|Cover of Slow Down|
Slowing down can be challenging, particularly at the beginning, to really change the habits and get into a slower and more beneficial pace.
Once you know and fully understand the reasons and benefits of 'why bother slowing down', this helps to motivate you to make the changes necessary.
Here are 6 tools that you can use to help you get there!
1. Visual Reminders
Put pictures, words or affirmations up to remind you that you need to slow down. Move them about and/ or update them once you are familiar with them in your environment so that you notice them more. You can get as creative as you like with this.
One family I am working with decided that putting random things around the house e.g. a sock in the fridge would serve as a reminder. I thought this was a wonderfully wacky idea and would definitely work!
2. Gestures and cues from a partner
If you have someone who is around when you are interacting with your child, they might be able to keep a check on your pace and give you a gentle reminder to slow down subtly to help you in the interaction. Whilst it is better to be able to self-regulate and monitor yourself with this, this tip can help to keep you on track while you are in the process of learning to do this.
3. Rating scale to use in the moment and after an interaction
This will vary from family to family but you can create your own rating scale for monitoring your ability/ efforts to slow down. Some people will use this during the interaction to help them keep on track and some people will prefer to do this after the interaction as an evaluation tool.
4. Filming the interaction
I always think this is the most effective tool to help you slow down, so many realisations can be made when an interaction is filmed. It can help you to realise that you are not as fast as you thought you were, or help you realise that your pace does have an impact on the quality of the interaction.
Either way, any realisation made during replay of an interaction is a valuable one to help you move forward and one that can help you determine your progress in ability to slow down.
5. Setting your intention before you start your interaction
Before you start your interaction take a few moments to centre yourself, take a few deep breaths before you start and remind yourself to go slow during this interaction. A good affirmation to use here would be "I allow myself to SLOW DOWN".
This way you are more prepared for your interaction, ready to slow down and your positive intentions will pay off creating quality moments that you can experience together.
6. Incorporate some slowing down for you in your own life
Life gets pretty hectic and chaotic and it is worth making sure that you incorporate a slow pace as much as possible in your life generally (not just in your interactions with your child). Aim to get into a habit of yoga, meditation, stretching, relaxation, gentle walking or something similar that you feel comfortable with, where you can reap the benefits of a slow pace for yourself.
Often this helps the general pace of life slow down and in turn you are in a better frame of mind and pace in your interactions with your child. Eventually you will realise that it is easier to adopt a consistently slow pace across (most) areas of life than dip in and out of fast and slow.
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