01 Sep Slow Down, Kangaroo!
Years ago we were on a family vacation with our dear friends and their daughters. We were driving the road to Hana in Hawaii. This road winds back and forth for 3 hours on what’s essentially a super-curvy 2-lane highway.
As our minivan lurched and swayed, the passengers rolled from side to side. Now our friend was driving on the fast side because he wanted to maximize the time at our destination. At one point he took a turn so quickly we all slid on our seats and smooshed into each other. My 3-year-old son was in a car seat and he too rolled sideways ’cause the road was steep at that point. He yelled at the top of his lungs, “SLOW DOWN, KANGAROO!” and we all fell into hysterical laughter. To this day I have no idea where that kangaroo came from but it was highly effective.
Later that night after the kids were asleep we adults lamented about how we were rushing on our vacation. (Cue the irony.)
It’s the end of summer so I thought I’d share a few sweet ways to slow down with your kids on this Labor Day weekend.
1. Declare a lounge day.
Announce to your family you’re having a day to hang out at home and just enjoy each other. Board games, a movie you’ve been meaning to watch, reading aloud, baking cookies or even bathing the dog may be on your wish list. Ask your kids what they’d like to do — and then actually do it. (Remember to stay present and not get caught up in your email or laundry.)
2. Create a meal from start to finish as a family.
This is a great weekend idea since the farmer’s market is usually open. Head out to see what looks good and let your kids pick out whatever ingredients they like — even if they don’t go together on your dream menu. Don’t forget the goat milk ice cream for dessert or whatever else sounds yummy. Bring it home and make your feast. Give everyone a task and then light candles, set the table and enjoy!
3. Camp at home — on the deck or in the backyard.
You can be in a tent or under the stars, and you still get to go inside for snacks and the toilet. And being at home you can have a campfire in a pit — or just use the bbq!
We recently went camping in the California Sierra mountains and while it was awesome, the amount of pre-work I did as mom — shopping, pre-prep of food, hosing out coolers, gear check, picking up last minute items — was nothing short of heroic (if I do say so myself!). It’s so much easier to simplify by staying at home.
4. Float on a river or lake.
Grab your floaties, life vests and noodles and relax in the water. Bring a picnic and make no other plans than to just be at and in the water. The shallows of rivers are toddler friendly — and don’t forget your super soakers!
5. Dig and plant one square foot.
Each person can get their own small space to play around in. For older kids, they might have flowers they enjoy and can transplant. Younger kids might plant from seed so they can continue the fun over time as they watch what comes up. And any one of you can just decide to make mud pies.
The whole thing can be as simple as harvesting that garden you’ve been meaning to get to or clearing out dead leaves. Some of us even prefer weeding!
I hope these ideas inspire you and your kangaroos to slow down and really enjoy each other. The truth is I remember my son’s funny comment the most about that trip to Hawaii!