From soccer practice to French, and then from that to piano class, and then later on there’s that school play that you have to go to, and also that meeting that you need to attend. Now if you could only find a way to shove at least two more hours in a twenty-four hour day, that’d be great. How many times did you feel so stressed and tired that you wanted to give up in the past month?
Words: Brigitte Evans
We rush everywhere, frantic and terrified that if we don’t put a million activities into one day, it will seem empty and our children won’t get the chance to experience all that we want them to. This kind of panicky haste to get everything done generally results in growing anxiety for the whole family, and it only contributes to the weakening of the family bond. So, what can we do about this phenomenon that plagues most of the modern world?
1. Don’t Plan Everything
It’s normal that we want our kids to have the best possible childhood, so most of us end up planning out even the tiny little details of their lives, leaving no room for spontaneity. While children need structure to grow up healthy, having their whole lives planned this way can feel downright oppressive at times. They don’t need ten different afterschool activities just to feel happy, and they aren’t missing out on anything. It’s not just about them either. Allow some free time for yourself, so you can breathe and do something on a whim.
2. Quality Over Quantity
When doing something, allow your family to really have the time to engage in it completely. Similarly to the previous point, you don’t need to be afraid of missing out. When you go on a vacation, there’s no need to see a million different things just so you could say you’ve seen them. Relax. Let the family come together and enjoy this one moment.
3. The Importance of Touch
Did you know that babies need a parent’s touch to stay healthy? The skin-to-skin contact is more than just about making them happy, it can soothe them and balance out their heart rate, breathing, and temperature. Slow parenting is about remembering to take time for these little moments, just to snuggle your children and let them feel your presence. To hug them, hold them, make them feel safe and loved. Small things, such as holding your kid’s hand, carrying your newborn in a warm baby carrier, kissing their forehead gently – all of these are important for their development, and help in establishing a strong bond between parent and child.
4. Small Moments
The most important moments are usually small, and we seldom notice them before they disappear. Ten years from now, your kid won’t remember whether the outfit you made for their birthday was perfect or not, they’ll remember that time when mom and dad stuffed their face with cake and laughed like crazy. Don’t let these moments get away from you because you’re too stressed to notice they’re happening.
5. Allow Your Children to Be Bored
Boredom is a pathway to creativity. Give your child some free time without directions about how the time must be spent, and let them explore. The boredom they feel will be almost like a puzzle to them, a problem that they need to find a solution to. Let them find their own ways of amusing themselves, and from that, new interests and curiosities can develop.
Develop a family tradition where you all just spend an occasional evening doing nothing other than talking and playing board games. A simple conversation can feel great, and it’s important to develop these little family quirks and routines that make your family unique. Simply let everyone be themselves, slow down for a bit, and enjoy the moment.