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.