How to Slow Down and Let Children Enjoy Childhood
We are all so busy. As a result, our kids are just as busy. School, extracurricular activities, play dates to help develop their social skills, birthday parties, and on and on and on, keep everyone going at all times. Sometimes it feels like our only down time in this house is homework time!
Slowing down seems impossible sometimes. There is always an extra practice, another school event to go to, a family function to attend... it never ends. I look at my daily calendar some days and feel tired before I even get my coffee.
Ways to Slow Down and Let Children Enjoy Childhood
I am a Yes Mom. Yes, she can be on the cheer squad and have three practices a week. Yes, she can go to every party she is ever invited to. Yes, we can leave one place early to get to your place because we don't want to disappoint anyone by not showing up. I admit, I get us into most of the craziness just by saying yes. I am learning, through pure exhaustion, that it is okay to say NO! Yes, some people's feeling are going to get hurt. But running 24/7 is not how I want to raise my kids. How can I possibly notice the little things that make childhood so amazing when I am constantly telling them to hurry up?
Plan Time Together
If we can put pizza parties and neighborhood events on the schedule, we can put movie night on the schedule. Turn off the phone, pull out the blankets, build a pallet on the floor, put a kid on all sides and watch something everyone will love. Ignore the badgering voices in your head that say the laundry needs to be done, the dishes are starting to smell, and the email box is overflowing. Just enjoy your kids. Listen to the little noises that you used to stand over their crib and hear. Let them laugh too loud so you can't hear the movie. Feel the imprint of their little hands on your arm and inhale the sweet scents of childhood that emit so distinctly. Be present the entire time. You will be rewarded with memories that will far outlast these moments.
When was the last time that you drove down the road and walked the trails of the nature area? How about a bike ride through the neighborhood? And a trip to the duck pond with a loaf of bread? Sometimes just leaving the house to explore what is right out your back door can help you relish in their childhood. That sweet look of amazement when they find a cool rock on the hiking trail is priceless. The accomplishment that crosses their face when they ride up that tiny hill and the huge smile of life that emulates the thrill of a duck eating their bread piece is all a part of what you will want in your permanent memory bank.
Spending real time with your kids does not have to cost money or your to-do list. But we only really have the first 10-12 years of childhood before our kids want to go 'hang' at someone else's house. If we are not careful, we will wake up one day, hand them the keys, and watch the adults we lived with when they were little drive off to their own too busy lives.
How do you slow down and relish in your children's childhood?