You may have seen the phrase “sittervising” thrown around in recent parenting-related TikTok or Instagram posts. Sittervising, or sitting while watching your children play, is exactly what it sounds like. This puts some beneficial space between you and your kid. You aren’t hovering over them, but you’re also not letting them develop their independence as they play. Did we say relaxing and sitting down is a big part of it? Win-win.

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The term “sittervising” was created by Busy Toddler blogger and mother of three Susie Allison. She had the idea of sittervising while relaxing on her couch with a mostly warm cup of coffee and watching her child play. She was sitting and monitoring the kids at the same time, so she called it “sittervising” in jest to her husband.

It wasn’t long before she uploaded an essay on her blog and discussed the phrase on social media. And then sittervising became viral without her knowing it, and the rest is history.

To what extent does Sittervising function?

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Allison explains that “sittervising” means parents aren’t expected to monitor their kids’ every waking moment. She also notes that it benefits adults as much as children. Sittervising allows children the uninterrupted free-play time they need to learn via play.

This frees up time that adults can use to catch up on sleep or get work done, reducing their overall stress and protecting them from burnout. It’s implied that the parent will be seated, but they need not actually do so.

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The term “sittervising” can be used as a catch-all for any situation in which a parent voluntarily leaves their children unattended to play. Not all “visits” involve doing nothing more active than sitting, but “laundry-visits,” “email-visits,” and “cooking-visits” just didn’t sound as fun.

Whatever form sittervising takes for you, it’s a time to let go of “mom guilt” and refuel in the knowledge that you’re doing something that benefits everyone. When Allison is well-rested, she can parent more effectively.

The Positive Effects of Sittervising on Kids

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Sittervising is great for kids since it teaches them responsibility and independence. Children can enjoy a sense of independence and freedom while still being supervised by a trusted adult or caregiver when they engage in sittervising.

Children with neurodiversity often benefit from this skill the most because they are still developing their capacity for independent play and may benefit from having a parent close by. It’s also helpful for kids who are just starting to explore the world but are still dealing with separation anxiety. If kids are not quite ready to play independently, this could be a great compromise.

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Sittervising is a crucial part of children’s development since it allows them to learn to play independently while still interacting with their community. Children benefit from having more independence to explore their surroundings when they are allowed to play without constant parental supervision or interference.

The Value of Babysitting for Working Parents

Not all parents are lazy, and sittervising is an option. You don’t have to be “on” all the time to be a good parent. This doesn’t imply you never play with your kids. While playing with children is an important part of bonding with them, it need not (and should not) take up all of a parent’s time.

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The benefits of this in developing a positive rapport with your children are substantial. In contrast to desiring to be totally independent or requiring to be close to their parents at all times, the most secure kinds of attachment occur when children are able to go to and from their parents comfortably.

Put another way, sittervising can help kids feel more secure in their relationships with their parents, which is a major factor in their growth and development. Most importantly, sittervising can protect parents from parental burnout, which is characterized by exhaustion, sadness, and even depersonalization on the part of the caregiver. Sittervising frees up parents from constantly guiding or directing their kids’ playtime. A few quiet moments here and there can do wonders for relieving stress in busy parents’ lives.

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Sittervising is a novel concept for many parents, but more seasoned caregivers claim they’ve been doing it long before the term was coined. However, taking a break to watch your kids play is a great way to reduce the pressures of parenting. In addition, children benefit from having unstructured time to play, discover, and socialize. However, not every family needs or wants a sittervisitor. Please see your child’s pediatrician or a child therapist if you have any concerns about how to supervise your child as they play.