Isn’t it easy to just barrel down the road until something forces us to slow down? What we need are a few speed bumps in our path to remind us to ease up on the accelerator. Speed bumps can come in several sizes, just like these ideas that can introduce a new pace to your family’s schedule. These ideas are categorized by size: Mini, Medium, and Mega.

Scan the lists. See if any suggestions stand out. See if these slow you down a little and leave you breathing a little deeper and relaxing, even in the middle of relative chaos.


You want to make changes right now, but you can’t launch a complete life overhaul. So, how about implementing some simple, everyday ideas that will serve as speed bumps? These ideas will slow you down and offer a moment’s pause in your daily routine. Print off the list and work your way through, focusing on one per week.

  • Talk more slowly.
  • E-nun-ci-ate each word.
  • Pause at the end of sentences. 
  • Drive the speed limit. Set your cruise control to keep constant, especially in 30 mph and school zones.
  • Accelerate slowly when the light turns green. Try to keep your rpms under 2,000. 
  • Let others go first off the elevator. Practice saying, “After you.” 
  • Chew each bite at least 20 times. 
  • Eat with a smaller fork. 
  • Lie in a hammock. 
  • Take a deep breath. Blow it out–slowly, of course. Now do it again. Ahhhhh….. 
  • Yawn (but make sure your boss can’t see you). 
  • Stretch. 
  • Minimize meals-in-motion this month; sit down to eat. 
  • Set down your fork between bites.
  • Say grace at every single meal. 
  • Print out a clip-art turtle. Tape it to your dashboard. 
  • Instead of a bagel on the run, prepare oatmeal overnight in the crock pot and enjoy a hot breakfast.
  • Eat dinner at home one more night each week than you normally do. 
  • Go to the library one evening. Settle into a comfy chair and read stories to each other until closing.
  • Set the table with nice dinnerware and cloth napkins. Light some candles. Play soft music. 
  • Smile and look your child in the eye for at least the count of ten. What precise color are his eyes?
  • Watch the sun set. 
  • Break your bread at meals, silently acknowledging that the Lord’s body was broken for you (not pretending communion—just an everyday reminder of His sacrifice and presence).
  • Stargaze. Everybody lie down on blankets in the yard and find the Big Dipper. 
  • Ask somebody a question. Then stop. Listen. Let her talk. 
  • Bake cookies and take some to neighbors. Invite them for a visit, if they have the time. 
  • Sip tea. 
  • Go for a stroll. Meander. 
  • Fold an origami zoo, learning techniques alongside your kids. 
  • Skip rocks across a pond. 
  • Change to comfortable clothes at the end of the work day. Wear sneakers–or slippers. 
  • Read a poem aloud at breakfast. No rushing, even if it’s a snappy little limerick. 
  • Go to bed an hour earlier tonight. 
  • Drop everything and read two books to your toddler … or ten. 
  • Long commute with the kids? Turn off the radio. Interact. 
  • Declare a Single-Task Day—for one day, focus on one task at a time. Refuse to multi-task.  
  • Take a bath. 
  • Always have a puzzle in the works. Stop and place a few pieces.
  • Fold newspaper boats with the kids and sail them in a nearby stream (clean up the soggy remains). 
  • Take a nap. Send the kids to nap, too, even if they’re 14 years old. 
  • Light a fire in the fireplace, if you have one. Sit in front of it. Snuggle with somebody.  
  • Schedule an in-house spa night with friends. Soak your feet in bath salts. 
  • Hang a bird feeder and keep it filled. Take time to watch the visitors. 
  • Consolidate errands and buy less. 
  • Instead of text-messaging or e-mail, pick up a phone and chat. 
  • Never run to answer the phone. *
  • Eliminate “hurry” from your vocabulary. *
  • Make eye contact. *
  • Get outside every day. *
  • Spend a few minutes in prayer every day. *
  • Record everyday moments, like something your toddler says. *
    * (these suggestions found at It’s All About Love)


If you’re prepared to make some bigger changes, try out some of these medium-sized steps on the way to a slower life:

  • Cut one activity from your child’s schedule. Stay home and play together, instead.
  • Go for a walk every morning.
  • Knit, crochet, or do needlepoint. Kids, too. Even boys are learning to knit.
  • Sew something by hand. *
  • Take up acrylic or oil painting.
  • Go fishing.
  • Reheat leftovers on the stove instead of the microwave.
  • Establish an after-dinner ritual that keeps you lingering at the table. Read. Talk. Play a game. Drink hot chocolate or a smoothie.
  • List ten goals for yourself and your family. Prioritize 1 through 10. Cross off the bottom six and focus on what remains.
  • Scrapbook as a family. Remember when…
  • Schedule a weekly game night. “Chutes and Ladders,” anyone? “Apples to Apples”?
  • Stroll through an art museum. Stare at a sculpture. Read all the signs.
  • Repeat after me: “I’m sorry, but I’m not able to help with that at this time.”
  • Before agreeing to something, check with the rest of the family. Compare schedules. Say no if there are conflicts.
  • Organize your schedule so that you eat dinner at home most nights.
  • Eliminate all fast food.
  • Take off your watch. Live one day–maybe a Sunday–without watching the clock.
  • Why let yourself be instantly accessible, 24/7? Let calls go to VM on your cell phone.
  • No big destination for your next vacation; just rent a little cabin or go camping. Hike. Play games. Write stories. Read. Swim.
  • Camp overnight in a park or even just the back yard.
  • Cancel two activities next week.
  • Simplify your home (and minimize stress) by decluttering and organizing your space.
  • Reduce the crazies the night before a busy day by setting out everything and loading the car.
  • Choose one season to forgo all after-school activities.


Sometimes a family needs to just stop everything and slam on the brakes. Whether a family is forced to change everything due to an illness or job loss, or everyone is simply fed up with the hamster-wheel-spinning lifestyle that has them going nowhere fast, a major slow-down is possible.

  • Plan, plant, weed, and harvest a garden together as a family.
  • Move close to your school, church, and/or work to minimize commutes.
  • Eat only unpackaged, unprocessed foods at home as a family. Get everybody involved in the preparation.
  • Walk or bike to work and for errands. It might take longer, but you’ll be healthier and go slower.
  • Home-educate your kids, but don’t run all over town signing up for classes.
  • Take a sabbatical and travel with your family. Don’t just cover ground; relish the journey.
  • Downsize to one car. Stay home more, work from home, or bike.