rose, then suffering from an unyielding sinus infection, desperately needed a break.

So, she turned to “Sittervising.”

“Sittervising is when the kids are occupied with something or playing independently, and the parents can watch hands-off, without being involved in the activity,” Rose, a 31-year-old digital content creator from southern Mississippi, explained to The Post. 

“It gives mothers and fathers the opportunity to rest while they supervise their kids,” she added.

Rose, with husband Matthew and sons Bryan and Benjamin, says Sittervising has improved her life as a mom and wife.
Rose, with husband Matthew and sons Bryan and Benjamin, says sittervising has improved her life as a mom and wife.
Rachel Nichols

First coined by Instagram-famous “Busy Toddler” blogger Susie Allison in 2018, sittervising is a combination of the words “sitting” and “supervising.” It’s having a moment with parents burnt out from dealing with kids during the pandemic and the exhausting model of helicopter parenting, which has moms and dads neurotically hovering over their offspring at every waking moment. On TikTok, posts tagged #Sittervising have amassed nearly 75,000 shares.

“I sittervise every day,” Rose said with a laugh. Initially, Rose would leave her tots to their own playtime strategies for 10 minutes each day, then gradually increased that time. She’s now able to carve out a full hour of uninterrupted, much needed “me” time.

“Before, I never took breaks for myself, and I’d get burnt out and cranky,” confessed the married brunette. “But now that my kids are doing something on their own every day, I get my sanity back and they’re learning problem-solving skills, social skills and developing through creativity.”

Favorite “sittervising” activities include giving her boys popsicle baths — popping them in a warm tub and giving them ice pops to enjoy while she peacefully watches nearby — or sending them on scavenger hunts for specific items in their toy chests as she reclines.

While the benefits for mom and dad are obvious, Allison told The Post that sittervising is also great for kids. Child’s play sans adult intervention can also offer children as young as six months old the chance to experience autonomy while honing lifelong skills such as risk-management, social interaction, healthy communication, sharing, empathy and self-sufficiency. 

“When a mom or dad is constantly involved in playtime, the adult [inadvertently] takes away the child’s opportunity to develop those skills because they’re the ones communicating, problem-solving, critical-thinking and being creative,” said Allison, an author and homeschooling mom of three from Seattle, Wash. 

“Sittervising is an amazing two-for-one [parenting system],” she added. “It allows us to take care of ourselves and our jobs while our children gain important skills that they’ll use their entire lives.”

Allison says Sittervising can help kids develop important tools and skills needed in adulthood.
Allison says sittervising can help kids develop important tools and skills needed in adulthood.
Susie Allison

Still, some digital detractors on TikTok have dubbed the trend “bulls–t,” arguing that moms shouldn’t need a term like “sittervising” in order to justify reposing. Others bashed the fad as nothing new, insisting that their baby boomer parents hardly ever played with them during childhood. And some on Twitter trolled moms of the movement for “quiet quitting” from their parenting posts.

However, despite its emphasis on “sitting,” Allison insists her mothering model has nothing to do with being lazy. 

“It’s not neglectful or lazy parenting. It’s parenting with a purpose,” she said, noting that while the kids are entertaining themselves moms and dads can tackle household chores or professional work duties, rather than cramming in those tasks during nap time. 

“As a parent, I have value and I need to do my job,” said Allison. “And my child has value and needs to do their job of playing.”

Allison, with an Instagram following of nearly 2 million, is a mom to three kids ages 9, 7 and 6.
Allison, with an Instagram following of nearly 2 million, is a mom to three kids ages 9, 7 and 6.
Susie Allison

Manhattan child and family therapist Liz Morrison agrees that sittervising can be beneficial for kids and adults. But she urges sittervisors to be mindful of how they spend their time while the little ones play alone. 

“It’s important that parents aren’t just sitting on their phones or playing videos or music on [apps],” Morrison said. “If you’re on your phone the kids will eventually realize that you’re totally disengaged from them, and that could have a [negative] effect.”

Instead, she suggested kicking your heels up and relaxing without the distraction of screens, or taking care of things around the house like cooking dinner and folding laundry.

Rose often maximizes her respite by testing out a new hairdo or playing around with makeup, and said sittervising has made her a better parent to her sons.

“Now, I have more patience with them and when I do play with them it’s because I want to [not because I feel like I have to],” she said. “I’m involved and I’m loving and I’m more fun because I’m rested.”

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