Slowing Down

I am so happy to see posts lately on social media about slowing down, being still and being present in moments as parents. It’s not easy to do that. As parents we wear many hats. We earn incomes to care for our families, we care for our homes, yards and vehicles. We have roles that we hold outside of being parents. There are all the daily tasks that come with caring for small children. Let’s admit there is ongoing pressure to make sure the external story of how you are doing as a parent is Instagram ready. When you have a child with special needs or developmental delays there are layers to your daily life that others often don’t understand.

Why slow down? Raising your child is the most important task you have been given right now. Your child needs you to be present with them. Not just together, but present. Present means you are focused in a given moment on what your child is doing and what is interesting to them. Is it convenient as an adult to do this? It honestly is not always convenient, but it is rewarding. The moments you are truly present and available to your child create positive emotional experiences. ALL development stems from a strong foundation in social emotional relationships. You are doing the best thing for your child’s long term success if you have magical moments of connection each day enjoying who they are.

How is it even possible? 10 ideas you can do today!

1. Do an ordinary task and include your child but follow your child’s pace. Be peaceful. Be deliberate at how you do the steps.
2. Try to simplify your schedule. Set boundaries in your schedule (boundaries for work, boundaries to commitments and boundaries to time on screens.)
3. Eat a family meal together at the same time in the same space. (There’s a ton of research out there about the long term benefits… academic, health, mental health, resilience.)
4. Reduce the number of toys accessible at any given time. Attention spans decrease when there are too many options. Have duplicates as needed to limit conflict.
5. Sit on the floor (without your phone) near your child. Imitate their actions and sounds. Observe them, wait before you interact and consider how you can add to their play in gentle ways.
6. Create little islands of slowness in the day, week and month. Bedtime – a good night kiss routine, evening prayer, gentle massage; Bath time – slowed dumping and pouring; Car seat time – turn off music & screens and talk about what you see, or just play quiet, slow music. Weekly – one night a week lay out a blanket in the living room and have a picnic; take your baby outside and lay on a blanket. Traditions at holidays and seasons. They all weave a connectedness that is truly part of what makes life so sweet.
7. Keep background televisions off. Listen to slow children’s music or instrumental music while children play, or let your children’s voices and laughter fill the space.
8. Go outside at least once a day in all but extreme weather. Many amazing moments happen when you’re outdoors together and notice our world – weather, animals, bugs, clouds, sounds.
9. Model quiet moments yourselves. Read, turn off the tv, sing, pray, and sit outdoors.
10. Create quiet spaces in your home or yard that encourage slowness.

You’re not going to be missing out if you begin to slow down. By saying “no” to busyness, you are saying “yes” to a relationship with your child. You are going to be creating moments with a deeper connection and meaning that will mold a lifelong relationship. You’ll align with your own values instead of trying to adopt other’s values. Your child will learn more when their pace is followed.

Reach out if I can help you incorporate any of these strategies into your family’s routines.