Once you have the basics of going to bed, waking up, naps and food happening around the same time each day, you can now look at planning perhaps the most important part of the day: how you will spend time with your children if you are the parent of small children, or how you will set up your homeschooling day if you have children in the grades (or a combination of children in the grades and small children not yet in the grades! ) This post is mainly about the Early Years, with food for thought for the grades. Continue reading
This is the term my husband and I used frequently when our older children were smaller: preferred parent of the week. You are probably familiar with this phenomenon if you too have small children whose temperaments are not so laid back…”no, no, MAMA DO!” or “I don’t want you!! I waaaaannnnntttt Daaaaddddyyy!!”
I honestly wonder, in those of you with big families, does this occur much past the third child? It seems to me, by necessity, that the youngest members of the family often get used to older brothers and sisters helping out, and the flexibility that develops from that precludes the “Preferred Parent Of The Week” syndrome. I would love to hear from you if you have a comment on that!
Parents always want to know how to handle this. In our family, we didn’t argue about this for the sake of arguing (“No, you must have Daddy put your fork on the table!”) for small things, but there were certainly times when a child’s desires could not be accommodated. Mama had the wailing baby, so yes, little four year old, Daddy will have to give the bath. And yes, there would be wailing. But Daddy is a parent too.
It can be hard for parents going through this for the first time to not feel baffled and hurt, especially fathers. One has to carry on in good humor, this is a small child! They say all kinds of things and have all kinds of feelings! Once fathers realize this can be a very normal phase, I think many of them can sort of shore themselves up and not take it so personally. Whenever our children would go through that, we would just look at it other and shrug, “Guess you’re PPW this week!”
It is important to have a good sense of humor about the whole thing and also a very matter-of-fact, less words, less explaining kind of manner when things are not going the way the child wants.
I have a very astute friend who pointed out that if Dad is never on the “preferred list” for baths, ouchies, bedtime, etc that she wondered if the father and child were doing anything positive through play at all first. It is hard to expect the child to want Dad during those tired, hungry, hurt and whiny kind of times if the child and father have no positive bond together during happy times. There should always be time in the family schedule for FUN, with BOTH parents. Build on a happy platform of play as a foundation!
I would love to hear your experiences with “PPW”.
Happy New Year’s to you all! Many best and bright wishes to my readers in this lovely New Year!
Many of you know that given my background as a physical therapist and homeschooling parent, work revolving around the twelve senses as set forth by Rudolf Steiner has been fascinating to me. Some of the therapists and neuroscientists I have spoken to feel there are anywhere from 75 to over a hundred senses, but I feel these twelve are a fine place to start. They are well-organized and clear, and I think it is a piece that is accessible for all educators, not just Waldorf/Steiner educators and should be of particular importance to us as homeschool educators and as parents.
Lisa Boisvert-Mackensie was kind enough to continue a virtual tea with me regarding some of the fundamental pillars of Waldorf Education. You can see those posts here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/12/20/the-three-artistic-pillars-of-waldorf-homeschooling/ and here: http://www.celebratetherhythmoflife.com/2011/12/as-person-who-has-straddled-worlds-of.html and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/12/21/more-about-the-artistic-pillars-of-waldorf-education-a-virtual-tea/
Lisa’s last virtual tea post on the twelve senses ( here is the link: http://www.celebratetherhythmoflife.com/2011/12/lemniscate-and-senses.html) inspired me to draw the image above. It was originally presented in horizontal form in a lecture I heard in the fall by Douglas Gerwin, but after I really sat with this information, slept on it, let it lie fallow for a bit, I drew this vertical figure. This vertical figure reminds me of the upright human being; it reminds me that we all have these twelve senses, and that having all of these senses fully developed leads to the freedom to give and receive love. One can have all the knowledge and training and facts in a field, and if one cannot rule over oneself, if one cannot see another’s view, if one can relate to another person, if one cannot use their knowledge and training for the love of humanity, what good does it really do?
