Forever rushing around? Not enough hours in the day? Are you over the frantic frenzy of life? Perhaps Slow Parenting holds the key to finding the holy grail we all seem to seek....a quality life with more time and balance.
Carl Honore first coined the phrase in his book, ‘Under Pressure’ in 2008. Slow parenting, in a nutshell, is all about letting children live slower-paced and simpler lives, so they can discover the world at their own pace.
It’s about stepping back to allow kids to work things out for themselves, play freely, and not rely too much on instruction from others.
It’s about slowing down to find time to enjoy the magical moments childhood offers and seeing the value of making meaningful connections rather than focusing on consumer goods and services.
Let children discover the world at their own pace
Slow Parenting (also called Simplicity Parenting) has rapidly gained popularity in recent years. A plethora of popular books, blogs and podcasts generated a conversation on the topic. The outcome - more and more people are opting into the concept of slow and simple.
Slow Parenting is a reaction to our fast-paced lives. Both parents work in most New Zealand families. The working week is long - the 40 hour working week seems to be a thing of the past. We have less opportunity to switch off due to smartphones and IPads. Commuting times are longer.
Our children may attend numerous extra-curricular activities. Not to mention we still need to perform our household duties and take care of our children - wash them, feed them, educate them, make them feel loved!
It’s no wonder many families are left feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and like their lives are in constant chaos.
Many families are left feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and like their lives are in constant chaos
Foster Cline and Jim Fay first coined the phrase ‘Helicopter Parent’ in 1990 to describe mothers and fathers who were “over-involved” in their children's lives. They over-schedule their children in activities and involve themselves in all aspects of their child's life, hoping to give their child the greatest chance to be the best they can be.
Whilst Helicopter Parenting comes from a good place many experts now argue that this approach puts too much pressure on a child. It also doesn't give kids the time and space they need to work things out for themselves, or to find out who they are.
It had also been suggested that Helicopter Parents, drained by their mammoth efforts, miss opportunities to slow down and simply connect with their children in intimate and meaningful ways.
Helicopter Parenting doesn't give kids the time and space they need to work things out for themselves
Supporters of Slow Parenting say it takes the stress out of parenting, that their child's experience of growing up is a calmer, more positive and connected experience. They enjoy savoring special times with their children. They say that by stepping back, to allow their kids to have free time and free play, their children are developing skills such as self-direction, innovation and creativity.
Take the stress out of parenting
The idea of a family living simply and slowly is not a modern conception. If anything, in days gone by, it was perhaps the norm. At some point, perhaps among the greed of the 1980's or the conspicuous consumption in the 90's, this lifestyle seemed to be replaced. However, many people in today’s society are now wondering why this happened and what was the cost?
A decade ago Slow Parenting was seen as an alternative parenting approach. Today its fundamental ideas seemed to have entered mainstream psyche. Parents are cutting back on plastic toys and no longer scheduling numerous co-curricular activities. Playing with wooden toys, nature play and simply hanging out as a family are now desired pass times.
The ever-increasing pace of life and the integration of technology in our day-to-day existence means people unplugging and choosing time, and meaningful connections and experiences, over acquiring wealth and material goods.
Environmental issues has also led to an understanding that less is more and future-focused educators point to a new skill set for the future generation - one that requires self-direction, innovation and creativity.
If you like the idea of recapturing a slower, simpler existence adapted for 21st century living then maybe trying out some of the ideas behind Slow Parenting appeals?
Slow down family life by reducing the amount of scheduled actvties for your children.
To be able to work less and slow down your life decrease your financial demands by turning your back on excessive consumerism
Slow down so you can spend more time connecting with others. Show an interest in and gain an understanding of others people's lives, your community, your culture and the world in general to be able to make meaningful connections.
Step back and allow your child to make some of their own decisions.
Give your child the time and space to explore their world at their own pace.
Slow down and spend more time with family and friends, embrace your relationships with these special people and recognize how important they are.
Encourage your kids to simply go outside and play, to make their own fun, to play with others.
Slow down, relax, fill your house with fun and laughter.
Be an idle parent, leave your kids alone, don't feel guilty about putting your feet up.
Slow down, be in the moment, be in the present. Don't think about yesterday or tomorrow. Just sit, be, see and feel the world around you.
Slow down, spend more time as a family outside, embracing nature and feeling connected to the world in general.
Slow down, enjoy life, work out what really matters.
Give your child simple materials to play with and watch them imagine, create and enjoy.
Slow down, learn to say no more often so you can say yes to family time.
Let children overcome some of their own problems.
Encourage your child to use their imaginations rather than give them too many toys that do the work for them.
Slow down, reconsider your to do list, embrace mess. Don't push towards an imagined, perfect future but love the moment your in, be grateful for what you have right now.
Let your children take some risks and learn from their mistakes.
Give your child the time and space to work out who they are, not what you want them to be. Celebrate their uniqueness.
Slow down, work less, remember time is more important than money.
Let your child to play more naturally, restrict the time spent watching TV and using other technologies. Or unplug from technology all together.
the one who thinks you need to be doing more to 'succeed'. You will never satisfy her. So don't even try. Instead reconsider your definition of success.
Spend Less. Live More.
don’t place impossible expectations on your child, they are not a trophy or a project, they are themselves, give them enough comfort to be themselves and watch them fly.
Enjoy (and it's ok to enjoy yourself and do things for you, guilt free!)
Slow down, take every chance you have. Lie in bed, have a nap, guilt free! We are all happier when we are not tired. It's not just babies who get grizzly.
Snail Mail Stories was born out of the desire of a busy mother to find a way to slow down once in a while and enjoy spending quality time and making a meaningful connection with her daughter.
She saw how excited her child got when she received an envelope in the post one morning. Such a simple thing, and yet - the envelope prompted them to stop what they were doing to snuggle up and explore the contents together - a mini adventure. The value of introducing snail mail into a child’s life was realised.
Our monthly envelopes are delivered to your door and contain all the bits and bobs your child needs for their mini adventure. Receiving our envelopes prompt whanau to slow down and connect.
Our open-ended, hands-on questions, crafts and activities encourage kids to unplug and discover the world around them, in their own way, at their own pace. Our nature-based themes, plastic free contents and focus on up-cycling teaches kids to learn and play in a sustainable way. We foster a love of reading and writing and our two-way pen pal service adds a meaningful and personal touch.
Tempted to give Slow Parenting a try? If so good luck in your new adventure!
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