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Mom praises viral parenting tactic as she allows her kids to play by themselves: ‘Whole new world’

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A Mississippi mom who has raised her two boys with the help of a popular parenting concept is speaking out about how it’s shaped her family’s lives.

Laynah Rose Crawley, who calls herself “The Fun Homeschool Mom” on Instagram, said she first heard the term “sittervising” from Seattle-based mom Susie Allison, who wrote about it on her blog, “The Busy Toddler.”

“As soon as I heard her say it, it gave me permission to be hands-off with my kids,” Crawley told Fox News Digital.

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“And it was like, ‘Oh, [this is] opening a whole new world for me.'”

“Sittervising” is a combination of the words “sitting” and “supervising.” A blog post by Allison entitled, “Why you’ll find me sittervising,” has attracted attention among parents online ever since it was posted in 2022.

Crawley described the method as “allowing children to play independently in the same room as you without [the parents] getting involved in their play.”

The way Crawley has incorporated sittervising in her life over the years has developed, she said, as her two boys have grown.

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Crawley became a mom of two in 2018 when she adopted a toddler just months after giving birth to a son. 

Bryan coloring

“I didn’t know what to do with a toddler, and I didn’t know what to do with a newborn, so it was kind of like double newness for me,” Crawley said.

They were so demanding for a good reason. There are so many activities that we have to be so hands-on with. And then when I realized that play was something I could be hands-off with — that was a breakthrough moment.”

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When her boys were around the ages of 3 and 2, Crawley began sittervising to teach them independence. 

It also gave her a chance to rest for a period of time.

She would play with them for five or 10 minutes to establish a form of connection — an “emotional need” that Crawley highlights among her parenting methods.

Benjamin playing around the house

After playing with them for some time, Crawley takes a step back as the boys continue playing by themselves.

She also noted that the environment will change over time as the kids grow. 

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“There’s a quote that I love that says, ‘Control the environment, release a child.’ You can sittervise anywhere at any age as long as there are safety measures in place [or] a contained space.”

With independence comes freedom, said Crawley — and sittervising allows kids to play in fun, creative ways outside the boundaries that adults may construct.

Bryan playing outside

“They’re making up their own rules and societies, and they’re just learning so much about play when an adult doesn’t get involved.”

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Allowing her kids to experience some freedom and independence has paid off, said Crawley, as she’s noticed more confidence and creativity in them along with an improvement in speech and social skills. 

Bryan with goats

When her kids were younger, she found herself “getting burned out” regularly, she said, which is partly why she began using sittervising techniques.

Crawley said she feels like a “big kid mom” now that her boys, Bryan, 6, and Benjamin, 5, have gotten a little older.

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“There’s more distance, and they get more space,” she said. “They can even go to the neighbor’s house and I can see them in the front yard out the window.”

“So I guess sittervising kind of graduated into more and more space as they build their confidence and I build my confidence in them — knowing that they’re not getting into trouble.”

Crawley family on beach

Don Grant, PhD, a psychologist, researcher and national adviser for Healthy Device Management of Newport Healthcare in Los Angeles, California, told Fox News Digital that he feels sittervising could be useful to parents who need a break once in a while.

Parents should also be mindful of the importance of attachment theory, he said.

Crawley family photos

“This is just allowing your child to be able to see that you’re there,” he said. “This is very important, especially in those early years of building attachment.” 

“It’s important that your child can check in.”

“They’re thriving academically. They’re thriving physically and emotionally. And sittervising is just another way for them to thrive.”

— Laynah Rose Crawley

Grant said sittervising should comprise more than just a parent sitting near their child but without an awareness of what they’re doing; the parent needs to be observant and ready to hop into a situation if necessary.

When children look up, “all they need is reassurance,” he said. “This builds a very strong, secure attachment.”

He added, “And if the child looks up even just to check to make sure you’re still there, you make eye contact and smile.”

Grant agreed that sittervising can promote independence as parents let children be creative and imaginative on their own.

Crawley family photoshoot

Crawley said she has enjoyed seeing her boys grow in independent play.

“I just love watching them thrive in every way,” she said. 

sittervising children split

“They’re thriving academically. They’re thriving physically and emotionally,” she said. 

“And sittervising is just another way for them to thrive.”

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