How Books Help Us Slow Down

Books Help Us Slow Down

“Hurry up…”

“Eat dinner quick and then get ready for…”

“We don’t have time to…”

Have you uttered any of these phrases recently to your kids? It seems the fast-paced world we live in is only getting faster.

Each year a country is chosen to pick a theme for International Children’s Book Day. The 2019 theme, chosen by Lithuania, is “Books Help Us Slow Down.” Slowing down isn’t just a problem in the United States. People around the world are struggling with information overload, haste and rush.

Finding ways to slow down is more important now than ever.  

The Case for Slowing Down

In a recent article, a youth pastor described how he kept hearing from parents, teachers and friends how kids lived increasingly busy and stressful lives compared to previous generations.

He wanted to dig deeper and asked a dozen kids to write down three words that described their lives. The most common words written were: stressful, complicated, overinvolved, full of transitions, anxiety, uncertainty, pressure, and exhaustion.

Read those words again. They are full of negative connotations.

How many parents could use those same words to describe how they feel? My husband and I are constantly rushing from one activity to another. Even if our three kids are only involved in one activity at a time, those activities each have several practices/games/meetings and it all adds up.

If I ask another parent, “What are you doing this weekend?” they’ll often list obligations, which are more for their children than for them.

This may be the stage of life we are in with our school-age kids, but it doesn’t mean we can’t make time to slow down.

How Books Help Us Slow Down

I remember when my kids were smaller our lives centered around sleeping, eating and playing. There was more time to just be. As our kids have grown, the demands on our time have grown, too.

With kids always on the go, there isn’t much time to be bored. As much as our kids love their activities, they need unstructured play and a slower pace.

Books provide just that.

When a child opens a book, they are transformed into another world. If it’s a picture book, they’ll take in the illustrations as well as the story. They are forced to slow down as they focus on understanding the storytelling.

Children's Books

Reading aloud to your child is a way for you both to slow down the pace. Not only will your child benefit developmentally from reading aloud, you’ll bond over sharing a book with a little snuggle time!

Books allow kids to imagine and dream. They allow them quiet time. They allow them to be still.

In this world where we feel there isn’t enough time in the day, carve out time to slow down with a book. Your kids will thank you for it.

“Books make great gifts…they have the whole world inside of them.”

– Neil Gaiman

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