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The Gift of Slowing Down

This guest post was written by Emily Prebich, a former school librarian taking a break from the bookshelves to be a work-from-home-mom to her son. Today, she shares her thoughts on taking the time to slow down to your child's pace and really enjoy the little things with them everyday. Have an idea to share on our blog? Please get in touch here.

It’s Tuesday morning. You were supposed to be out the door ten minutes ago and your toddler isstill resisting. “Isn’t story time fun, honey?” “You love checking out new books!” “Remember when we talked about how much you love going to the library?” (You’re saying all this while nodding emphatically, of course, and are either ignored or there’s a meltdown on the rug.)

Appealing to their sense of reason and the joy they find in that activity isn’t helping. You’re getting more and more stressed out. You suddenly think, “Why am I pushing this? Do we really need to go?” That’s the moment that we so often miss. That’s the moment we so often push through because we think weshould be going to x, y, and z because our child enjoys going! Or, experts agree it’s good for children to (fill-in-the-blank)! This is the moment where we pause, take a look atwhy we’re pushing for something and figure out if it’s really necessary.

So much of a child’s time is spent doing things not on their terms or not of their choosing. The days where it feels like all I did was push or compromise, when I look back, really, I was driving the terms and conditions for what we were doing. I decided when, where, or for how long and, while my child may have had a great time, transitions were harder, or small things gave way to meltdowns.I needed to let go of some of the control and just be. And this is not to say that our children get to run our lives for us - there’s always a balance.

Side note: Doctor’s appointments are different - sometimes there’s going to be a struggle no matter how much you’ve prepared them.

Slow down and appreciate nature

When we’re walking together hand-in-hand, I often find myself in the lead, with my child’s arm pointing forward and almost stretched. There’s no strain. No pulling. But, when I pause my steps and walkbeside my child, there’s a whole new world there waiting for me to join and explore. All of a sudden, I’m no longer leading. We are partners. We are equals. This is that beautiful space of fully being in the moment. Slowing down my perceived needs and wants and experiencing the worldwith my child.

Sometimes it’s really that simple.

Back to getting out the door… You re-evaluate, slow down, and decide: this clearly isn’t what we need to be doing right now - let’s build that tower and catch another storytime later this week! Later, if your child is upset because they chose to build that tower rather getting to story time, that’s ok. Remind them when storytime is, and when you’ll need to leave so they have a chance to go if that’s their priority. But it might not be. It might be yours. Chances are, that you can find something similar within a week for them to look forward to. Use it as one of the many opportunities to recognize and acknowledge the feelings that your child is having - however small or huge they may be. Show them that you see them, you hear them, and you care.

Don't be afraid to read that book for the hundredth time!Or if you want to get out of that chair, but your child asks you to read that book for the fifth time in a row (or the thirtieth time this week), read it again. Find something new in the pictures to point out. Read it in a silly voice. Try pausing before finishing the sentence and see what your child does. Mix things up and stay engaged. Reading, and re-reading, to your child is such an amazingly important thing to do that our clinic now gives children a free book at every checkup!

These are things that might not be remembered when they graduate from high school. But the bond that you create by slowing down and truly being with your child, meeting them where they are in that moment, is creating something magical. So go ahead and draw a plethora of blue excavators (one can never have enough), skip the walk and build a fairy house, or take that walk, but stay right with them.

A Fairy House from a recent walk with my son

Each time I catch myself pushing for one thing and redirect myself, I smile on the inside. I don’t get things right all the time, but when I can step back and remove the “me” from the situation, I often find that I can let go and enjoy whatever it is that my child has found more exciting, or more important, at that moment than getting groceries. So, let there be chicken strips for lunch and trip to the store this afternoon because I’m here, and we have time.


Emily is taking time away from being a school librarian to be a stay-at-home-mom-of-a-toddler, working part-time from her porch. She is a certified Yoga Calm Instructor and an Usborne Books & More Consultant. You can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, or visit her store here.

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