Children should have time to be children. Why the rush? We complain about the time going so fast but at the same time we’re making the time go faster and faster. Here and there, always on the go. Have we stopped to think that time seems to go by so fast because of us? We rush from place to place, activity to activity thinking we are doing what’s best for our children, but are we? Why do we expect these little people to move at an adults pace. How often do we shorten our stride to match theirs instead of hurrying them to match ours? We expect their reaction times to be as quick as ours and we ask them to not question what we ourselves already know, but they do not.
When we slow down to a child’s pace we can see the world how they see it. It’s big with so many unknowns just waiting to be discovered. When we stop talking at our children and let them talk to us, uninhibited chattering about anything and everything you can see their spirits soar. When we answer their questions they come up with new ones and the cycle of knowledge begins. That quest to find all the answers. Do you remember what that felt like? Book after book, clue after clue to how something works or is made. Wondering just for the sake of wondering. No agenda, just because it seems interesting.
Children need the time to de-stress, to unwind, to breathe and take a much-needed break from the constant expectations being thrust upon them. They need time to just lay in the grass and stare at the clouds. To pick daisies and make daisy crowns and necklaces. To garden and play in the mud. To have unstructured playtime both outdoors and inside. Where we are not micromanaging their games or telling them how to play the right way. Yes, we can guide safety lessons, but a bonk or bruise or sliver will not be the end of the world. We can make our homes and yards safe, but leave some of the daring and excitement. Leave the fun.
Children get stresses, anxious, tired and rushed. If we feel hurried, then they do to. If we are tired, they probably are as well. When we feel over booked and overwhelmed, then yep, chances are they are feeling it too. All people are different, this goes for children and adults. Some thrive on constant motion and others need that quiet time. I have found that my children do so much better when we limit our activities. I no longer feel guilty when we are not at all the functions of our peers. My eye-opening moment was when my daughter said, “Momma, can we just stay home? Just us. We could just play”. My first reaction was to say no, we had somewhere to be. But when I looked at her little face and tired blue eyes, my heart broke. Here I had thought I was creating the best childhood for her and I had been wrong. I fought back tears, kneeling down and hugging her, saying, “Of course. I would love to just stay home and play with you.” We now choose what we want to do with caution. We have days we stay home, just us. Our family downtime. These are my favorite days when I can be with them and we have no expectations for the day. I craved that alone time with my children, but I thought that the classes and play dates would benefit them more than what I had to offer.
Now I pay closer attention to how I’m feeling and my children’s attitudes. I can tell by their behavior that they are tired or feeling stressed out and I know we need down time. I have learned it’s ok to say no. We don’t have to be everywhere and we don’t have to do what everyone else seems to be doing. Yes, the time does seem to go by slower. Some days seem to go on forever, but I would rather have those days than the ones that fly by and I feel like I may have missed something important. My family is not designed for life in the fast lane, but we have created our meaningful life and we are much happier for it ❤