‘Sittervising’ Is the Micro Parenting Trend We All Need to Lean into Right Now

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It’s been a helluva year for parents. And with RSV, Covid and the flu currently raging, this winter is looking like yet another tough season for caregivers. In fact, as I’m writing this, I have one kid home with a fever and the other finishing school early because of the holiday concert. But am I freaking out about my towering work, laundry and mental load? No, I am not. Because from today onwards I am embracing sittervising.

Allow me to explain: Sittervising was coined by former teacher Susie Allison who introduced the term on her Busy Toddler Instagram page. A portmanteau of sitting and supervising, the concept is pretty self-explanatory, but in today’s age of overparenting and mom guilt, the act of sittervising is practically revolutionary.

But as Allison explains, taking a step back and letting kids be kids is crucial for your and their wellbeing.

“Kids need play without adults,” she captioned a video of her kids playing with hula hoops and climbing on a play structure. “Adults need time to recharge from kids ... Sittervising is a good thing.”

Allison’s clip has over 10,000 likes and #sittervising has garnered 80,000 views on TikTok.

Of course, there’s nothing new about the act of supervising your kids without interacting with them. Parents have been doing this since the beginning of time. But in recent years, with the rise of helicopter and snowplow and jetski parenting (OK, we made that last one up), the idea that parents can just take a step back and not monitor their child’s every move feels quite novel. And while the aforementioned parenting terms are very much a trend, “sittervising” is what we’d like to call a microtrend… and one that we’re urging parents to embrace over the next few weeks (and beyond!) as more kids stay home due to holidays and illness.

“You do not need to hover over kids while they play OR feel like you absolutely must be playing with them at all times,” writes Allison. “You can supervise kids from a seated position.”

But here’s the key thing about sittervising—you have to sit back, let your kid do their thing and not feel guilty about it. It truly is OK if your baby spends 30 minutes playing with a toilet paper roll. Your toddler will be just fine wandering around the playground by herself (within your view, of course). Let your preschooler “read” by himself—you don’t need to rush over and sound out the letters to help him on the path to kindergarten success.

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of sittervising. How? Set up an activity for them or don’t. Let your kid know that you’ll be stepping away for a few minutes or just let it happen organically. Set a time limit for it or see how long your offspring can go. There’s no right or wrong here (I fully plan on sittervising later while lying horizontally on my couch), but just sit back and let your kids be. Now, will someone please pass me my coffee?

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...