Summer has finally come to us here in Scandinavia with the intense heat of the sun and deep blue skies. It has been a cold spring in Denmark with wind, rain and late blossom. Each year is different; however, as adults, we can recognize the similarities in our lives, and act according to what we strive for and how we wish to navigate in life. Children take in the world very differently.
The first 7 years in a child’s life is an open meeting with what ever comes towards the child. Everything has an impact that will be a mark in its life, and even small things matter. Actually, often the deepest childhood memory is not the big birthday party our parents threw for us, but perhaps instead the one, magical summer day, where we felt, that we had all the time in the world to observe a little fragile snail’s slow journey across a leaf on the ground.
Today, we are all familiar with the huge consequences of fast food. General health issues, diabetes and obesity are some of the harsh problems many societies face today, due to poor nutrition. It has taken many years to recognize this huge problem, and still even with this knowledge, the problems are immense, and sadly, growing.
We have chosen our name “Slow Parenting“, out of a concern, that fast parenting is also an increasing issue in today’s society. Parents are busy working hard, and at the same time, they are urged to pace their children towards early schooling. In some countries, it is even not a rare sight, that parents (those who can afford it) hire coaches for their child, out of a concern that it won’t be able to seize its possibilities on its own, and in its own, individual pace.
There seems to be a growing consensus in modern society, that there has to be a an output we can measure on everything that we do- including bringing up our children. The consequence is, that the little child is looked upon as a little adult, and is being pushed beyond its natural limits. Today, it seems, that childhood has to be productive and profitable. In Kindergartens, children at the age of 3-4 are being taught about the alphabet and in counting and understanding numbers, instead of acknowledging the great importance of peaceful, daily rhythms combined with lots of free play.
It seems, that we have forgotten that the physical and social development is vital for the maturing of the brain- and for the child’s natural self confidence.We are beginning to see the result of this. In Denmark alone, there has been a 30% increase in hospitalized children with severe symptoms of stress and depression, and children under the age of three have an increased level of cortisol ( an adrenal cortex hormone) in their blood. From my own experience in Kindergartens in 50+ countries, I too experience more family stress, and at the same time, I see more children who lack basic, social skills, and sadly, more children with poor physical and linguistic skills.
So, what can we do?
I think we can do a lot, because every change in your life actually comes from you, and your choices in life. You can have the courage to look at your life and ask yourself, do I really have the life I wanted? How are my children really doing, how is my relationship to my children, do they have the life of a child I wish them to have?
To choose a life with more time to be and grow together in respect of children’s individual pace, and with very little stress, is a huge challenge, and calls for an out-of-the-box thinking. We will have to stand up for ourselves and make our own priorities, even though it is not necessarily what is being expected from our surroundings. Slow Parenting is out-of-the-box thinking, and it is actually a very brave choice, because it often means, that we have to re-evaluate how we have structured our lives, and start looking at other possibilities.
You can make your own choices, and you can make a huge difference, if you wish to slow more down in your everyday life, and begin enjoying the process of natural development, instead of being driven by worry and anxiety about the children’s future. They need our love and support, not our worries!I wish you all a wonderful summer, and that you will have time to be together and enjoy the little wonders in your lives- because they are always the greatest.
Please notice, that we will close down for holiday all of July.
We always love hearing from you!
Feel free to share your vacation plans with us (and if you are on the other side of the world with completely different seasons, then feel free to share that, too!)
You can comment right below this post.
and Anna on the side 🙂