“Hey kids! Today we’re going to do… absolutely nothing!” Imagine saying a sentence like that to your children, on the first or second day of your vacation. No schedules or deadlines, and if the urge to do something comes up, do it without rushing!
This kind of approach tends to relax both adults and children, because we tend to live hastily. We are always late, and there are too many events crammed into our calendars. We often involve our children in many of these events, organising entire days around them. This is why we always tend to look for activities to do with the kids, making them an obstacle to our “adult” lives. As we are in a rush, we tend to do what our kids need to learn to do, from filling their school bags to tying their shoelaces. Doesn’t it feel like we are sucked into a whirlwind?
Let’s get back to slow parenting: it’s going to seem super weird at first, for both you and the children, that’s for sure! Having nothing to do will lead to the onset of boredom! And it will be hard to deal with. But then, out of that darkness, a spark of joy will ignite! Creativity and imagination will lead your children to fill their time in a fun way, and they will do it at their own pace. They will make up activities, come up with stories, and have the times of their lives!
Magic? No! It’s slow parenting!
Slow parenting explained
Slow parenting is a choice that consists of relieving your children of the stress that can come from having so much to do. The goal is to let children live life at their own pace, exploring the world and interacting with each other and with us adults.
Precisely for this reason, the choice of slow parenting helps to strengthen the parent-child relationship and decrease stress levels in the family. And that benefit alone should be enough to justify choosing this parenting style… but there’s more!
How to pack for slow parenting?
Have you thought about this parenting approach? If you are considering it, here is some advice: start while the family is on vacation. It’s easier to slow down the rhythms and find moments of relaxation in a period that is naturally less stressful.
To prepare for your slow vacation, here are a few suggestions to take with you:
- Boredom? Don’t worry, you may feel it, but it will be a temporary state. Something will come along to chase it away. It could be any activity (drawing, building something, cooking), or it could be a board game designed to raise awareness of environmental issues among children! In our catalog there are games for the young and old, focusing on the importance of waste collection. Our games are inspired by everyday themes like water, recycling and electricity and their impact on the environment!
- We live surrounded by the complexity of relationships and things. Why not rediscover the simple things in life? Bake, draw, or collect some shells during a walk on the beach!
- Slow parenting helps you understand what the important things are. You will discover that objects are not so important, and that what really matters is the time spent together building memories!
- Start disconnecting! Cell phones, tablets, televisions and computers are very useful devices, but they are also natural carriers of unwanted stimuli and stress. Shall we try to reduce their use?
- Since you have “disconnected” from the digital world, why don’t you get out of the house? Living in contact with nature is good for the mind and body: you’ll find that observing nature’s rhythms will help you slow down your own and regain harmony.
- Long live slow routines! But careful: slow parenting does not mean not having rules or routines! It just means adapting to a flow of time that is more compatible with your children.
If your kids are comfortable with having a routine, don’t deprive them of it! Build a thinned-out routine in which fewer (but more meaningful) things happen.
Try to build a routine to follow during the vacation season. And if you don’t get everything done…? Does it matter? You’re on vacation, right?
- Take a walk in the morning and let the kids set the pace (remember to watch them dwell on the smallest details of the environment).
- Do a crafting activity as a family, but also allow the children to play on their own, so you have some free time for yourself.
- Try starting something new: collect rocks during a walk, or start a photo album of pictures taken by your children…. find new habits related to a calmer flow of time and possibly a deeper connection with nature.
Try to do as suggested and discover how much is hidden in the little things. You’ll find that moments lived slowly will be less stressful and turn into the most lasting memories.
Finally, you’ll discover that if everyone lives at their own pace, everyone has more time to devote to themselves. While the children are busy inventing new games, reading a book or simply resting, you’ll rediscover pleasant moments to devote to your passions.
How fast do kids run?
Sometimes they run very fast, while other times they stay quiet and silent. What is certain is that they have their own rhythm. We must learn to follow this rhythm, for their sake and also for ours.
Here is a series of tips and ideas to start letting the little ones have their own time:
- Encourage them to do nothing. This will be difficult at first, as modern life has made us all a little intimidated by silence and by the fear of having nothing to do. Within time, children will learn that time spent doing nothing is never time wasted! Of course the same is true for adults too!
- Let them do their thing: when they are immersed in an activity that amuses them or that absorbs all their attention, don’t interrupt them.
- Forget about each other’s time. If for whatever reason the kids don’t want to be alone, give them time and let them give you time when you need it. Again, it’s not essential to have something to do… mutual companionship can be the greatest reward!