Since the moment you’ve become a parent, life seems to be a rush- a rush to change diapers, rush to feed the baby, rush to wrap up everything so you can catch a wink that would actually mean something. Parents of babies and toddlers get highly frustrated and that is but normal. The mind and body demands a time-out, to stop thinking, often to just look at oneself in the mirror, or to just sit, completely blank and stare at the clouds passing overhead. As a parent of a toddler, one cannot invest in a long time out or get away for oneself, unless of course the support system is strong enough to allow it.
The question that comes to mind here is why slow down by getting away, when you can slow down by getting involved?
Children are the best teachers to bring this point home. The more you involve yourself with them, indulge their fantasies and be part of their imaginary play-worlds, the more you slow down. The realities of life start to fade away when looked through the lens of a child.
~Allow a child to take his time~
My little one is fiercely independent at 31 months. She will not accept help until she has tried multiple times and is out of options to do it herself. I admire her perseverance and strong will. Let me share an example here. A child can frustrate you by insisting that he wear his socks himself and taking 10 odd minutes of trying to put them on, and ending up upset that they’re the wrong side out. This is typical our Little Miss A. Unless you are in a great hurry, what’s the harm in letting them attempt something like this over and over again?
A. It’s building their character – learning not to give up and making multiple attempts to achieve their goals.
B. It’s helping them test their own limits and accept when they’ve failed to achieve what they started out to do. It’s teaching a child to accept defeat and letting them know that it’s ok to ask for help. I think this is equally important.
3. Just sit down a bit, what’s the rush? And watch the child at work. Observe how his/ her mind works and tries to find solutions to a problem. Do not help, even if you’re highly tempted to get them going. Just wait and watch. Slow down. Relax and let the wonder of the experience unfold, culminating in the great sense of achievement that the child feels- only to experience that pride within you having gone through it with your child.
~Wonder at the small things in life~
How often will we get to run away to the mountains to get our peace or to sit at the beach looking at the waves breaking on the sand?I guess, with a growing child, not as often as you would need to. I feel if you just train your mind to not work with a set schedule, but just a general routine, life will slow down multifold.
So we were to go get some curry leaves from the tree downstairs, and on the way she spotted a cobweb and stood to look at a small insect caught in it. Woah! What an observation?! When was the last time you stopped up to look at something like that? Of course this observation was followed by a hundred (exaggeration) questions, however it slowed down time for us. And in all earnest, all it took was a mere 2 minutes longer than it would have had we rushed through to get the leaves!
~Hand over control to the child~
This is probably the most difficult one but done consciously, letting go of the controls and handing over simple choices to the child leaves you with a lot of mind space to do more.
Which clothes to wear, which socks and shoes to go with, which picture to colour, how to hold the crayon, which colour to draw the leaf- extremely simple choices, easily made by a child, and unnecessarily stressed over by the parent!
So what if the socks don’t match the dress? It has to get dirty and be changed eventually!
So what if the leaf is drawn with a blue crayon? Good point to spark a discussion on why food items are generally not blue, or discuss planets of the blue monkeys where leaves may be blue- an imaginary play cue.
So many possibilities- so many chances in everyday life to take a step back, slow down and relax. You just need to get conscious about it.