The Slow Parenting Movement


Several years ago I found myself drowning in commitments: MOPS, teaching classes, playdates, hosting meetings at our house, youth group staff, other church commitments…the list was neverending.  With a two year old and an infant I finally hit the point where I knew I couldn’t keep up the insanity. That was my turnaround point. I began ruthlessly pruning commitments and two years later I am finally in a place of peace. I discovered that if I’m not vigilant, new commitments creep in and cramp my life. Keeping a watchful eye on our schedule is crucial to my family’s happiness and stress level. So for several years I’ve been purposefully guiding my family in a direction that is, well, different from most families I know.  Sometimes I wish I knew more other families (I do know some) like mine who are trying to live life differently from the rest of the fast paced world. Then today I stumbled across something that struck such a chord with me that I just have to share it here.

Slow Parenting. I generally hate labels. Even when I fit a label, I shy away from using the name. I don’t use the word “green” to describe my environmental efforts. I don’t know why that word annoys me. I hesitate to jump on bandwagons. But this is the first I’ve heard of a parenting style that is exactly what I’m trying to do within our family.  Finally I’ve found a group of parents out there who are like me. Here’s a brief explanation:

“Slow parenting is about bringing balance into the home. Children need to strive and struggle and stretch themselves, but that does not mean childhood should be a race. Slow parents give their children plenty of time and space to explore the world on their own terms. They keep the family schedule under control so that everyone has enough downtime to rest, reflect and just hang out together. They accept that bending over backwards to give children the best of everything may not always be the best policy. Slow parenting means allowing our children to work out who they are rather than what we want them to be.
“Slow parents understand that childrearing should not be a cross between a competitive sport and product-development. It is not a project; it’s a journey. Slow parenting is about giving kids lots of love and attention with no conditions attached.”
– Carl Honoré, the author of “The Power of Slow: Finding Balance and Fulfillment Beyond the Cult of Speed,” and “Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting.”

There are so many aspects of my life in which I feel like I’m swimming upstream from the rest of the world. Some areas are related to my faith and the resulting differences from others in the world, while other areas have to do with our choices to generally slow down and savor life while so many around us in Orange County are striving to succeed in the fast lane. I’m not interested in the fast lane; I’d rather stand on the side of the road and look at the scenery. I’d like to do a set of  future posts on how I’m embracing this “slower” lifestyle (parenting and otherwise) and how it’s working (or not working!) for us.  I’d be interested in hearing from any of you about specific ways you’re embracing a slower lifestyle. I’m just so glad to find out that maybe there’s a movement beginning out there that’s encouraging us to slow down and savor life…I think our children will thank us.


17 thoughts on “The Slow Parenting Movement

  1. Thanks for sharing that… it’s exactly what I’ve been stressed out about lately. It seems like between church & kindergarten, appointments and responsibilities, we’re just flying around and not taking the time to slow down and actually enjoy the moment. I need to check out those books! And definitely, please post more on the topic!

  2. *Wow* I have so many thoughts runny through my head after I read this. I think the only thing that comes to mind right away is Yes! That’s It! Thank You!

    What you’re talking about is my main focus in life right now…except I am more like {your} 2 years ago at the moment; just starting out. Currently I am ready Living Simplly with Children by Marie Sherlock. Did you read it? Thoughts?

  3. These are some of the reasons we chose to homeschool our kids. Many homeschoolers treat homeschooling just like public school…how many activities can we get the kids in? We just never got into that. Our son played homeschool football for 2 years, and our daughter was one of their cheerleaders. That was about it!
    Good for you…the road less traveled. Your kids will thank you for it.

  4. I love this concept! It fits for what we are doing and how we are living and I am going to use it! Thank you for sharing… just now, I smell fresh cut grass…. mind you I live in a high rise apartment building on the beach, so this brings lovely memories growing up in Northeast Ohio…

    As a new homeschooling mom, I am constantly trying to figure out the parent/teacher/explorer/motivator role. But in the end we are together moving at the children’ pace of energy and not my agenda. WE are not rushed around in our daily lives meeting other demands, but we are listening to our own.

