Life in the slow lane: Ways to find peace and comfort at home & summer travel

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

When it comes to today's child-rearing techniques, children are all too often viewed as products to be refined and groomed for success. Lately, we've seen a burst of articles about "over-parenting," "helicopter parenting," "fear-based parenting" but no matter how you phrase it, the root problem is the same. Parents are feeling isolated, confused, and insecure about their ability to create a satisfying home life, so they send their children out into the world to "get ahead." The result? A million extracurricular activities, private sessions with tutors, a playroom stocked with enrichment DVDs.

Rather than forcing intellectual and creative development by putting your child on warp speed, try the opposite approach: make your home a "slow home." Here are 6 ways to try it out.

1. Create mindful spaces.

We can feel the difference in spaces that have been worked with and considered, in contrast to spaces that are thrown together. Take the time to think about each room, how it is used, and how you can make it more cozy and harmonious. Sometimes the color of the room needs to be refreshed or changed, or the furniture rearranged to provide opportunities for communicating with each other. For example, in the living room, arrange a couple of chairs together to encourage talking and visiting; and put a comfortable chair in the corner with a lamp and a stack of books to encourage quiet contemplation.

2. Go handmade.

Intuitively, we know that something that is handmade is more valuable than something machine made, and often we pay extra for that added value. So instead of buying something, make it whether it is drawing a birthday card, knitting a simple scarf, or baking cookies. It doesn't have to be hard and the benefits are great, including fostering a sense of confidence and a feeling of self-reliance in yourself and in your children.

3. Nurture the senses.

Every room in the home offers a sensual experience. Pay attention to all of the senses while you are making your home light beeswax candles for their lovely honey smell, different textiles like wool, cotton, silk to bring texture to the bedroom. Vary the colors in the rooms for a pleasing , calming visual effect.