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Slow Parenting

By: Second Grade Teachers Anne Marie Christopher and Melissa Kriegshauser

August 26, 2013

In today’s fast paced world it isn’t surprising that there is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is better. It’s called the “Slow Movement.” Yes, that’s the name. It’s not about doing everything slowly, but seeking to do everything at a calmer pace. According to Wikipedia, “It began with Carlo Petrini’s protest against the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant in Piazza di Spagna, Rome in 1986. Over time, this developed into a subculture in other areas.”

One of these areas is the “Slow Parenting Movement.” The movement is about bringing balance into a family’s life. In his book Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne examines four key areas:

  • Environment
  • Rhythm
  • Filtering out the Adult World
  • Schedules

Environment refers to the importance of simplifying a child’s physical environment. Payne suggests ways to clear the home of too many toys, clothes, and books. He explains that children will acquire much stronger connections, develop patience and be more creative when they have less to choose from.

Rhythm refers to keeping the daily routines around your home balanced and predictable, allowing a child to adapt to change, when it does come, more easily.

Schedules refers to cramming activities into every day of the week. Payne advises that children need time to just play, to daydream, and yes, to be bored.

Finally, “filtering out the adult world” has become more difficult for parents due to advances in technology, media, and the constant need for information. As parents and teachers we know children sometimes pick up more than we’d like them to hear. There are certain things and subjects that should just be screened from children’s eyes and ears.

Payne states, “When we ask children to ‘keep up’ with a speeded-up world, I believe we are unconsciously doing them harm. Quite simply: A protected childhood allows for the slow development of identity, well-being, and resiliency.”

Another book on the same subject, Fed Up with Frenzy, by Susan Sachs Lipman, offers suggestions for “slow” activities, games, crafts, kitchen activities, garden projects, nature activities, celebrations, travel activities, and more. It’s a great resource of ideas that can be enjoyed by the whole family and help everyone to reconnect.

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