Gentle Discipline By Age–Part Three

 

Gentle discipline is the mainstay of parenting life, because it encompasses guiding and validating the authentic spiritual being that is every human being and child.  It is a mindset to live by and parent by, and if you can master some of these techniques, you will find yourself even having more positive communication and conflict resolution with other adults.

I have wanted to do a round-up of techniques by age, and here it finally is beginning.  I hope it will be helpful to you, and do please feel free to add your own thoughts or experiences to this list.

In Part Two,  we focused on birth through age 4.  Today we are going to look at ages five and six.    The mainstay of gentle discipline for these years begins with our own inner work and development, as discussed in Part One of this series.

Birth through age  four encompasses a time of protection, physical movement, warmth and trust and love in a caregiver and in a good world.  The ending of this stage sees the use of the words “I” and “no” not as an act of defiance or disobedience, but as growth into individuality.  Ages five and six also sees the same  importance of protection, physical movement, warmth, and love and trust in a caregiver continue.  However, play and social experiences now expands during these years, (although some children will not blossom into truly enjoying other children until the six/seven year transformation).  Play is the main theme for these years, and also a  look at the willing gesture involved in roles, power, and control.

Many five and six year olds are trying to figure out roles within their world.  This is the time of play with roles and in being archetypal characters.   There is  often is a fluidity in these roles in play, and the play can also can have a bit of an authority/submissive quality to it – you be the dog and I will be the owner, you be the child and I will be the daddy, etc.  It can also, in the realm of guiding within the home or classroom, be a time of pushing against the typical rhythm and boundaries.   You can see more about  five year old development at “The Fabulous Five Year Old” and the six year old here at “The Snazzy Six Year Old.”

Get your ho-hum on.  From the height of sex play at age six to late potty training to picky eating to a children testing boundaries verbally, there always seems like there is something to either worry about or get upset about.  Get your ho-hum on.  This too shall pass.

Rhythm and outside play are at a high importance.  Rhythm also includes the “preparation” and  “picking up” part of  daily life or inside play.  This is very important to not skip, and to set time aside to do it together with you modeling the way.  Get organized so things have a place!

Connect and look for the positive.  Look for the good qualities that make up the message of your life and notice when your children are taking part in the message, the values of your family.  Give a smile or a pat.  Five and six year olds still need to be tucked in at night, hugged and held and enjoyed.   Tell them you love them and that they are wonderful!  Because they are!

Watch your language.   Keep your words calm and short.  One or two sentences are enough.  If you get to the point where you want to rant, call a friend and rant to him or her instead.  Take a break and go outside or go lay down and come back.  If you want to make announcements and threats, go in your room and make them to the mirror.  Make sure your language reflects your love.

Know your boundaries and developmentally appropriate expectations.  Be ready with restitution and follow through.  Know that helping a five and six year with boundaries takes time and consistency.   Make sure you are not expecting twelve or thirteen year old things out of a tiny five or six year old.

Slow down.   Five and six year olds are still little, and home should be more than just a “home base” to check in upon here and there.   Activities outside the home are not truly necessary for five and six year olds.   Home really still really needs to be the focus of the day, week and year.  Nature is still a powerful, soothing force for five and six year olds and for parents, too, so see what you can nurture around your own home – even if it is just a potted herb garden on the patio and a birdfeeder. 

Give time to yourself, so you can be at the top of your game.

‘What are your best tips for guiding five and six year olds?

Love,
Carrie

July: Time to Plan

 

Here in the Deep South, many homeschoolers will be starting school again in a few weeks.  I love this time of anticipation of fall, and am looking forward to heading back into some more rhythm.  The children seem ready as well, so we will continue to enjoy nature and all her summertime glory (and fall glory too, with camping and trips to the beach in the fall), but I am feeling more ready to get going!

 

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite resources for planning:

Here is the Math By Hand blog  – Marin’s blog series goes through first and second grade at this point pretty day by day.  Lots of wonderful ideas for hands-on math and she also finds really wonderful links!

 

Chalkboard drawing:  This link takes you to seventh grade, but use the menu to find the essence of each grade and see drawings:    My favorite chalk (and it does say it is not chalkboard chalk, but I have used it for years that way without problems) is  here /

 

This blog has Grade 1-7 and it is fun to look at  for inspiration.  I also like Sheila’s blog  and Rachel’s blog   and the  blog  by Rick Tan and his family over at Syrendell.   There are also a couple of general homeschooling blogs I like to check on.

 

My “on paper” plans are fairly well done – but now we move into the “doing”.  I am making props and backgrounds for stories for kindergarten; checking on supplies for seventh grade physics and geometry; working on active games for fourth grade math. 

 

Most places in the United States and around the world start school at a different time than August, so many of you are probably still planning.  I hope it is going well for you!  I would love to hear about where you are.

