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Slow down, You Move Too Fast – Soho Parenting

12 Sep Slow down, You Move Too Fast – Soho Parenting

9/21 Parenting Workshop – RSVP

Join us at Montclare on Wednesday, September 21st, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
SOHO Parenting: Your Preschooler’s Schedule: How Much is Too Much?

Over the last thirty years the busy, busy lives of adults have trickled down to become the busy, busy lives of children. At Soho Parenting we are concerned that our current culture’s ideas about what children need to learn, grow, and thrive have been transformed into a performance based, pressure-filled embarrassment of riches.

A preschooler’s schedule is now commonly filled with many extracurricular activities in addition to their school experience. This often means many transitions in a day and a roster of adult led activities rather than downtime, playtime and intimate time with beloved adults.

Alison Gopnik, research psychologist, sites important developmental research showing that children learn most from what occurs in the natural world of people and objects. She writes:

“The learning that babies and young children do on their own, when they carefully watch an unexpected outcome and draw new conclusions from it, ceaselessly manipulate a new toy or imagine different ways that the world might be, is very different from schoolwork. Babies and young children can learn about the world around them through all sorts of real-world objects and safe replicas, from dolls to cardboard boxes to mixing bowls, and even toy cellphones and computers…But what children observe most closely, explore most obsessively and imagine most vividly are the people around them. There are no perfect toys; there is no magic formula. Parents and other caregivers teach young children by paying attention and interacting with them naturally and, most of all, by just allowing them to play.”

A great day for a young child is pretty uneventful for a grown-up: breakfast and playtime at home, a walk to school, hours with friends and teachers and learning at school, playing in the park, home for more playtime, dinner, bath, and bed. Pretty simple, right? Actually, it’s just enough.

Our culture is all about speed and productivity. More and more we are losing the ability to live slowly and quietly and the suffering that comes from this is evidenced by the multitude of mindfulness apps now available. Mindfulness refers to the practice of being present and attentive in the moment. Rushing around from activity to activity is not conducive to this important kind of presence. Sitting on the floor while your child builds with Duplo blocks, cooks an imaginary meal or taking a little trip to the pet store to look at the fish tanks or gerbils seems pretty “low tech”. These simple activities may not seem as enriching or stimulating as a soccer team or Spanish lessons, but they are precisely what helps children learn about the world in a relaxed and organic way.

Of course we do not mean to imply that there is no place for swim class or a once a week art activity for your preschooler. It is our job to help balance our children’s lives with an awareness of our current cultures tendency towards over-scheduling. When we as parents can appreciate the way in which children grow and learn, we can make healthier choices about how to structure their lives. Don’t be afraid to take it a little more slowly and let your children discover the world at their own pace. All the excitement and the pressure in the world will be waiting for them.

  • 9/21 Parenting Workshop – RSVP

Join us at Montclare on Wednesday, September 21st, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

SOHO Parenting: Your Preschooler’s Schedule: How Much is Too Much?