Time speeds up when you have kids. We measure years in decades and we wonder what happened to our little kids. If you are a parent, thoughtful in your role each day, you may want to find out how to slow down time.
Now that summer is near, we want to plan. But realize, idle parents can make for happy kids when the opportunity shows itself. Summer is the opportunity I am talking about. A open, no busy schedule is what I am suggesting. Maybe planning a lot of activities is the exact opposite of what we need to do as mindful parents this summer. This constant planning can be distracting, and when we lose our focus, even less gets done and quality of experience is compromised.
How a Mindful Parent Can Slow Down Time:
The book Free To Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life written by Peter Gray gives parents the reasoning on how to slow down time. Through his real life he has found a way that kids can learn and at the same time not lose themselves. I just read this book for the second time, and I am pumped that I was reminded of so many good learning ideals right before summer!
After reading his book I felt a resonance. Several issues brought up by Gray really made me think about how we are teaching our kids, and how I want to raise mine. It made me a more mindful in my homeschooling and parenting in general. Montessori methods bring out the beauty in children, and being a proponent of Montessori, I realized even more how important Montessori was in our kids life.
I also realized, most importantly that giving our anxious and stressed kids time to play is essential to their future happiness and mental health. Play is something we as parents need to be mindful of. We need to make sure our kids get a chance to play each day.
I resonated with Gray’s points deeply, as he recalled having gone through a system of education with his own child where evaluations and tests, monopolization of time, and decreased rewards for critical thinking were king. Once he changed his model to a much more organic one, his kid thrived. And so did he as a parent.
I am grateful to Gray for addressing the elephant in our home. The topic that resounded even stronger relates to how kid’s hectic lives seems to interfere with family life. Gray states his case, saying Their schedules “eat into the time that families can spend together, on their own activities. It also interferes with family harmony, as parents must be enforcers of homework, cope with the negative effects that schooling has on children’s moods and home behavior, and in some cases do battle with kids every day to get them to go to school.” It’s true that kids are ecstatic when summer break starts, as they are free once again!!….until camp, and gymnastics, and extracurricular intensive mania begins!
Do kids want all these activities? Don’t kids and parents want a break?
Rachel Macy Stafford, writer of “Hands Free Mama”, (handsfreemama.com) offers great insight into how parents can better connect with their kids. She draws attention to the idea of putting down distractions, including cell phones, pods, and TV. She suggests that parents reduce texting and use devices only at certain times during the day, times when kids are not awake or are engaged in other fun, creative endeavors. Basically, putting the attention back on our kids! The resulting payback is a huge feeling of satisfaction in being there for your kids.
In essence : “Don’t let your life pass you buy. This life you can’t get back. Don’t postpone joy. Do less with more focus”
We only get one shot at this parenting thing. Let’s make it marvelous. Let’s make it a thoughtful journey. Let’s not postpone joy even one more day!