Review: Slow Family Living

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Slow Family Living: 75 Simple Ways to Slow Down, Connect, and Create More Joy is a book by Bernadette Noll, mother of 4 kids, who together with Carrie Contey, PhD in prenatal and perinatal psychology, began Slow Family Living.

It is our desire to help families and individuals find ways to slow things down, not with a recipe or a prescription, but rather by questioning how things are going, and finding ways that work for them. It is our biggest intention to help families find ways to slow things down, connect and enjoy life together. (from slowfamilyliving.com)

This book is a collection of ideas, stories, and questions that Noll shares from her experience in raising 4 kids. The Nolls are thoughtful and intentional parents who seem to be gentle, structured, loving, and a whole lot of fun.

Why did I choose to review this?

Slow Family Living drew me in by its title– who wouldn’t want some ideas on slowing down and connecting? Jake and I tend to put decent hedges around our pace of life. We’ve said “no” to sports that demand us to be somewhere multiple days a week. We nearly always eat dinner together. Our weekends are crafted to include time where we have no place to be. At the same time, the buzz of class schedule, writing deadlines, household chores, kids’ needs, homework, “homeschool preschool” activities, various once-a-week lessons, library times, etc. can make us feel a bit (or a lot) frazzled by the end of the week.

My takeaway:

Bernadette Noll is super gracious in her approach to slow living. She writes out of a place of gentleness where she is simply sharing about her family’s experiences/desires/goals. She realizes all of those ideas are not for everyone, so she encourages readers to just take what you like and discard what you don’t.

Some of her ideas that we will be or have already implemented:

  • The “Do-Over”: When someone says something unkind, impatient, or downright rude, someone says “Do-Over!” which allows for the rudeness to be called out, but in a way that gives the person a chance to make it right. This simple phrase allows for the bad attitude to be corrected right then and there, and the air to be cleared of bad, grudgy feelings for the next hour.
  • Throw the Rules Out the Window: Eat dessert first. Abandon bed time (one night only, use sparingly :)). Lift screen time limits for a whole day. Wear PJs all day long. The point of this, I think, is doing something surprising that will make a memory and foster a fun family culture.
  • What Do You Need?: In a common area, place a whiteboard where everyone can write what they need throughout the week. Perhaps it’s more Triscuits or a carton of ice cream… but maybe it’s an hour of alone time, a date night, a hug, or additional screen time. Just because it’s on the board doesn’t mean that the person gets it, but it allows everyone to see the felt needs of the family and perhaps another family member can help meet those needs throughout the week.

Where can you go to learn more?

After reading the book you can head over to their website, Slow Family Living. On it you can learn more about Bernadette and Carrie, as well as other events, websites, etc. that they recommend. And of course, if you like what you see, you can follow them on FB and Twitter.

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