Slow Parenting Gaining Steam: It’s About Time

As people, especially parents, become busier than ever — perhaps driven by increasing economic and social pressures — we’re hearing about the counter movement of “Slow” more than ever, too.

ABC News recently ran a piece on Slow Parenting, which featured, among others, the wonderful Slow Family Living folks, who I have featured on my blog.

Most children are over-scheduled — psychologists, teachers and parents in the piece agreed. And that’s resulting in a generation of stressed-out kids, and parents. Said Bernadette Noll, Slow Family Living co-founder:

I think there’s the feeling of being frazzled. Kind of high anxiety on both the parents’ part and the kids’ part.

Slow Family Living co-founder and parenting coach Carrie Contey, and others in the piece, advocate clearing the schedules, adding more free time and play time, and letting go of the notion that, as parents, we have to be perfect.

Perfectionism truly can be the enemy of freedom and play. Writer Anne Lamott addresses this in a wonderful, funny and wise piece that appears in Sunset magazine.

We all hunger for creative expression in some form, Anne Lamott writes:

Creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.

The trick, though, she notes, is making the time to have this in our lives.

That’s really what’s been at the heart of the Slow Movement for me and many others — finding the time, making the time, to connect with family and friends and that part of ourselves that yearns for beauty, peace and community, in whatever form it takes for us personally. We only get 24 hours each day. Deciding what we really want and then what to let go of is a huge step off the treadmill and onto a different path for many of us.

The great news is that more individuals and even groups are embracing this philosophy. No-Homework policies are popping up in school districts. The documentary film Race to Nowhere, which stemmed from director Vicki Abeles’ own parenting experiences, may be behind some of this. The film, which has been playing to sold-out audiences of parents and others across America, attempts to illuminate “the unintended consequences of the achievement-obsessed way of life that permeates American education and culture.”

There is a Race to Nowhere Facebook page, where people are sharing ideas. Slow Parenting is gaining steam, and, in more ways than one, it’s about time.

I hope that this blog will continue to provide inspiration about slowing down with your family; appreciating beauty, nature, and seasons; and fun things to do with all that new-found free time. 🙂 My Slow Family Resources page highlights lots of other great people, resources and ideas.

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

4 responses to “Slow Parenting Gaining Steam: It’s About Time

  1. collaborationconversation

    Thanks for the reminder to slow down. 12 years ago my husband and I became Waldorf School parents. This education as you may know certainly supports this notion. My youngest, now in 7th grade has almost no homework each night. I love the time this gives us to spend with her, sometimes interacting and other times just being in the same space. I have to admit that we were much ‘slower’ when the kids were younger. It’s scary how quickly our schedules get over-booked. There is that fine balance with teens where busy is good, but too busy it just stressed.

  2. Hi there! I’m so glad you visited and commented. Though my daughter did not attend a Waldorf school, I resonate deeply with much of Rudolf Steiner’s work and have — sometimes consciously, sometimes not — folded it into our family’s life.

    And, I agree, life can get busier when kids get older. It can be tough to hold a space for unscheduled, free, and daydreaming time — just when they probably really need it.

    I also love your blog post on active bystanders coming together as a community to fight bullies. It’s very moving and important and I encourage everyone to read it. I hope you’ll visit again and that we stay in touch.

  3. GREAT reminder to slow down. I realized today that between rushing to baseball four nights a week, guitar practice, the grocery store.. it’s creating stress from things that are supposed to be fun. It’s very easy to over schedule ourselves and our kids… and its helpful to be reminded to slow down! Thank you!

  4. Indeed! I agree that more and more people are realizing the folly of a sped up childhood and home life. We only have our children for a short while. If we want connection later, we have to create that connection now – while they are little.

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