The need to slow down childhood

Time seems to move faster the older we get! There never seems to be enough of it, yet we somehow keep looking ahead, waiting for the weekend or our next vacation. The world seems to be spinning faster and faster, endless scrolling, newer and better things available all the time, and the striving to reach for something that just seems to be out of our grasp.

The impact of this fast moving society, pressure to perform and achieve is seeping into the innocence of childhood, and stripping kids of their most valuable and precious time.

Childhood sets the blue print for the rest of their lives.

Childhood is slow, it’s curious, with ongoing questions (that sometimes never end) and infused with an underlying state of awe. It is a state of openness which allows us to receive the world and to be humbled by that which we don’t know. As adults we have been taught the “answers” to things, the logic behind how the world works, quickly fitting everything into separate and specific categories and formulas. Slowly and through no fault of our own, our curiosity has been diminished; we forget what it means not to know. We have often lost the connection to those important questions that may not have answers. The wonder behind the changing of the seasons, the instinct that drives animals to behave and adapt so precisely to their surroundings, the buds on the trees that know just the right time to flower. We stop listening to the seasons, and in turn our own nature, the ebbs and flows of the cycles that surround us.

The interconnectedness of all things.

Children have not yet been conditioned to see through a linear, finite lens, the connection that we are all born with. Often times it just takes a little bit of slowing down to remember.

Kids need time.

Time to process the world around them – Helping them make sense of their experiences.

Time to play without adult intervention. Angela Hanscom, author of Barefoot and Balanced suggests that a minimum of 30 – 40 minutes of unstructured time is needed before children start to figure out their chosen play schema.

Time to wonder, to experience awe – without having all of the answers.

Time to engage in the natural world with all of their senses.

Time to express themselves – Finding the words sometimes takes time.

Time to try to do things on their own without being rushed to do it “right” or “quickly.”

Time to listen to their bodies through free play.

Time to fall and time to try again.

Time to think. To create. To imagine. Without limits.

We need this next generation to be rooted in their own unique connections with themselves and the world. The ability to adapt to an ever changing environment, discern the inundation of information and noise, resiliency to move through adversity, and intrinsic confidence that comes from a strong sense of self and loving connection.

Children already know what they need to thrive, it’s us that needs to slow down.