“How can we fit play into our hectic schedules?”
Some individuals, particularly parents of small children, may object to the concept of setting aside time for play. When our children were younger, life revolved around three things: sleeping, eating, and playing. It was a loop that we went through every day. We were at a point in our life where we didn’t need to accomplish anything or be anyplace in particular (including work, thankfully, because I was able to be a stay-at-home mom).
Because it’s easy to get pulled into the vacuum of “busy,” it became important to intentionally carve out time for play as our children grew older.
As Ferris Bueller famously phrased it “Life goes at a breakneck pace. You could miss it if you don’t take a few moments to look around.”
Imagine what Ferris would think of the skewed pace at which we’re going 28 years after he said this famous statement.
Carl Honoré, an award-winning journalist, author, speaker, and advocate for the “slow movement,” has stepped up to help, and his approach is realistic, rational, and reassuring.
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How Our children’s Behaviours Change When We Slow Down
When parents inquire about their children’s day, they frequently hear “fine.” They’re stumped as to how they can persuade their child to share anything significant.
Despite this, many children’s express a desire to communicate with their parents more, but their parents refuse to listen. Alternatively, they may overreact. Or they simply wouldn’t get it.
Most importantly, parents are overworked. We’re moving too quickly.
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Slow listening, on the other hand, is a skill that can be learned. Slowing down is a good place to start. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a role model who is recognized for listening carefully and moving gently. He’s been likened like a hybrid between a snail, a cloud, and a piece of heavy machinery.
Given my chosen speed, I’d never be labelled a snail, but I do aspire to the lightness of a cloud and the imposing presence of a piece of heavy machinery. However, I’ve just come to realize that moving more slowly could be a prerequisite for that lightness of touch and sense of presence.
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In fact, restoring our inner stillness could be a necessary component of being a calm parents to our children. On that trip, I’m asking myself the following questions:
Is it true that slowing down makes everything in your life, including your listening, more meaningful?
Can you utilize your pause button to give your whole attention to your family every time you engage with them today?
What do you need to do today for yourself in order to be able to listen to your child properly?
What if you merely sat for three minutes with the aim of feeling peaceful?
When you slow down and actually listen to your child, how does his or her behavior change?
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Slow down so you can hear what’s being said.
That is all there is to it. Simply take it easy and pay attention. For example, you could:
- Before you do anything, take a breath.
- Within yourself, seek out a deeper quiet and calm.
- Pay attention to the sensations in your body.
- With each hug, linger a little longer.
- Enjoy the sparkle of sunshine on your children’s hair.
- When your child speaks, look her in the eyes.
- It’s important to note that an angry tone is a request to be heard.
- Pay attention to the message hidden underneath the words.
- Keep in mind that your children’s every word is code for “Please love me.”
The Importance Of Slowing Down In Parenting
Lay A Solid Foundation
Slow and steady wins the race is a phrase we’ve all heard. According to Honoré, in our desire to create the next athletic superstar, we’re pushing kids too quickly and too hard without providing them with the foundational skills (such as hopping, running, leaping, and so on) they’ll need to be physically active for the rest of their lives. He observes this phenomenon not only in athletics but also in language and math, noting that children who are given the opportunity to master the ABCs will catch up to and eventually outperform those who succeed early.
It’s time to take a step back if you’ve ever said, “We’re doing dancing camp this summer.” Honoré explained to me how the boundary between parents and children has blurred as a result of our overabundance of pride in our children’s accomplishments. According to him, both sides are in a claustrophobic position. Children must the freedom to pursue their own interests and passions, make their own mistakes, and achieve their own goals. It also relieves some of the burden on parents to be on the sidelines or in the stands for every practise and game.
We’re going so fast through our days that we’re losing sight of our families’ individual needs. Pressing the pause button on some of our activities and responsibilities might help us regain the perspective we’ve lost when rushing around. Slowing down, according to Honoré, allows us to reconnect with our own instincts about what’s best for us and our family.
Have Free Time
Some individuals could be concerned that slowing down or stopping planned events would lead to everyone retreating to their devices or the couch. But, according to Honoré, the most essential thing is to arrange calm time into your day. During this period, you may do activities as a family to assist children to develop physical literacy without feeling like you’re coaching them or ticking another item off a to-do list. It’s simple to acquire skills while spending time together by “…going for a bike ride in the park, or going to the beach to hunt for fascinating stones, or building a fort,” as Honoré recommends.
Do Your Own Thing
Sometimes it appears as if you have no option but to do things the way everyone else does them, but with a little ingenuity, you can frequently come up with a different method. Honoré uses the example of a child who enjoys hockey: it may appear that you must either commit to playing four evenings a week or not at all. However, if you can see past these two options, you may come up with something that will work better for your family while still allowing your child to play the game they enjoy. Perhaps it’s finding other children’s to play road hockey with, or enlisting the help of an older relative or neighbour for advice. Everything does not have to be coded.
Do Simple Things
While many parents nowadays focus their efforts on improving their children’s “resumés,” Honoré is afraid that we are overlooking the basic things that go a long way toward helping children develop into well-rounded individuals, such as sharing a meal with them or reading them a tale. Honoré cautions that in our quest to create the perfect child, we are neglecting the very elements that aid in the development of a decent one.
Not every child who plays in sports will be a superstar, but it’s essential to remember that even if they aren’t the best, they will gain a lot by participating. The more pressure we place on a child who is participating in a sport, the more likely they are to stop. Because pressure isn’t enjoyable, and children’s participate in sports to have a good time. Parents who are desperate to produce an exceptional athlete risk “kill[ing] that thing we love” by “piling on so much pressure and organization so early that we squeeze out that space where the child may grow and gain confidence in herself.”
Let Kids Play
Even though our intentions are good, adults sometimes come in the way of children’s play. We can discern when we’re required and when we’re inserting ourselves needlessly if we slow down.