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There's an online movement I've seen gaining
momentum in recent weeks. A call for something known as "Slow Parenting." The premise is that kids should be free to direct their
summer—to play, daydream, enjoy time off with no structured activities.
It is not a new idea, but there seems to be
renewed interest as the summer season approaches. Many moms I know online
are pledging publicly to let their kids slow down this year and really enjoy it. My Facebook feed has been filling up with their blog posts.
I can relate to their desire to do things differently.
On the other end of the spectrum, this is the time of year some
parents have a tendency to become anxious about helping their children catch up or get ahead and gain an edge for the next school year.
The simple fact is these options are a luxury few are actually able to participate in.
This concern is often fueled by headlines that scream,
"Avoid The Dreaded Summer Slide!" Just the other day I was in a
Barnes & Noble and was amazed by the number of tables filled with summer
workbooks. Although, sheepishly I will admit there was a time I would probably have snatched up a stack
These days, I shoot for balance in the
summer. I do want to slow down to a certain extent but also need to continue
meeting deadlines and contributing to my family's income. Working from home
affords me a certain flexibility, and at no time is that more obvious, and
appreciated, than summer.
Our calendar for the coming months
contains a mixture of structured activities my daughter will enjoy and
unscheduled downtime we can spend as we choose. She and I have a "bucket list"
of activities we'd like to engage in while school is out. We'll enjoy a family
vacation with my husband as well.
We are very fortunate. The
simple fact is these options are a luxury few are actually able to participate
Single parents and couples who both
work outside the home—representing the majority of American families according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—are likely having very different discussions this time of year.
As with most things in life, the view of summertime depends on your perspective.
may or may not have year-round childcare lined up. If there are school-aged
children involved, they could be scrambling to figure out what to do for the
summer and worrying about what it costs. School could be the childcare
solution for much of the year. For a few months a year, that changes.
And the so-called "summer
slide?" It is real. Students who experience it most tend to come from
low-income families, reports
Scholastic. That means those who do not have the luxury of contemplating whether to
slow down or fill their child's summer schedule with fun, enriching activities.
As with most things in life,
the view of summertime depends on your perspective. I'm grateful for the
choices my family has. I wish they were the norm instead of the exception. I would
love for more families to have options.
But I don't know how we get there.
What does summer look like
for your family? Are you happy with your options or do you wish you could
approach this time of year differently?