    Living life on our terms in our rhythms is awesome and I just love the way the Slow Parenting concept fits for us.

    Bravo for going against the crowd…. sometimes it is the only way to gain perspective!

  5. Well, hello! I followed your link here from your comment over at my place. I love your post today, by the way. Great reminders…and I always seem to need those.

  6. Bravo!! I am not a parent, I could never have a child, but I see so many people pushing their children and these young souls do not even know what it is like to be a “child”, to play outside, get dirty, not be scheduled for this and that. Lots of structure and what will they be like when they get older? And I see too much of trying to keep up with the neighbors, etc. Who can really afford all that? We want our children to have everyting, but they have to learn that just because they want something doesn’t mean they will get it.
    Xo, SuZi

  7. Hi, Linn! We’re with you. Kids are playing with playdough right now, and we spend lots of time reading and playing inside and out. I just don’t want to miss this time with them, especially by sticking them in activities they aren’t really interested in yet. Keep on keeping on!

  8. Love the name of your blog!! I just bought and planted a Peace Rose today to remind me that there needs to be more peace around me. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a sweet comment. I’ve been pursuing a slower life and it’s wonderful to finally see things I used to miss while running in the rat race. When I used to commute to work from here in north county San Diego to Orange County I often wished I could just stop at the strawberry fields at the 5 and 405 freeway merge and just help. It wasn’t long after that I quit the corporate world to stay home with my children. I’m so glad I did, it was so worth it!! Love the name “Slow Parenting Movement,” I’m definitely in it and so are my pals. Hugs and blessings, Kim

  9. mmmmmmmm. slow. everything is better around here when it is slow. when we can all sit down to supper together with daddy and just play with him in the evening. when we don’t have to run here an dthere. when there is time for coloring and stories and tickling. yes. slow is good. very good.

  10. Totally agree!! I love this and this is my mindset. Short story, I met a mom that has two kids in my school and she described to me that when her kids get home from school she does two hours of homework. (Even though our Montessori school doesn’t require it) I guess most public schools pack on the homework which weighs down on home life after school.

    But my thoughts about this are that if I push my kids to succeed (and succeed in the way most in our society call succeeding), then I am not teaching them to be happy. We are perpetuating this mindset to our children. If we can have a slower life, enjoy it, embrace it, then I am helping my kids learn to be happy. Do all the people that just think about money and big houses and more and more think this makes them happy? It’s a big dilusion.

    I feel like I am swimming against the tide. But, this is the only way I can live. I can’t live the other way. It makes me too crazy.

    I am looking forward to more of your thoughts on this subject!!

  11. Slow parents understand that childrearing should not be a cross between a competitive sport and product-development. It is not a project; it’s a journey.

    that quote you posted was gold to me. so true! thanks for the post.

  12. Slow living for us means living on an island without cars, riding our bikes, taking walks in the rain, and things like that. I love the idea, but I too shy away from lables.

  13. thanks so much for sharing this, it really resonated with me. i also cower from labels but right away this one struck a happy chord with me (maybe the reference to slow food, which i also adore). i’m looking forward to hearing more about your journey. i think we’re on similar paths 😉

  14. After several phone conversations about how busy life is, my best friend Monica from everydaysimpleabundance pointed me to your blog, in particular, this entry. I LOVE the slow parenting movement! I have battled breast cancer and a thyroid cancer recurrence over the past 18 months and life has been a forced slow down for us. During this time I’ve learned a lot about the importance of rest, peace and living each day for what it is. Thank you for your words!

  15. Dear ___,
    I’m sorry, I couldn’t find your name here. This is a lovely, peaceful site and I am creating an anthology of peace ( describes in more detail my project. The pages there: 1,000 Pieces of Peace and Poets and Authors’ Page.)

    I would love to include some of your quotes in the book and will also contact Carl Honore to see if I may quote him.

    The book has a calendar format, so I would need your birth month and day, too, please, if you allow me to quote you.

    Thank you very, very much!
    Judy Lucas
    Camarillo, CA.

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