The more time I spend at home, the more I’m convinced of the importance of taking things slowly as a parent with your kids, creating a calm space, being in it and just seeing what comes up. Don’t get me wrong; I love getting outdoors in to Nature and travel is one of my huge passions but once kids come along, I strongly believe that there is something extremely powerful for you and crucially, for your kids in just doing very, very little. I get asked a lot so here’s how we keep things slow around here:
1. Clear your diary – resist making plans and just block out a whole day with “n o t h i n g”. It might feel daunting, as if you’ll be bored (and maybe you will – but I have a feeling you won’t) but it’s the first and most important step in slowing down.
2. Tune in – we listen to music non stop throughout the day to keep things calm. It also helps me remain in an adult world and lifts my energy as and when. Here’s my playlist that we tend to put on first thing in the morning but we also listen to a lot of BBC Radio 4, podcasts, Ted Talks and chill.fm (it’s a digital radio station which is ad free – it’s awesome and seems to be the magic ingredient in getting the kids to fall asleep in the car).
3. Burn one down – environment is everything – there anything more relaxing than a lit candle? The first thing I do when I come downstairs is switch on the fairy lights and light some candles. Scented ones, for the win.
4. Get yourself a cuppa – and preferably find a favourite mug that just makes you feel good (because life’s too short to not have favourite mugs) and yes, I spend a lot of time re-heating my coffee on the hob because #mumlife.
5. Good pjs – ever tried get your child dressed in a rush? It’s one of my least favourite things in the world. We sometimes don’t get dressed until midday and sometimes if I’m being uber lazy, I might just throw a jumper over the top of the kids pjs. I currently hardly take off my Laura Ashley pyjamas, they’re just ridiculously comfortable and I love pink pinstripes. Most of all, don’t feel guilty about not getting dressed – it’s the stuff that dreams are made of, in my opinion.
6. Get cosy – blankets are a must and sometimes Sonny will just fall asleep on the floor which means having blankets around allows me to just grab one and lay it on the ground, and he’s off.
7. Entertainment – We try not to have too many toys in the house (I especially avoid plastic) mainly because I don’t like having too much ‘stuff’ in our space and I think it ensures a calmer space. But we do have lots of puzzles, building blocks, trains and wooden toys. And a tonne of toys that aren’t really toys, like tupperware, old keyboards and pieces of string. I personally feel less toys creates more creative minds in kids and helps them (and me!) not feel overwhelmed. We also have a pack of Mindful Kin play cards which we love for when we need some ‘inspiration’ – they’re a pack of cards with mindful based activities and such fun.
8. Use technology – whilst we definitely avoid TV, there are moments where TV can help create a calm and chilled out environment and I’m totally not entirely against it. We use it most when Sonny naps and Jack has exhausted playing alone (which he does so well), then I might pop it on for 45 minutes. I always set clear goals when switching it on though and always let Jack switch it off himself – I think that makes him feel like he has the control (!).
9. Get some fresh air – if you have access to outside space, be sure to pop out into it – even better in your pjs and a pair of wellies. I absolutely swear by fresh air; a quick run around a garden can turn around a funky mood.
10. Busy yourself with simple tasks – I’ll often think about dinner and start prepping first thing in the morning – and these days, Jack is more than happy to help too. It’s lovely to be able to take your time thinking about a meal (recently I’ve been making this sweet Moroccan vegan soup a lot), have your little one contribute and then be able to pop to get any ingredients you need during the day – this makes the perfect little trip outside! Equally, sounds dull but whilst the kids are playing this is when I’ll do the house chores and again, the kids are surprisingly interested in this too.
We tend to feel the need to leave the house arise naturally but I hope you might feel a little inspired to spend more time doing less, just be-ing at home with your little ones without rushing to get from A to B. If you give these sorts of mornings a go, I’d love you to tag how you spend your time using #zeroplansday!
I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks so much for reading. What would be your one tip when it comes to keeping things “slow”?
Emma Ross is mum to Jack and Sonny and runs Mamalina, a blog and vlog discussing motherhood, travel, zero waste, vegetarianism, yoga and more. www.mamalina.co