Blessings,

Carrie

Tea and Conversation With Our Daughter–Part Two

 

I wrote the very first part of this post quite some time ago here.  Back then, I had a small idea about topics where I thought I might like to speak into our daughter’s life over time, just layering in things here and there.  When I wrote that post, our oldest daughter was ten and a half.  Now she is turning thirteen in a few weeks, and I can see she is  really within that wonderful beginning of the  realm of thinking;  a time of the  beginnings of  cause and effect in a thoughtful, mindful way; a time of  moving from feelings into “what-choices-do-I-make-off-of-these-feelings”; a time of snippets of moving from love into duty, with glimpses of ideals and values that I suspect will blossom so much more in the later teenaged years.

When my daughter was younger, it was all about modeling, and also the doing work of the household and garden.  Now that she is older, it is still about  all of those things, but we can start to have some thoughtful  discussions and reading.  This was the little list I started out with in that old post, and I wanted to share with you all some of the resources I have found to address these topics.  (Some of these are Christian, because I am Christian, but many of them are also easily adaptable to many belief systems).

 

  • The Proverbs 31 Woman – a model for us as women.  What Resources I Have Found:  the Christian company/blog “Doorposts” just did a thirty-day study on this with suggestions for children.
  • The Foundation of Christian Life –   What Resources I Have Found:  well, much of this is in the doing and being involved in parish life, but I have also  pulled selected articles from Orthodox and Anglican websites.   One thing that I am sure to address this year (seventh grade) in more words is the journey of the Christian life and what this entails.
  • Marriage and  Children –What Resources I Have Found:  the Antiochian Orthodox Church has a booklet on “Purity, Virginity, and Chastity” (which might not be what some are looking for),  but what I admire is that it starts with the idea of friendship, the different layers of friendship and how a spouse becomes our most intimate friend.  So, this year we are delving into friendship – what makes a wonderful friend and how to be a friend.  The theme of the Vacation Bible School in our parish was from Psalm 139:   that we are wonderfully and marvelously made, and how this applies to all people.  So, this idea of being in the image of God, reaching out and making and being a friend, kindness and the levels of friendship are going to  really inform much of our discussion this year. 
  • Serving Others, (and also boundaries in serving others)  – my seventh grader was old enough to serve as a helper during Vacation Bible School.  However, we also spend a lot of time serving within our family.  How do we serve our elders, how do we serve our brothers and sisters?  So, this one is more in the doing than in discussion.  I am starting to delve into some childhood development resources with my teen regarding the ages one through five since that is a group she assists with.  One small booklet that can be helpful and not too taxing to read is Elizabeth Crary’s booklet entitled “Parenting Tips & Tools:  Understanding Young Children” here.
  • Respecting yourself and others  – I think the basis of this is found in what I mentioned above regarding marriage and children. 
  • How to Communicate/Conflict Resolution –   “Sacred Listening” is one tool I am looking at and seeing if that would be feasible for a teen.  This is a lot of modeling.  Am I being a good listener? You can see more about the top ten ways to be a powerful listener at the Listening Center.
  • Health – whole foods and how to prepare, drug use and abuse, homeopathy and chiropractic, exercise, the role of sleep, care before, during and after the menstrual cycle, the importance of rhythm for health, fertility.  Resources I Have Found:  the Weston A.Price Foundation has many articles; also the “doing” of making bone broths, working with herbs, using homeopathy and chiropractic care.   
  • Money – budgeting, how to handle money .  This comes with opportunity to handle money as well, so this is a doing activity.  My daughter liked “The Christian Girls’ Guide to Money” by Rebecca Totilo.
  • Modesty in dress; the Christian idea of beauty, the difference between inward and outward beauty
  • Designing a wardrobe, natural skin care and body care.   I like “Awakening Beauty the Dr. Hauschka Way” as a resource for rhythm for beauty that encompasses the mind, body and spirit and as a resource for many wonderful homemade skin care products.

 

I wrote back in 2010:  “You might wonder how to put together a list like this that reflects your family’s values.  I stated with the catechism of our faith, my own beliefs as influenced by La Leche League and attachment parenting and childhood development, the resource “Polished Cornerstones”, a Christian publication for mothers and daughters available through Doorposts, and the book “5 Conversation You Must Have With Your Daughter” by Vicki Courtney.  This list is not complete nor reflective of everything we think, but it is a good place to start.  Perhaps you can design your own thoughts for what wisdom you would like to impart to your older children.”

 

I still hope that for you all.  Such a wonderful and lovely thing to ponder about how we intentionally approach our older children…..

Blessings and love,
Carrie

The Rant: Kind Children For Life

 

(I would like to thank my friend Molly for brainstorming with me for this post!)

Earlier this week, I was at the pool  with some beautiful mother friends, and one of them mentioned a recent article in the Washington Post about raising kind children.  You can read  this article , and I highly suggest you do.   I have read it over.  And over. And over.

 

What is most stunning to me about this article is this particular statement: 

About 80 percent of the youth in the study said their parents were more concerned with their achievement or happiness than whether they cared for others. The interviewees were also three times more likely to agree that “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member in class and school.”