This figure also reminds me that Continue reading
I had two great conversations the other day, one with a dear friend about the challenges this particular generation of children is facing. Her theory as to why children have more sensory challenges, obesity, attention deficit – in other words, why are these children so darn unhealthy – is, in her mind, a mixture of things: environment, too much stimulation, schedules that are like an adult, too much of making the child a miniature adult, diet, lack of physical work and movement.
Then I had another conversation, this time with a dear friend and physical therapy colleague. She is in geriatrics, but specifically wondered why she is seeing more and more dementia and Alzheimer’s-type symptoms in patients of even younger ages than before. “The people I am seeing, HAD those kinds of childhoods that you wish for – eating local, farm-raised food before agribusiness became huge, collecting eggs and walking to school, playing outside for hours on end in rivers and creeks and the mountainside. So why are these folks getting dementia at such a relatively young age?”
Of course, no one knows for sure; these are the kind of rhetorical things physical therapists and I am sure other health care professionals sit around and ponder. We all wonder.
I am sure it is all the things of childhood, but also mixed with all the things of adulthood: taking adults who were used to moving a lot to moving them into jobs that were more sitting than usual, more modern conveniences than ever that also cause decreased movement, a more toxic environment, an increasingly over-stimulating environment ( the friend from my first conversation was remarking that now when you go into a grocery store, there may be TV’s in the shopping cart, cows mooing in the diary section, dancing vegetables with loud thunder that mists over the veggies! How true!)
But I think it is also community – or lack thereof. The church or synagogue may not be the same hub of the neighborhood it once was, which is a shame for many reasons and on many levels but also on a health level: one six year study showed Continue reading
I just went to a course this past week (yes, another one! ‘Tis the time of year!) regarding autism and sensory processing disorders.
For those of you who missed the posts I have done in the past regarding children with challenges in sensory modulation, indicators of sensory modulation typically include extreme inflexibility, resistance to activities, difficulty in transitioning in activities, poor behavior, over or under reaction to the environment, perseverating behaviors, a lack of inner drive or motivation, avoidance behaviors and difficulty focusing attention.
One thing that many children who have difficulty with sensory modulation find challenging is finding clothes they can feel good in. Dressing can be the most difficult point of the day for a child challenged by sensory issues and their parents. Continue reading
I was going through some papers this weekend and came across an article by Michael Howard that I had printed out called, “Educating the Feeling-will in the Kindergarten” and this quote just popped out at me:
“The defining characteristic of feeling will is the capacity to live deeply into the inner quality of something outside us, knowing and feeling it as if we are within it or it is within us. In the early childhood years a healthy child is naturally inclined to drink in the inner mood and qualities of places and persons. It is one of the tragedies of our times that the ways of the world, including the life of the family and school, can dull rather than foster this natural soul attachment. Tragically, many young children come to kindergarten with a sense-nerve disposition already strongly developed. Their thinking has become prematurely intellectual and abstract, and their feeling life inclines toward strong personal like or dislike.”
I have been seeing so many tiny children yet with so many big opinions. Have you been seeing this as well? Continue reading
This question came in awhile ago and I have been pondering it since in the back of my mind. I was not certain I had anything valuable to add; some things ”just are”
in life, but then I did think of something I wanted to say (uh, and it turned out to be way more than I expected, so you may need a cup of tea! LOL) Here is the original comment/question:
Here is a very honest admission for you: I get no satisfaction of out homekeeping and I am quite certain that I never will I *can* do all the things: cook delicious meals every day, ferment, and mill my own flour, I can sew and knit and paint, I can keep the home clean and in reasonable order. But when that is all I do, I can feel my soul slowly dying! I go through seasons of pulling myself together and even enjoying my tasks, and then falling apart, throwing in a towel, because after all, what’s the point? Yes, this is a lovely way to live, to have a cozy home and good food, but I.am.miserable. I’ve been told all manner of things: I’m lazy, I need to change my attitude, I need to get therapy to deal with some deep-seated resentment and blah-blah-blah. I feel that the truth is simpler than that. I am someone who is extremely extroverted, requires massive amounts of regular intellectual stimulation, and a great deal of variety in life There must be a way to find some kind of balance. I realize that my children are young (2, 4.5, and one on the way), I am quite realistic about the care, time and effort they require at this stage of life. But I just can’t give up my sanity and my very essence to keeping the home.
