These days, we tend to move through life at a rapid pace. We make games of seeing how fast we can do something, and we are constantly urging our kids to hurry up! Sometimes, that is a terrific strategy to help us “get it all done.”
But there is also a value in slowing things down – especially for kids who tend to act without thinking. We often talk about it in terms of slowing down to speed up. This suggestion reinforces and builds on the power of Pausing, taking it a step farther. It is about actually practicing the process of slowing things down in all different aspect of life.
There are several ways to make a game out of slowing things down. Start talking in slow motion, and encourage your kids to join you. Or see how slowly you can pour the milk into the cereal, or chew a bite of dinner. This is really a technique from mindfulness, and it can do a lot to raise awareness to how fast we tend to go, and how hard it is to pay attention or control our actions when we’re moving so fast.
A really fun way to teach this to your kids is to have them walk (not run) as quickly as they can around the house (you can also do this outside). Tell them to keep going for a while, and notice what they can pay attention to around them when they’re moving really fast. Then ask them to cut it to half speed, and tell you what they are noticing. Do that for a while, and then cut it to half speed again. Do this several times until they are barely moving and are talking in slow motion. Not only can it be a lot of fun, but it helps them see that there is a lot of stuff they are missing when they are racing through life.
Not that racing is bad – sometimes it’s exhilarating. But we want to teach our kids the value in slowing down, too. Especially when everything around us feels like it’s speeding up at a rapid pace.