Have you heard of this new movement called “Slow Parenting”. I was first introduced to the idea a month ago when a mom wrote an article on opting for a “Slow Parenting” summer. The idea was intriguing. The main concept is to slow down in this very busy planned world we all live in. It’s an opposition to overscheduling and overstressing a child with too many “enrichment” classes/activities.
Just 2 weeks ago, the Boston Globe posted an article about slow parenting, and it sums up this counter-cultural approach so well:
“I encourage parents to take some time to just watch their children, whether they are playing, doing homework, or eating a snack,” [John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent] says. “Take a moment to drink them in. Remember and remind yourself how remarkable your children are. That pause alone, even if momentary, can drive a shift in the pace”…
“These days when everyone is so busy, we need to be intentional about making space for family time…” Family time, says Contey [cofounder of Slow Family Living] is different for all of us. “You might say, ‘we’re all here on Thursday mornings, so let’s make a leisurely pancake breakfast’; or one night a week take a walk in the dark before bed. Something like that can feel really special and the kids will remember it as they get older”…
We went to 1 outing in the morning for 1/2 an hour and besides that we just went at Chunky Monkey’s pace, enjoying things big and small around our house. He played with some “typical” play things, like play dough and finger paint. But the best part was probably when he was just exploring our house without any agenda (and I was along for the ride!).
He sat on the stairs for a really long time, practicing turning around and moving up and down. I was right there for safety, but normally I would have missed all of this because I just want him to go up or down and get where we are going. He wandered in and out of our closet, bringing out various pairs of mom/dad’s shoes for me to “put on” him (I use that term loosely). And he went in small areas of the room to “hide” from me and giggled hysterically each time I found him. I hung on every giggle wishing I could somehow mentally record the sound and never forget it.
It was SO much fun! I found myself really actually present with him. And I realized there are many moments in a day where I am just trying to have him be busy so I can talk to a friend, on a play date.
I also enjoyed the opportunity to fully take in the little man he is becoming. I really got to observe how his large motor coordination is developing and marveled at the things his eyes and hands were eager to explore.
If you take a day, or a season, to really focus on slow parenting, I’d love to hear about it.:-) Looking for other summer ideas? Check out this article on 4 Reasons to Garden With Your Young Children.