Do you read news on the train while working on two draft emails, listening to musing, eating breakfast and texting?

Slow down

It's a cliché that we live in a fast-paced world in the IT era and our grandparents didn't have any of this information overload we are subject to every day, yada yada. But it's true, isn't it? I program my coffee maker at night so I can check email in the morning instead of making coffee, I listen to the news on the way to the train station in the car, then send a few emails on the train during the morning commute, eat breakfast while walking to work from the train station, work 8 hours, juggling multiple tasks at the same time, eat lunch at my desk, I'm writing this article on the way home on the train and so on. It's crazy how little time there is for a single task. And I'm not about to let my daughter be pulled into this speed-funnel - she'll get plenty of it as an adult anyway.

Rushing small things

We went for a walk one day in a large park that has a boardwalk around a lake. Emma, 17 months old, was in her stroller because she was tired and watched the lake and the trees from there. At one point she reached out and wanted to touch the side of the railing that runs on either side of the boardwalk. So we slowed down and let her touch the wood railing - she pressed her fingers against the wood as we pushed her stroller, now very slowly so we can avoid a rusty nail or a splinter. She would put one finger against the railing, then two, then three, then her whole palm, then one finger again, etc. She had fun feeling the bumps and grooves and experience how dragging her finger along feels like. We did this for a few minutes before we picked up pace again.

What I'm trying to illustrate here is that we were in no rush, there was no danger and she clearly enjoyed this new sensation, so why rush it? Why rush anything? Who are we racing against? Many times I see parents pulling kids away from anything and everything because it's too boring for the adults to slow down and spend time observing trivial things. What is trivial for adults isn't so for children. Children want to look at everything, touch and observe and smell and taste so let them take their time to sense the world around them.

Older children are subjected to ads, text messages, email, social media, they are made to rush all day and then we wonder why don't they have long attention spans, why can't they focus on one thing for a long time? Then we give them medication to slow them down! I'm going to leave it at that. ADHD is a very big can of worms that I'm not about to open now.

If we find ourselves in a hurry too often and we simply have no choice but to rush then maybe the planning department needs to do a better job and allocate more time for everyday activities. Think quality over quantity.

The concept of "slow" also applies to academic skills. When it comes to academic skills we need to be very slow - so slow, in fact, that we shouldn't even start until age 5 or 6. Read about it in detail on the Steal Play page.