Day Number Six of 20 Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother

Sleep and rest are extremely important cornerstones of Waldorf parenting and education, and one area that it seems many attachment parents struggle with.  Let’s take a closer look at sleep today and see if we can improve things for all members of the household!

First of all, a Waldorf perspective is that a small child may be born without much rhythm to their sleep and wake cycles.  I think that  those of us with what the Attachment Parenting’s movement terms “higher needs” infants, toddlers and children can attest to that many times the lack of rhythm seems to almost carry on through past the point where it is biologically protective.  For example, we don’t want a small baby, or even a baby up until 10 months or so sleeping through the night.  You say, wow, 10 months, really?  Why 10 months?  Because studies have shown that breastfeeding babies at 10 months are receiving ONE-QUARTER of their calories at night!  Many people say their babies “self-weaned” under a year and I think this is due to a highly distractible baby in many cases who is completely wrapped up in gross motor movement during the day and not as interested in nursing – and if they are sleeping through the night, that really cuts down on their calories!  Remember, human milk is the number one source of calories throughout the entire first year if not LONGER!   So I don’t want to shortchange that.  I also don’t want to have a 2 to 5 month old baby who sleeps through the whole night when the risk of SIDS is highest.  However, do remember that many in the medical community do regard “sleeping through the night” as a five-hour stretch, not the seven to nine hour stretch many of  us regard as a full night’s sleep!

However, there is something to be said regarding gently helping your child to establish sleep and wake cycles.   A child who is very irregular and has no rhythm may really need your help in this area!   For those of us attachment parenting with multiple older children along with babies,  many of us have found it easier to have a napping child in a sling while we do things with older children as opposed to “getting the baby” to bed multiple times a day and then work toward that as the number of naps decreases.  Even after a nap is “gone” (and I daresay in the olden days children did nap for longer than they seem to today!), we replace it with quiet time for the children and ourselves.  Especially with homeschooling, one needs this break!  And children need to learn the value of being quiet without someone or something electronic entertaining them!

Here are some posts regarding sleep from an attachment parenting perspective:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/16/co-sleeping-and-nighttime-parenting/   including parameters for safe co-sleeping and includes an interesting dialogue about what happens if co-sleeping doesn’t work for you!

And here are some posts from a Waldorf perspective:

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/12/bringing-rhythm-to-your-baby/

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/14/part-two-of-a-waldorf-inspired-view-of-sleep/

and here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/13/a-waldorf-inspired-view-of-sleep/

I would love to see a lot of dialogue on this topic; sleep becomes a crucial part of teaching with the Waldorf educational process with the three-day rhythm, so these are important issues to think about early on!

Blessings,

Carrie

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12 thoughts on “Day Number Six of 20 Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother

  1. Pingback: Day Number Six of 20 Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother « The … « Improvers

  2. Hi Carrie,

    This is totally unrelated to your ongoing “Mindful Mother” posts which we are enjoying, but was hoping you could point me in the direction of any literature in regard to differences between boys and girls under 7yrs. I have 3 girls 3, 4 and 6 and find I am constantly told by mothers of boys “You wouldn’t know what to do with boys”, “You don’t understand you don’t have boys”, “Boys are SO different to girls” etc. I have 13 years experience teaching under 7′s in mainstream though not where I am currently living, we are the only family in our small town that homeschool and support a waldorf perspective within our family life.

    Maybe I need to practice being a more Mindful Mother towards other Mothers….

    Thank you,
    Bec

    • Hi, I have done several reviews on this blog regarding “Raising A Son” and “Raising A Daughter” …I would recommend those books. Also, if you search through Bob and Nancy’s bookshop and also Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore, there are several books geared specifically toward boys. I have several posts about boys as well, Boys Under 7 and Hitting and several about this attitude you have mentioned that really bothers me: this habit in our society of essentially putting boys down. They are different than girls in some ways, but that is to be celebrated and honored, not put down. I personally enjoy boys and think they are fun; and I adore my husband and he was once a boy, LOL. I think these are the same parents who think girls can be happy just sitting around with glitter glue for several hours – some are, my girls are extremely physical. Parents need assistance in dealing appropriately with small children in general I think!
      Enough soapbox, sorry for the little rant! :)

  3. I completely agree about not wanting young babies to sleep through the night… I have said that/written about it on my blog, and people are usually shocked to hear that I do not want my baby to sleep all night long until a year old! And so far they haven’t started sleeping thru the night at a year either… it hasn’t been until 18 months (or more, as my 20 month old is not sleeping all night yet).

    My 4 yr old has not napped since she was three and a half to four, but we continued having “rest time.” I had her stay in her own room to do this since she sometimes would fall asleep, but lately I have had her try doing her quiet time out in the den with me while the one yr old naps. Sometimes she tends to be less focused when I am there and wants to talk to me… I am interested in what parameters others set for quiet times for non-napping kids? Alone in room or out with mom in the den/living room? What kinds of activities – books only, quiet toys, does mom read to the child for part of the time or do they stay silent?

    Also, I am curious how interruptions in sleep affect a four yr old… my daughter tends to wake at least once a night, sometimes twice, to use the toilet. And sometimes she just wants to be tucked back in and have one of us lay next to her for a couple minutes. I know at some point she’ll fel confident enough to just go to the bathroom on her own without waking us… But I wonder if this is disruptive to her quality of sleep?

  4. hi carrie. i’d love your perspective on how to manage a quiet time for my very spirited son. he is 3.5 and he gave up naps about 9 months ago. i also have a 13 month old who is down to one nap. while she is napping i try to have my son rest quietly but the only way i have found to accomplish this is if i let him watch some television. (i know! i am so ashamed!) my 13 month old naps in her crib in her room for somewhere between 30 – 60 minutes and after that i put her in the wrap and bounce her while i work on my computer. my son will sit quietly with me while i knit or read with him before she wakes but once i am wearing her he will not do quiet time on his own. if i have us all do quiet time in my bed he also will wake her. i feel like her middle of the day sleep is a priority so i just use the television for that time. but, i’d love to hear other idea’s of way to handle this (that are in line with my attachment parenting model).

    note: my son never napped alone when he did nap. he won’t stay in his room alone even with toys. he still has a high need for time/physical contact with me.

    ok, thanks!!!

    robin

    • HI there, I think Donna uses a two day rhythm in most of her grades material, some grades teacher use a three day rhythm – this is for the grades only, ages 7 and up. You present the material for the Main Lesson on Day One, let it rest and let the child sleep on it. The second day may include re-visiting what was told, and activities that tie into the material and the third day usually would include the academic piece of writing about the Main Lesson, etc. The day rhythm permeates through all the blocks when you teach the grades so the child gets to sleep on the material for two whole nights after it is first presented. There is also the concept of rest in block teaching, ie I teach math for a month, I then let it rest and teach a different subject for a month…
      Hope that helps!
      Carrie

  5. Pingback: Hybrid Rasta Mama: Mindful Mother Challenge #5 - The Results

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