Slow Parenting & Why You Should Try It
Back in the day, I’m willing to bet, my parents had no idea that their “slow parenting” would become a coveted parenting trend almost 30 years later. I remember growing up in the 90’s and playing outside for hours on end. My friends and I would spend our days in the fresh air, exploring and making our own fun. It was slow paced and glorious. These days everything moves so quickly and so much is expected of kids and parents alike. I know multiple kids, who I’m pretty sure are in, like, 20 different activities at a time and fairly certain their parents have cloned themselves in order to make it all happen. I’m sitting here giggling as I write this, envisioning them moving at the speed of light from practice to practice. No judgment though! I just don’t know how they do it!
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So what’s the deal with this slow parenting thing and what’s so great about it? Basically, it’s the idea that you allow your kids to move at their own pace. It’s letting them be bored so they can build their own creativity. Or allowing them free play time so they can be satisfied with their own achievements, as opposed to being told exactly what to do, and whether it’s up to a certain standard. It’s basically what our parents did when we were younger but in today’s hustle and bustle, it’s now a little less common and we’ve slapped a label on it. So, here are some tips on how to slow parent, and what the benefits are.
Let Them Explore Their Creativity
Allow your kids to be satisfied with their own achievements. Have you ever seen the excitement on a toddlers face when they hand you a picture they colored? My son often hands me pictures of “trucks.” To an outsider, it’s a circle and squiggly line, but to him it’s a multicolored monster truck with a lift kit, and to me, it’s perfect! Allowing him the freedom to explore his own creativity without limitations, let’s him build confidence in his abilities.
Limit Tv Time
I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of this one. Tv is an easy out when I’m trying to get the dishes, laundry and everything else under the sun, done at home. But limiting the tv time really is important to letting kids develop skills to occupy themselves. Making a conscious effort to limit screen time (I’m raising my hand too) will force them to be bored, explore their creativity and create problem solving skills, which will definitely come in handy later on in life. Plus there’s a lot of junk on tv now that might expose them to stuff that isn’t kid appropriate.
Spend More Time In Nature
Getting outside in the fresh air has so many benefits. They’ll get a little vitamin D, they’ll get exercise, they can explore and quite frankly there’s nothing like getting up close and personal with nature.
Less Scheduled Activities
This one is for the kids but also definitely takes a load off you too mama! Slow parenting is all about not having a gazillion scheduled activities. Running from party to party and practice to practice doesn’t allow time to actually enjoy the activities while you’re there. It just means you’re thinking about the next thing you have to do and that’s no fun! Plan one or two things (or none!) and take time to truly enjoy them. Plus you get more time as a family and there’s nothing better than spending quality time with your favorite tribe!
Let Them Take Risks
Unfortunately, life has risks involved. Allowing them to take chances (within reason!) let’s them define what is good and bad. This allows them to build “street smarts” so they can have a little common sense and hopefully make wise decisions later on in life.
Be Mindful but Not Intrusive
I get it, allowing little people freedom is scary because there’s a possibility they may make the wrong decisions. That’s why it’s good to be mindful of what they’re doing without actually being intrusive. For example, sometimes I allow my boys to hang out in their playroom uninterrupted while I do chores around the house. And sometimes, it sounds like a baby fight club going on, so obviously I will go peek around the corner and check on them, to make sure there’s still drywall on the walls and no one has any black eyes. 99% of the time, everything is A-Okay and they’re just loud. So, carry on kiddos! Even though I know that most of the time they are playing perfectly fine, I have to be mindful of the fact they COULD be behaving poorly, so I obviously need to keep an open ear.
This goes without saying, make sure to slow down and listen to what they have to say. Communication is key!
Leave Subtle Invitations For Activities
I feel like this would be more for kids who are a little older, but I still feel it’s important to note. If you feel as if your kid is taking the boredom aspect a little too far, you can always leave subtle invitations for activities. If they happen to not be doing anything constructive, you can always subtly leave a book or a puzzle out in their view. Or maybe even play some music to get the juices flowing. Either way, a subtle nudge never hurt anyone!
Benefits of the Slow Parenting Style
- Builds Confidence
- Builds Independence
- Allows Kids to be More Accepting of Outcomes
- Helps Them Remain Calm in Stressful Situations
- Develops Problem Solving
- Improves Decision Making
- Helps Build Creativity
In this fast paced, day and age, consumed by back to back activities, screen time, and video games, doesn’t it sound like a lovely idea to slow down and get back to the basics? I love the idea of exposing my children to the simpler times that I had when I was a kid and how to be truly entertained by a little creativity and exploration. And if anything mama, this gives you an excuse to have a weekend with limited plans, and a little less stress.
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