Slow Parenting At The Lake

Slow Parenting At The Lake

After school used to be the worst part of my day. I feel like a monster admitting it but coming home after work was stressful. I’d rush out of work so my father-in-law could get home before the city traffic set it. My boys were almost always waiting at the door for us to walk in. It was a mixed blessing. My heart swelled that they were so excited I was home but my mind would cringe at the chaos. We’d barely step in the door and there would be getting requests for snacks, park outings, or a trip to the store. And on the night we had swimming lessons, I’d secretly take any reason just to skip it.

Slow parenting at the lake

Since moving to the lake, our days have slowed down. Working from home has allowed me to stop work most days before they come home. And life is different in the country. The buzz of the city doesn’t pull us and without a neighbourhood park (or even neighbours) we do things on our own.

When we moved here I considered putting in a play structure since all my kids could play with were trees, leaves, the forest, and the lake. But then I thought, “My kids can play with trees, leaves, the forest, and the lake”. And they do-through all the seasons.

Autumn at the lake slow parenting

embracing slow parenting

Lakeside slow parenting

Slow parenting is about following your child’s lead. They direct both the play and the pace. Most days after school, I follow their lead and we meander down to the lake to explore. And if the weather is even slightly warm, boots or shoes and pants come off and they wade into the water to touch rocks, sticks, shells, or whatever catches their interest.

It’s not all magic. You’ll see in this video, my older one nudge the younger one. But there’s less bickering and more cooperation. And by the time we make our way up the path to our home to start dinner, I know that we’ve spent meaningful time together without an agenda.

I miss the city and so do my boys. In a flash, they’ll switch from talking about going home to Toronto to asking to play at the lake. I don’t know if we’ll be here forever but that’s not a decision I need to make yet. For now, I’ll soak up our slow days at the lake and hope these lessons in slow parenting follow us.

Have you tried slow parenting? How do you make time to follow your child’s lead?


  • Love it! I am trying…. I am trying… 🙂

  • Jamie says:

    Love this concept Sara! Lately on weekends we head up to our waterfront lot just to take in the beauty and fresh air (and to plan our build one day). It amazes me how long my toddler enjoys poking a stick in the water off the dock. That’s all he needs to be entertained for hours. At a slow pace, we all just enjoy the simplicity of it all and take in the breathtaking views.

    • Sara Vartanian says:

      Thanks, Jamie. That sounds so lovely. When we were deciding to buy our place, my kids spend time at the water for hours piling stones, floating sticks,-I knew I had to live here.

  • Hannah says:

    It feels sooo much better at their pace.
    Beautiful reminder to let the play just happen – how it wants, and when it wants.
    Also, I think trees, leaves, and rocks make for the best of toys. Ever heard of the Theory of Loose Parts? I’m halfway done a post on a workshop I attended this month. It’s one of my favourite early learning theories!

    • Sara Vartanian says:

      I haven’t heard about it, Hannah, so I’m really intrigued. Can’t wait to read about it.

  • Betsy (Eco-novice) says:

    Sounds absolutely lovely. I do find it challenging to slow down the pace of life, and my kids aren’t even in any organized activities/ classes! I do try to make time to spend lots of time outside hiking, etc.