Book Review: Fed Up with Frenzy by Susan Sachs Lipman

I’ve written here before about the studies showing the many behavioral and academic benefits of unstructured free time for young children. We’ve learned that allowing for wide swaths of plan-less time for children allows them to tap into the creative world, their interests, play freely to discover about the world around them.

The places they end up, the activities they create, none of it could have ever been predicted with my (somewhat) adult mind. And I am constantly amazed at the learning and discoveries I hear when my daughters are engaged in deep play. 
Our society wants to speed everything up. Childhood becomes the market driven “tween” all too soon. Electronic devices fragment our attention and distract us from the right now moments. Children see adults engaged in a non-stop pace of life, and most parents are busy running around but wishing we weren’t.
Fed Up with Frenzy is a compelling book that explains how “slow parenting” can help families find meaningful time together, create calm, and promote creativity and bonding. 
The book shares how slow parenting:
  • Creates Successful Children
  • Slow Parenting Improves Physical and Psychological Health
  • Slow Parenting Allows Time for Beneficial Unstructured Play
  • Slow Parenting Allows for Valuable Downtime
  • Slow Parenting Fosters Irreplacable Connection and Learning
  • Slow Parenting Allows Us to Be Fully Present
  • Slow Parenting Fosters Discovery and WOnder
  • Slow Parenting Creates Family Memories
  • Slow Parenting Helps Create and Pass On Beloved Family Traditions
  • Slow Families Experience Purpose and Connection
I know I have seen my children benefit tremendously with considerable downtime, especially after periods of intense activity. These “down” days (although they are anything but) are like a creative reset for the body, mind and soul. I see how the anxiety lessens, and the day is a wide open swath of discovery. For me, too, these days offer moments of engaging with the kids and times when they are independent, where I might actually be able to do some reading, exercise, or catch up with friends.
This book’s true beauty lies in the next chapters. The book is packed with ideas for meaningful and fun activities, crafts, gardening activities, nature explorations, celebrations, ideas for traveling. Literally, I have had this book out on the coffee table, and when we are all sitting on the couch, thinking about what to do next, I open to a random page, and we do that. Often, we do something from the book for a little bit, then the girls make up their own activity based on the original idea from the book. For parents who are tired from work, but want to do something fun, memorable, and unplugged with their kids, this is an invaluable resource!
I also love the advice for parents about slow parenting. I know I will read the chapters on “Everyday Slow”(tips for every day) and managing time and creating joy again and again. 
If you are fed up with cell phones, computers, multitasking, feeling like a taxi service, and a general sense lack of meaning in family life, this book could really help. 
Or, if you already practice slower parenting, this book could simply provide you with validation, support and ideas. 
In any case, it is a great read. I think many children (and parents!) could do with less frenzy and stress, more free time, and stronger bonds. What do you think? 
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