Friday, June 19, 2015

The case of playing vs. the iPad Mini...

I noticed something today while spending time with my nephew and niece (ages 10 and 8). Our day goes smoother without electronics. Trust me, I love me some iPhone and Chromecast and all kinds of technology. I think technology is awesome and fun. But I think something has to be said for the case of playing vs. the iPad mini.

My nephew and niece were having a fabulous rainy day. We live in St. Louis and are in the middle of a summer rain streak here. We had found some activities inside to keep us busy. My niece opened up her new paint mixing set. Her and my nephew created different colors and thought up creative names for their new paints. Some of the names include "hot tamale" and "bright sunshine". There was a small dispute over who would name which colors, but all in all they were having fun.

After paint mixing they decided they were going to put on another dance show. You can read about their first show HERE. They ran off upstairs to play. They were running throughout the house making plans for costumes, songs, dance moves, and deciding who would be the "manager" and who would be the performer. They were having fun, using their imaginations, and getting along. It was an aunt's dream.

Then I did it. I found the iPad charger. My nephew plugged in and started playing online games, leaving his sister in the dust with her dead iPad. A small argument began. It started with arguing over who would get the charger, then about my nephew not playing with my niece. The two of them were bickering back and forth until finally I told my nephew that we needed to take a break from the iPad. I told him the break just had to be 10 minutes to let it charge. Luckily, he soon forgot about the iPad and got caught up in planning the show with his sister again.

Just for everyone's information, the show was fabulously creative. It began with formal wear and a slow dance to "Beauty and the Beast", including my 10 month old daughter. The middle number was "Baby Baluga" which featured my nephew swinging my daughter in his arms while she smiled and laughed. There was a costume change for the finale, from formal wear to bath robes and slippers, and the kids free-styled some hip hop to "I Got A Feeling". They performed for my sister the second she got home from work. They were so excited to show her what they created.

Without knowing anything that had happened earlier in the day, my sister says to me, "you know, I think they actually play better without their iPads". I laughed because she completely read my mind.

I think from now on we will be using the iPad Mini as a last resort. When we have exhausted all other options of play, maybe we will plug in for a little while. But playing wins. Playing definitely wins.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How we saw the benefit of slow parenting today

This summer I am spending time with my 10-year-old nephew and my eight-year-old niece. Sometimes we have errands to run and places to go and we are busy throughout the day. Then there are days when we are allowed to have more freedom. Today was one of those days and it was great.

I started out the summer with a schedule full of activities and places to go and things to do. Boy was that a mistake! I ended up with little people who expected activities and treats every day. I was frustrated, they were frustrated, it was a bad combination.

We decided to take a different route and avoid scheduling. Today was a day where I got to see the benefit of letting them have free time. 

In addition to spending time with them, I have a 10-month-old baby. She has been missing her naps the summer so I am trying to allow time for her to get some rest during the day. 

Instead of having a planned activity for the kids to do during her nap time, I told them it was up to them to play. I told them they could play with toys, go outside, and use their imaginations. To be honest, I was a little nervous of how this would turn out. 

What happened next was great. I took the baby upstairs for her nap and I could hear them playing downstairs. I heard my nephew reading stories to my niece, I heard them playing games, and I heard them planning a talent show for me and the baby after her nap. I could hear them going outside to play and talking about riding their bikes.

After the baby's nap, they performed a three act talent show with full costumes. I was impressed with their creativity! They had set up stations where they read books and played games. They played together, helped each other, and were kind to one another.

Every day I have to remind myself to slow down, not over commit, and to do the same for the children to spend time with. Today we all reaped the benefits of slow parenting and in true Snail Mommy fashion, will be spending more days taking it easy, slowing down, and enjoying the little things.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

My View is the Best View

In this moment I appreciate slowing down a little. As I watch my baby sleep, I remember why I want to learn to take life at a slower pace. I don't want to rush. I don't want to race through her infancy. There are 100 other things I could be doing right now. They can wait. Today I'm making the choice to breathe deep, slow down, and enjoy my incredible view.

Love, Michelle
(Snail Mommy)
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