Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Pace of Parenting: 5 Ways to Slow Down and Live Happily

With increased technology and an increase in travel, family life has picked up rather than slowed down in the past few decades. Even though technology helps families make some tasks faster, the pressure on families to do more and have more has meant that parents are incredibly busy pulling in paychecks and children are often over-scheduled.

This leads to stress in all members of the family, which can significantly impact family dynamics. This busy pace does not have to control families any longer. Here are five exciting options for slowing down and living happily.

Start a Tradition

Traditions are special activities that a family does repeatedly. A tradition is often associated with feelings of belonging, security and happiness. Traditions could be yearly happenings, such as an autumn trip to an apple orchard, opening presents at midnight on Christmas Eve or going to the beach on the first weekend of summer.

However, some traditions may be weekly or monthly occurrences. Examples could include frying pancakes every Sunday morning or instituting a Friday movie night. The most important part of this is that parents make it a priority to honor these traditions.

Make Saturday Mornings Slow

Many parents feel the urge to use Saturdays as their to-do-list days. They are often running around town, buying groceries, cleaning the house, doing the laundry and working in the yard.

While this might occasionally be okay, Saturday mornings can be a sacred time for parents and children to bond. Parents can invest in a king size bed that will give them plenty of room for disturbance-free sleep and also provide room for Saturday morning relaxation, cuddling and conversation for the entire family.

Cut out Extracurricular Activities

Many children are overextended by being enrolled in numerous playgroups, sports and music lessons. While some activities are great for building interpersonal skills and getting children active, most children would do well with only one extracurricular activity at a time.

In fact, one study showed that 41% of children between the ages of 9 and 13 said that they felt stressed out at least most of the time because of their activities.

Do Not Compromise on Family Dinner

While there could be an occasional reason why the entire family cannot gather around the table for the evening meal, families should make this meal a priority. This is a great time for parents and children to share the events and emotions of the day.

Although home-cooked meals are great, families can even enjoy convenience foods or sandwiches as long as they are all together.

Minimize Belongings

Living minimally is becoming a huge trend across the country. While some parents may feel that this is more of a way to save money rather than decrease stress, minimizing belongings can actually decrease busyness around the home.

Families must make space for everything they own, keep it all organized and clean it regularly. Moreover, parents must spend time just to make the money to buy it all in the first place. Families can join together to choose items that are in good condition to donate to charities or sell.

Parents should be warned that when they start putting any of these tips into practice, they may feel a sense of guilt. Adults often feel that they must constantly be doing more than they already are and that they must keep up with neighbors, relatives and even random families in their schools.

However, because relationships are the most important part of life, it is vital that families slow down enough to focus on each other and on their own physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. These are the families that are truly confident, healthy and stress-free.

Tim Esterdahl

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