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Slow Down! Slow Families Hit The Brakes On Kids' Schedules

Soccer practice. Swim lessons. Tennis camp. Gymnastics. Piano. Community theater.

Practically from the moment we give birth, parents are offered a plethora of structured activities for themselves and their kids. From your first new baby group to your kid’s high school theater habit, you are urgently invited to spend the next 20 years devoting every waking moment to enrichment activities.

A lot of these classes have a lot to offer. But some families have said “Enough already”, and chosen to slow down. The Slow Family Living movement in Austin tries to teach parents how to take time for themselves and their kids.

The slow family movement is focused on just one thing: Is this working? Is this activity or commitment or lifestyle nurturing connection in our family? Is it making everyone in the household healthy and strong?

One example, that rang very resonant for my life: you have a kid who is a rockstar at chess club, but then comes home and has a meltdown every time. Is that really working? Maybe chess club isn’t what your family needs.

A year ago, my kids were involved in half a dozen activities ranging from baby swim lessons to kindergarten gymnastics classes. We were rushing around every afternoon from school to class to lessons. Inspired by the Slow Family Living folks, this past winter we quit everything. Let’s just say things are a lot more peaceful since we all slowed down.

How scheduled is your family? Do you like the slow road, or prefer a more structured routine?

Photo: Pink Sherbert Photography

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