Move over helicopter parents and tiger mums, there’s a new ‘type’ of parent on the block, and I totally want to be her – I’m just not sure how possible it is.
Say hello to ‘slow parenting’
The new parenting type is ‘slow parents,’ but this has nothing to do with their intellect. In fact, they seem pretty switched on if you ask me.
What is slow parenting?
Slow parenting is the complete opposite of our frazzled, running here and there, late for this and that life. It’s rejecting being overscheduled, busy and not feeling like we have the time to connect with our kids or even BREATHE properly.
Furthermore, slow parenting is about finding ways to stop the rush and prioritise family time. In other words, it’s about making an effort to slow down versus always hurrying our kids along from one thing to the next.
It’s about ditching the calendar
Slow parents don’t live by the calendar because they wouldn’t, say, organise a play date straight after swimming lessons. They figure that would all be too much of a rush.
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They take a step back. They might plan one thing that day, knowing that two kids and a trip to the shops will raise their blood pressure.
‘Drinking in’ our babies
An article in the Boston Globe describes slow parenting as taking the time to “… just watch [your] children whether they are playing, doing homework, or eating a snack. Take a moment to drink them in … because that pause alone, even if momentary, can drive a shift in pace.”
Benefits to kids
Unsurprisingly, slow parenting is hugely beneficial to parents and children. In today’s fast-paced world, we all feel the need to slow down.
With time to hang out with their parents, unwind and be spontaneous, ‘slow kids’ are likely to be less tired, cranky or moody as a result of feeling burnt out.
A fascinating study published in the Journal of School Health found that there’s a link between family stress and our little one’s desire for more free time. Even more interesting, the research says that kids experience less activity-related stress when they plot out their schedules more carefully with their parents (aka they don’t over-commit).
More about parenting types:
- ‘Lawnmower parenting’: What it is and how it affects children
- What type of parent are you?
- How to keep your kids safe without looking like a helicopter mum
But how doable is it?
I like to think that I embrace slow parenting when I can. I read to my boys, watch them draw and we take walks around the block just to look at the neighbourhood, but the rest of the time, work, kindy schedules and commitments rule our week. Because you know, I am busy!
I do see the advantages of taking it slower though, which is why I want to declare Sundays in my house, ‘Slow Sunday’. I don’t want us to plan anything but to go with the flow of our family. It will be a day of rest, connecting and recharging. Oh and no phones!
I probably can’t claim to be a ‘slow parent’ but I do see the appeal in this new parenting type – not only for me but for my entire family.