Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Slow parenting:

Why giving yourself a break could actually be good for your kids.
By James Evans
Date: September 30 2014
Tags: parenting,
Editor Rating:

It seems that every facet of modern parenting is fraught with anxiety, from finding a nutritious yet palatable and eco-friendly gluten-free breakfast cereal in the morning, to choosing the proper bedtime, and the proper way to enforce it, at night.

We live in an age of endless determined parental expectations, where signing up for pottery class and making the football team assume inflated importance, and well-meaning mothers and fathers are told that the consequences of not taking it all seriously could be a lifetime of psychic damage to their children. No wonder there is such a pervasive feeling of guilt, as parents are shadowed by the perpetual question: ‘Am I doing this right?’

But is all of this guilt and fear of failure really good for families?

A few revolutionaries say “No!” This philosophy can be roughly summed up under the title of the Slow Parenting Movement, an effort to inject a bit of leisure and joy into what has become a competitive race to produce perfect kids.

Carl Honoré, author of Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-parenting, believes that children deserve “plenty of time and space to explore the world on their own terms,” rather than a constant barrage of activities and contrived stimulation.

Childrearing “is not a project; it’s a journey. Slow parenting is about giving kids lots of love and attention with no conditions attached.”

Slow Parenting, like the Slow Food Movement, is about taking the time to do things right. It’s about the thoroughly pre-modern notion of quality over quantity.

Another proponent of this method, Tom Hodgkinson encourages parents to take personal moments regularly to nap, read a book, or have a drink, and in the meantime allow children to entertain themselves.

In his book The Idle Parent Hodgkinson describes how such practices both help to preserve parental sanity and foster the development of autonomy and creative play in children. This is not an abdication of parental responsibility. It is, rather, a shift from the belief that parents should shoulder all of the responsibility for a child’s wellbeing, towards a renewed trust in the capacities of the child. Kids can be wonderfully imaginative and surprisingly self-sufficient if they’re allowed to be.

Here are three practical suggestions to get started on your Slow Parenting track. 

1.  Just stay home

Instead of planning a weekend around trips to the zoo and the museum, try spending time together in the peaceful seclusion of the house. Read together, cook together, play a board game. Not only is this a cheaper alternative, it also allows both parents and kids to let loose without fear of getting lost in a crowd. And the bliss of being unoccupied can make for surprisingly good family bonding time.      

2.  Play with rubbish

Forget about the latest recommended software-supplemented learning toy. Any old cardboard box can be transformed into a spaceship or a time machine. An empty egg-carton makes a great skeleton for all sorts of animal craft projects. Don’t be too hasty to throw things away. An adult’s trash can be a kid’s wonder.      

3.  Encourage independence

Why enrol your young child in art class, when you can let him sit with a box of coloured pencils and a fresh sketchbook, developing his talents at his own pace? Make sure to be available to your kids for guidance and encouragement, but also give them the space and resources to let them learn their way.

Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Recent Comments
1 Total Comments
Sharon says: 2014 10 14

I love this idea! We all need to slow down so much. Love, love.

View All Comments
Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:33343

Your Comment has been posted
Related Articles
New study shows children who spend more time on unstructured…
Read more
Kids prefer everyday objects over expensive play equipment.
Read more
Time-poor families are missing out on being active & healthy…
Read more
Cry babies

Dry your eyes!
The newest additions are on their way from the Babies who cry real tears!


Latest Tech Used In Shipping Containers
Read how the shipping industry has revolutionised

Motherpedia cover-2

Win 1 set of a 4-book hardcover illustrated boxed set
Barbara Murray’s new 4-book Sound Stories is perfect for parents and educators and could assist with NAPLAN results

Motherpedia cover (4)

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest Australia
Get ready for this celebration!

Motherpedia cover-4

A Fortnight of Foodie Experiences at East Village
A taste of East Village. What's in it for me?

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Moonlight lifestyle

Moonlight Cinema to bring…
Moonlight Cinema announces brand new Western Sydney venue

Screen shot 2019-11-26 at 8.29.12 am

Your Magical Christmas Wonderland…
Adventure park is about to light up the night sky with its "Christmas Festival of Lights"

Screen shot 2019-11-21 at 11.11.36 am

The Preston Market Gets…
It's time to feel pumped up for the holiday season!


Bunnings team members get…
Help raise funds by buying a snag or donating at your local store.