In between overdoing it

5 Lessons from a Slow Paced Summer

Slowing down to make better memories

When I had children I read all the popular parenting books and magazines. I found they are filled with articles and information about how to stimulate young minds, how to prepare them for the world and how to teach them to achieve. I know I’m not alone in feeling the almost overwhelming pressure to create a prodigy, turn my kid into the next great whatever, and teach them from day one how to achieve success. Yes moms, we all feel the pressure to ensure our child is gifted, special and excelling. But after several years at a forced breakneck pace of activity, I had to question did my children actually want this?

Are they benefiting from rushing from activity to activity. I admit at times I still want to be the “Tiger Mom.” Like most moms we  feel the need to equip our children with every advantage, every possibility. So they can strive to be the best, underbeachstand hard-work and excel. These are all great values to teach our children. However, here is a point were it can get away from us. There is a point when the want for them to succeed outpaces the need to let them just be a kid.

This summer my family has focused on slowing down. This is the first summer we did not have swimming lessons or some sort of scheduled activity to rush to. After a school year with too much to do, I was burnt out. I think my kids and me both needed a break, We needed the downtime to do well…nothing. Or whatever we choose to do. That’s is where this summer’s goal began.

[ctt title=”When the summer started we did not expect to have gained so much by doing nothing. ” tweet=”When the summer started we did not expect to have gained so much by doing nothing. ” coverup=”92aQ9″]Ok, really we did not do “nothing.” We just had nothing on the agenda (expect my daughters birthday at Disney, but event hat was finalized last minute.) We didn’t even plan our trip to see family till the last minute. For a chronic over scheduler this was a test for me. But as it turns we accomplished so much and learned more then we ever expected. Here is some of the lessons to learn from a slower paced summer.

  1. We learned it is ok to just play – There is a lot to be said for just playing the day away. Matter of fact there is a ressurance in the usefulness of unstructured imaginative play. It has been found to foster creativity, and the social and emotional growth of children. Plus spending a day letting the kids just play without feeling the need to make it edulational or “productive” takes the pressure off mom.
  2. We learned about each other – Not having scheduled activity meant less time in the car driving from place to place and more time to spend with each other.  It gave us as parents the opportunity have unhurried, less distracted conversations with our kids. This gave us the chance to discovering my daughter’s newfound love for Betty and Veronica comics and my son’s aptitude in racing games.
  3. We learned to enjoy the season – This summer we really took advantage of all of the things that summer represents. We spent more time swimming, in the pool and at water parks then ever before. It was such a blast.
  4. We learned to go with the flow – A last minute, impromptu trip to visit my sister at a beach front condo became the best trip of the summer. Spending time together ,watched the sunset, and BBQing. It was a relaxing unscheduled time just enjoying family and the summer.
  5. We learned to be in the moment – This summer, more then any other, we savored the moments spent with family, friends and each other. In the past I was so busy planning what we would do next. I was never fully present in the moment. My kids suffered through me shuffling them off to the next thing. Just so I  to check off another accomplishment on to-do list of activities. This was the first summer I went without a to-do list and let things flow as they came up.

This summer we spent day’s running outside with the neighbors, and sometimes we stayed in and played Legos for hours. We spent summer evenings going for long walks around our community and mornings splashing in the pool. We had long talks, cooking experiments and water slides. This summer we made memories, unplanned and unfetter by a schedule. I will admit these lessons probably impacted me more then my kids. But these memories and what we have learned from this summer will shape my approach to the year ahead. In the end it isn’t how much you get done, or even what you are doing. It’s who you spend the time with and the memories you make that matter most.

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Comments on: "5 Lessons from a Slower Paced Summer" (2)

  1. Melissa, that sounds like an ideal relaxed summer. Good and well done.

    Kathleen
    Bloggers Pit Stop

    Like

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