Here's a question to ask yourself: Is a family that is constantly out and about, going here and there, attending music classes and swimming lessons, etc. better than one who stays home most evenings, and doesn't have their children in a bunch of different classes? Thought provoking, isn't it?

With the amount of choices that exist today, parents feel pressured to send their children to music class, dance class, swimming lessons, gymnastics, and maybe even a tutor. When they hear a friend talk about the activities that their children are involved in, they think..."Maybe I should be doing that".

My opinion is that leading a "slow life" is the BEST way to raise a child. What does this mean? It means having a routine, no matter if your children are babies, toddlers, or school-aged. It means participating in family activities inside the safest, most comforting place there is - the home. It means making a conscious choice about which activities to participate in rather than jumping on the bandwagon of classes.

The reasons for living a slow life are plentiful, however here are just a few:

1) Children who have time to play by themselves in a quiet environment are able to be creative, problem solve, and think about words they learned that day and things they saw and wondered about. They also become self-reliant and their self-esteem improves because they learn how to like spending time with themselves.

2) Children who spend quality "down time" with their families tend to have healthy self-esteems because they feel like they are a part of something important. They also feel good about themselves because they see that they are "liked" by their parents, not just "loved".

3) Children who have enough time to just play are able to develop naturally, meaning they remain their natural, appropriate age rather than having to grow up too fast while they learn how to cope with all that might exist in their busy schedule.

4) Most children who live slow lives tend to do better in school and feel better about going to school and learning. Homework typically isn't a battle either.

5) Children who live slow lives are typically more well-behaved and have respect for rules set by their parents.

Now that we know some of the benefits, what does a typical slow life look like? It depends on the age, so this week I will discuss babies and then move on to each developmental level in the following weeks.

Good Routine for Babies - This is for a 5-6 month old so adjust slightly to suit your child

7 AM if awake, milk feeding #1 then 15 minutes mommy and baby time (cuddle with books, play with toys, sing songs)

then 30 minutes of individual play time (while you have breakfast, get dressed) Ideas could be to put them on a play mat with toys and books or placed in a stand up activity table) Do a diaper change and then...

8:30 AM- 10:30 AM in bed for nap #1

10:30 AM if awake, milk feeding #2 (same routine as above, but this time you can do household tasks while they play)

noon - 2 PM in bed for nap #2

2 PM if awake milk feeding #3 followed a little later by solid food if you like this time of day (this time you can go outside to run errands or have a play-date). This gives you time outside and provides them with different stimuli)

3:30 PM - 5:30 PM in bed for nap #3

5:30 PM up if awake, last milk feeding sometime between 6 and 7:15 , then bath (optional) , dressing, song/story

8 PM into bed for the night.

Author's Bio: 

Erin Kurt, parenting & life coach to working mothers, and founder of ErinParenting, is also the author of Juggling Family Life and creator of The Life Balance Formula and the How to Get Your Child to Listen program.