That is really hard and I think so many of us as mothers can identify with the feelings expressed in this comment. It can be so hard to do all the things we might think need to be associated with homemaking and parenting, to make things “right”. Maybe there is also a bit of perfectionism hidden within many of us – if we don’t do all these things, then our children will not do well. This can make things seem burdensome or a chore instead of light and lovely. And, it all can be such a big burden – why do I have to be The Queen of My Home? Can’t someone else do it? I just want to take the day off! There are days I feel that way as well. Continue reading
We are going to wrap up this chapter by taking a quick peek at the other nutrients mentioned:
Magnesium – is intricately involved in working with calcium and phosphorus. A deficiency in magnesium can manifest as over-anxiety, irritability, labile emotions, craving for sweets and alcohol, and stiffness of fine motor movements. Kelp, fresh green peas, whole grains, nuts and seeds are sources. See page 117 of the chapter for more information. Continue reading
I just wanted to thank all of you who have been so supportive of my recent postings on children who have challenges in the realm of sensory modulation, and also regarding my postings on our twelve senses. This work is really important to me as a physical therapist and in how I see the generation of children coming up now who are really struggling in these areas.
Many parents are looking for resources that could be helpful in real life for their children with sensory challenges, children who have been diagnosed along the autistic spectrum, or children who are facing other challenges that are deemed “medical” but as we know from a holistic perspective involve the whole being.
Here are some resources I have been gathering since the workshop I attended on the twelve senses: Continue reading
I wrote this post quite a while ago regarding the years of birth through age two and a half or so here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/01/10/getting-children-into-their-bodies-part-one-birth-to-age-2-and-a-half/. I am still quite happy with this post, but I wanted to add some things here as just gentle food for thought…
Every day, do as much as you can to protect the senses of the small infant and toddler. We are such an overstimulated society; I think the phrase “eye candy” really sums up how our culture has a visual emphasis. We practically overdose our senses, especially our sense of sight, on things that are not true to the reality found in nature, the most beautiful and wondrous of our Creator’s work. If we look about our homes and simplify them into simple scenes where our toddlers can participate in truly meaningful work, where there are simple open ended toys of natural materials, then we have gone a long ways toward promoting the health of our child.
Often we mistake what our small toddler needs and in place of time, space and stability we try to provide new, exciting, stimulating. Yet, the capacities of our small toddler will flourish with a slow, rhythmic, protected introduction to life. Develop your own peaceful soul, your own simple ways of being, and your child will be enveloped in this goodness. Smile at your toddler, love your toddler, tell your toddler every day how strong and helpful they are, wonder and marvel at insects and the sunrise and the wind together. Your children imitate not only your actions, but your thoughts. Be brave, be wise, be beautiful!
And work on those lower body senses. The sense of touch, the sense of life (how do you feel? Can you even tell if you are not feeling well or do you just ignore that and move on?), the sense of movement and the sense of balance.
Every day, no matter the weather, spend hours outside in the morning and the afternoon. There should be opportunities for your toddler to stomp in puddles, in creeks, play in the mud and the sand, walk on forest trails and on the beach, and fully inhabit his home, his yard, his street. Every day! Outside time should be the priority for this age, along with meaningful work.
The shift in toddlerhood occurs because toddler energy needs form. Many mothers will jot down a rhythm to each day the night before. There must be a plan, and you must be the creator….see this for the wondrous opportunity that it is, and not a burden. You can do this and it will be just right for you are the expert on your own family.
Many blessings and peace,