I ADORE January! There is something about the new year, fresh starts, blank calendar pages, the whole lure of cleaning and organizing, that I just love! And the gardening catalogs and seed catalogs start to show up! Did I mention that?! Another reason to linger extra long over a cup of hot tea!
I invite you to take a look at some focus areas for the month that may help your life run a bit smoother in the New Year.
How about this wonderful home cleaning plan from the Organized Home website? I plan on following this and thought some of you may be interested as well: http://organizedhome.com/clean-house/2010-new-year-grand-plan-cleaning-challenge
From the Waldorf end of life, I know January can be a very cold month for many of you and harder to get the children outside for long periods of time. So, in that spirit, I propose to spruce up the play spaces. Can you rotate some toys in or out? Can you set up some play scenes with silks and other natural objects? Here are some back posts to get you started if this is new to you: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/05/fostering-creative-play/
If it is really cold where you are, how can your children get their energy out and their sensory needs met? Do you have a little trampoline, a small plastic box for tabletop sand play, a swing to hang in a corner, pillows to jump on, creative and active singing games? Will they be kneading bread, rolling out cookie dough with a rolling pin, crawling under tables like a puppy, jumping like a toad, playing with salt dough?
For my Down Under readers who are in the height of summer, how about this back post? http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/01/celebrating-summer-with-small-children-a-waldorf-perspective/
As far as your own work, what new practical skill are you going to learn or work on this January through May time frame? Knitting, hand sewing, cooking, baking, weaving? I have some plans for sewing some dolls’ clothes for Valentine’s Day. Our Waldorf homeschooling group will be making Rose Windows in honor of Valentine’s Day, which I am excited about as I have never done that. I also am in the mood to knit so I will continue making hats for everyone in the family. What are doing with your hands this season to show your children work? Even showing a child ten or fifteen minutes of work is of value! Start with small time frames when you have wee ones about!
What artistic work are you doing? Have you tried your hand at wet-on-wet watercolor painting, modeling or drawing?
Where are you with parenting? This month I will be writing about children and chores, the realities of life with the one and two-year old, more about quiet time, and more, more, more! What do you need to hear this month? Leave me a comment and I will be happy to see if I can work it in!
Meditate over your children at night and any challenges you may be facing. Talk about these challenges with your spouse. Grow in your intimacy as you share your parenting journey together.
As far as inner work, “Joy for January” is a great title and a great start to the New Year! What brings you and your family joy? What can all of you do together, as a family, that will bring you all good memories and lots of joy? Take that blank calendar and pencil in some dates for fun! Ice skating, sledding, skiing, hiking, going to the seashore for my Down Under readers – all wonderful!
I think it is a myth that in Waldorf that “we never play with our children” (um, at least it is a myth in my home!). I sure do! I love to play: board games, card games, make believe with the children’s fairies and fairy house and dollhouse. If you have a child that is under the age of 7 and they are your oldest, they will need some help with playing as they are at the height of their imitative phase. They may not spontaneously generate ideas to play without you to imitate, at least to start! So brush off your creativity and see what comes up!
This month, in the light of the candlelight and firelight of your warm and snug home, tell your children some stories. Make up some, tell them stories of when you were little and when your parents and grandparents were little. Sing and make music. Play some games. Snuggle up together and read some books. Delight in being together, and find the joy in this journey as we go through the cold winter.
Joy for January’s Journey,