When I look around I see so many families that are continuously on the go—never home for more than a few hours and doing just about anything and everything together. I thought that was what you were “supposed” to do for so long that I tried to do it, too. It worked for a while—almost two years, actually. Recently, though, I was finding myself depressed, tired, unable to really be excited about leaving to do things. I thought it was because all of a sudden my five-year-old thinks he’s going through the Terrible Twos. Or that my almost three-year-old still refuses to be potty trained, though she can go days just fine and then WHAM: Game Over. After thinking about all of this for a while I realized that I’m just a slow-moving parent in a fast-moving world. Since figuring this out, everyone has been happier, more full of energy, and more loving to one another. Yay!
Instead of taking showers and getting dressed and running out of the house to run errands while most other people on Summer break are sleeping—we stay inside. Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m just lazy. By saying I’m slow-moving I really mean that I want to be more physically and mentally involved with my kids—not just shuffling them here and there to keep them occupied. We do more workbook activities, crafts, homemade science experiments, create stories and put them to life on paper, etc…
Here are a few activities that the kids seemed to enjoy most. Maybe, if you’re feeling like I was, you’ll try to slow down… and figure out that you’re not cut out for this fast-paced life that everyone else seems to thrive on. I know I didn’t—and that it was a good thing I figured it out.
Juice Box Train
First you’ll need:
- 4-5 individual juice boxes (washed and dried)
- construction paper
- crayons or paint
- Wrap the juice boxes in construction paper. Each box will be a train car.
- Poke one hole in the tops and bottoms of each juice box. This is where they will connect. Cut a piece of string about 1 1/3 times as long as the finished train and knot it on the end.
- Thread the string through each train car until you reach the caboose, leaving 3-4″ between each car.
You can extend this by hanging signs around the house for railroad stations and have the kids run between stations with the train.
First you’ll need:
- 6 or more paper plates (we used hula hoops instead)
- Toss the plates or hoops around the yard.
- Someone yells, “GO!” and payers walk to a plate or hoop and touch it. If you touch another player you are out. (This makes it not so crazy, I’ve found.)
- Plates are removed, one at a time, and play is repeated until there are only two “islands” left. Those two are the winners.
First you’ll need
- wooden dowel
- 2 different colors of ribbon (3 times the length of your dowel)
- glitter or glitter glue
- small bells or charms or sequins or beads
- craft glue
- Cut a star, moon, heart or other shape out of cardboard. Trace onto cardboard again to make two of the same shape. Decorate one side of each with glitter, beads, glue, etc.
- Glue two pieces together with the dowel in the middle.
- Cut a length of ribbon of each color. Add a drop of glue to bottom of dowel and affix ribbon to it.
- Wind the ribbon up and around the dowel and when you reach the top add a dot of glue and affix ribbon to it. Repeat this process with other color ribbon.
- Add beads, etc. to the ribbons. You can also add more ribbon to top or bottom and then knot beads onto it.
One of the most important lessons I have learned by slowing down my life has been how to manage my time wisely. I’ve learned how to make time for myself, get more sleep, stop running a taxi service and figured out my true desires. I still need a lot of work. My next goals are to learn to say no to more things and to take more days off from electronics. I’ll have to keep you posted on how I do… but the future is what I make it.
Which do you want for yourself? Running around or slowing down? What ways have you found to slow down and enjoy life more?