A SELF-CONFESSED “lazy parent” has revealed she never plays with her two-year-old daughter – and won’t ever say no to her.
Child development expert Dr Kristyn Sommer, 28, even claims mums and dads could HARM their child’s brains if they interrupt their playtime.
Child development expert Dr Kristyn Sommer, 28, pictured with her daughter Sienna, two, is a self-confessed “lazy parent”
The mum-of-one instead says children should be left to their own devices.
Kristyn lets her two-year-old Sienna set her own bedtime – and goes so far as to suggest “praise is poison”
The early-years expert, who lives in Queensland, Australia, shares her expert parenting tips on her TikTok channel – and has amassed a cult following of loyal mums.
Speaking to the Sun Online, she admitted she will often have a cup of coffee and relax while letting her child play.
She said: “I think we get this parental guilt that we should be constantly on, constantly interacting, constantly engaging, constantly stimulating them, constantly teaching them.
“And one of the biggest things I learned from a PhD in childhood development was that the key thing children need is to play – and they don’t have to play with anybody to do it.
“If they ask, sure, play with them. When you’ve got a baby, they do ask a lot, they do need a little bit of help to play.
“But as they grow, that playing is their learning experience. And it’s so engaging for them.
“So I think parents feel guilty that they’re not doing more, but sometimes doing less is helping your child’s brain more, because that play is learning.
“There’s no need to feel like you should get involved unless they ask you to get involved.”
Kristyn says getting too involved with kids while they’re playing “squashes” their creativity.
“By getting too involved with our children, trying to guide their process, we are enforcing our really logical approach to things on their very creative brains.
“Especially when it’s low-risk things like play, we don’t need to show them how to play, they’re going to do things their way.
“And they’re going to learn and experiment and have this really rich experience of exploring their creativity.
“But if you get involved at every step, you’re squashing that creativity.”
Kristyn calls her hands-off method “lazy parenting”.
She says it’s most effective when parents create a space where “you don’t have to monitor your child too closely – and you don’t have to constantly say no”.
Kristyn added: “Lets be honest, we all want that lazy second to have a cup of coffee, or read a book or whatever. And I do just that.
“Social interaction is exhausting for babies. Yes, they love it, but it’s really intense.
“So they need a little bit of calm time as well, where they can just zone in and focus on experiencing different things with their hands and mouth.
“It lets you have that space for lazy parenting, where you can just sit down and watch them and not feel guilty about not interacting with them because they are learning as they play.”
Sometimes doing less is helping your child’s brain more, because play is learning.
Dr Kristyn Sommer
Kristyn lets her two-year-old Sienna set her own bedtime
The early-years expert, who lives in Australia shares her expert parenting tips on her TikTok channelCredit: Tiktok/@drkristynsommer
Kristyn explained that parenting can be split into four styles, with the most-effective being authoritative parenting, also known as gentle parenting.
Under this philosophy, “fear and punishment” is replaced with “positivity and patience”.
When parenting, Kristyn tries not to say no to Sienna so she doesn’t feel “constantly in trouble”.
The mum-of-one added: “I try to make it so that I very rarely have to say ‘no’ to her because saying ‘no’ over and over just feels really negative, it feels like you’re constantly getting in trouble and like you can’t do anything which leads to more negative feelings and more frustration and then explodes.”
In situations where Kristyn has non-negotiable boundaries she talks to Sienna and explains her reasoning.
“Let’s say that we are getting into the car, we have to drive somewhere – we have to be clicked into the car at all times.
“And children do not want to get in the car, they do not want to get clipped into their car seat.
“So when the child fights you, you’ve got two options, right? You’ve got: ‘Alright, let’s get out and we’ll try again in five minutes’.
“Or we’ve got: ‘I hear that this is frustrating for you. I know you don’t want to get in the car seat, but we have to go somewhere. And you have to be in a safe place. I’m going to keep you safe. That’s my job.'”
I try to make it so that I very rarely have to say ‘no’ to her because saying ‘no’ over and over just feels really negative
Dr Kristyn Sommer
And instead of showering Sienna with praise when she abides by Kristyn’s rules, the mum saves encouraging words for when it is truly deserved.
She addressed her limited praise-giving technique in a TikTok video titled ‘is praise poison?’.
Kristyn told the Sun: “Imagine your boss moving the goalposts at work.
“Like sometimes the bar is really low, and you achieve it because like you’re amazing, great job.
“And then like sometimes the bar is really high. And you’re just like: ‘What this is the same piece of work, this is the same thing. Why is it not getting the same level of praise?’
“So holding that boundary and not kind of wavering from it, despite the fact that you’ll be met with some really big feelings and some tough arguments is what helps children understand what they can and can’t do.
“It keeps them from getting confused, which then leads to them getting upset.”
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