Tag: Slow school

The Countdown Begins

I just did a calendar check. Looks like there’s only 6 more weeks of school to go. Time to ponder summer plans and swimming holes and camps and craft projects and all the other things we can do with the long stretching hours of school-less days.

And time too to check in with your child’s teachers and see what they need in these last 6 weeks. It’s when the crunch for testing is over and the options for creative teaching expand. It’s time too when the kids get a little restless, especially those 5th graders who are experiencing their first dose of senioritis.

If you’ve planned on volunteering in the classroom, now’s your chance. And if you haven’t planned on it, might I recommend it? It’s a great way to connect with your kid in a whole different way. You’ll gain insight into their day to day and into their peer group and into the whole world where they spend a good deal of their awake time.

Ask your teacher what they need. Figure out what you can offer. And get in there for an hour or so. You’ll be glad you did. And who knows what you’ll end up creating.

 

 

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This week, back to school week, bedtimes are a little stressful. We’re all out of practice. We’re all more tired than ever. The kids are a bit overwhelmed with the muchness of going back to school. And even the homeschooler is feeling the anxiety of returning to routines and demands and schedules.

So, at bedtime the other night, when the 8 year old was having a bit of a meltdown and not wanting to brush her teeth and not wanting to put away her art supplies in exchange for sleep and just generally not wanting or seemingly able to do anything I needed her to do, I was about to lose it right along with her.

I slammed a cup down on the counter and on the way into her room, I caught myself, and I paused and I took a few really deep, long, slow cleansing breaths. Really. The same kind we all used in birthing these kids of ours. And I asked myself, “what does she need?” And the answer came and I could feel calmness and compassion take over my whole being.

Instead of slamming into her room all mad, the breaths helped me catch myself. And I did. And the question helped me respond to her need and realize too that she wasn’t just doing that to make me mad. She really needed something. And in that moment the something she needed was simple. It was me.

When I walked into her room and approached her in her bed where she was thrashing about I didn’t say a word. Instead I went to her slowly and flipped her on her belly and started stroking her back. Kind of hard at first. Not hard, aggressive but hard with great intention; like I  wanted to press her body into the mattress where I knew it wanted to be.

After an initial resistance, which was fleeting, I could feel her settling under my touch. And I leaned into her ear and “sssshhhhhd”. Like the white noise sounds we used when she was just a babe that allowed her to settle after overstim. In between the sssshhh’s I leaned into her ear and repeated my mantra for the minute, “I’ve got you. I’ve got you. I’ve got you.”  I could feel her melting underneath my touch and my spell. For 10 minutes or so. Maybe 12. Not even 15.   I fought the urge to glance at my phone or to leave too fast to get the dishes finished or the email checked or Facebook revisited and I just allowed myself to settle with her.

And when we parted ways we both felt so so good. She was just this side of sleep. I was calm and restored – instead of angsty and tense. And the whole thing didn’t take any longer than it would have if I’d freaked out and she’d freaked out and she ended up in bed crying. Less in fact.

So that little tagline of Slow Family – slow down, connect, enjoy? It really works. When we remember. And when our own cups are filled at least a little.  And it all feels better in the end. More relaxed. More connected. More joyful.

So how do we put ourselves of being in the position to do this all the time?

That is definitely the question.

 

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Amy Pertl-Clark, an Austin-based slow mama, alerted us to this New York Times article on slowing down kindergarten.

As an early parenting guide with a pretty clear understanding of brain development and nervous system regulation, I feel strongly that children, especially young children, especially kindergarteners, should NOT have homework. Why? Because they’ve been at school for many hours using their brains — learning things, trying new activities, navigating social interactions — and managing big feeling without mom or dad. That is a lot of work. In order for them to properly integrate what they have learned, tried and experienced they need a break. They need to have space and time to relax. They need to be…time to putter around the yard, play with their toys, look at books, cuddle with someone who loves them dearly, play with friends, do some art if they feel like it. Basically, time to do what they want to do. Or not do anything at all. When we allow children an intellectual pause at home all the neural connections that have been stimulated at school  link up and create new pathways in the brain. This is really good and important stuff that should not be underestimated or overriden by a bunch more learning.

Perhaps there needs to be a movement to abolish homework? Oh, look there already is one.

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