 

Don’t get me wrong; like most parents I would like my children to be happy and to have a happy life doing what they love.  But, to have this at the expense of or exclusion of caring about others is totally disagreeable to me.  Kindness and love really and truly is the pinnacle of the human being.   It is to be found within ourselves, and how we hear and interact with the other. 

 

How or why would this be happening?  Eighty percent is an incredibly high number!  I was pondering this, and this quote from the sweet little book “Wonderful Ways to Love a Teen….even when it seems impossible” by Judy Ford, M.S.W. popped into my head:

 

Some parents tell me that weeks go by without their saying anything more than hello and good-bye to their teenagers, not because they haven’t wanted to be with one another, but because their lives are loaded with demands and obligations.  The years from junior high to high school can be one big blur.  Soon the kids are graduating, and you barely remember what happened.

 

Children need to have kindness modeled for them everyday in their interactions; they need to be connected enough to their parents that their parents will help guide them in the tougher places and situations that often come up especially for middle schoolers and high schoolers; they need to have balance and time to breathe – not a schedule so packed in with rigorous academics and extracurricular activities that the home just becomes a “home base” on the way off to somewhere else.   If we can slow down and connect, then we can work on kindness.  But that requires time to talk, listen, exchange ideas.

 

I have been writing about kindness for a long time; you can see this 2009 post.   The Washington Post article had some good points to make; another resource I would like to point out is Zoe Weil’s 2003 book, “Above All, Be Kind.”  Weil’s book is focused upon humane education and educated decisions regarding consumerism.  Her book is divided into sections by age, including birth through age 6, the years of 7-12 and the teenaged years.  A constant focus on respect, reverence, responsibility, (as often mentioned in Waldorf Education and also a focus  in Weil’s book), is a promising way to lay a foundation for kindness, no matter what the age of your child.  Author Weil uses reverence as a focus in the early years, respect as a focus in the middle years, and responsibility as a focus for the teenaged years.

 

Above all, we must embody what we want our children to see.  We must slow down life enough that the pressure of outside activities and achievements does not become more important than showing love and kindness to others.  All the achievement in the world cannot really buy happiness, yet kindness often has a magic of its very own.

 

In this age where we are bombarded with information about parenting, discipline, how to navigate school, sports and friends, we can lose sight of  the the most important lesson of all in relating to each other: kindness. 

Blessings,

Carrie

Multicultural Reading Lists

 

 

These are a few of the reading lists I have for multicultural children’s literature for the English speaking reader:

 

Children’s literature by Native American authors – from preschool through high school/adult reading: http://www.slj.com/2013/11/collection-development/focus-on-collection-development/resources-and-kid-lit-about-american-indians-focus-on/#_

 

One of the best sites I have found for African American children’s literature:  http://www.best-childrens-books.com/african-american-childrens-books.html (by grade and also award winners by year).

 

For Asian/Pacific Rim children’s  literature:  http://childrensbooks.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=childrensbooks&cdn=parenting&tm=103&f=20&su=p284.13.342.ip_&tt=3&bt=5&bts=75&zu=http%3A//www.nea.org/grants/29506.htm  and here:  http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/lit_resources/diversity/asian_am/asian_am.html (if you look on the sidebar there are links to books of Chinese heritage, Japanese heritage and Korean heritage).  There are also literature  awards focused on Asia/Pacific Rim Children’s Literature.  The award winners for 2013 are here:  http://www.apalaweb.org/2013-asianpacific-american-award-for-literature-winners/

 

For children’s literature by Latino authors, by grade level:  http://ccb.lis.illinois.edu/Projects/Additions%20on%209-20-07/CCB/CCB/mhommel2/Booklists.htm

 

For children’s literature regarding the Middle East:  http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2011/08/top-10-arabic-american-childrens-books/  and an extensive list here:  http://bernadettesimpson.com/Childrens-YA-Books-MiddleEast.pdf

 

If you have a list on your blog of your favorite children’s literature as related to your religion or your cultural heritage, please leave a link in the comment box so my readers can find it!

Thank you,

Carrie

In Honor Of Screen Free Week

 

This week, May 5th through May 11th, is Screen Free Week.  I have a few links I would love to share with you all to inspire you to change your family’s viewing habits, plus three simple things you can do to keep this momentum going if being screen free is new to you and your family.

 

Here is the official website for Screen Free Week:  http://www.screenfree.org/

 

Here is great article by a psychologist about the risks of screen time.  Her thought is that it is not the message (ie, whether or not the show is “educational”, but the medium of the screen itself).  This is an interesting article:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201404/screen-free-week-is-just-around-the-corner

 

A great You Tube video for adults  about “Looking Up”.  British rhyming tells a truthful message:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

Top Three Ways to Continue the Momentum of Screen Free Week:

1.  Play Outside!  Children need lots and lots of unstructured play.  In this day and age, we seem to hover over our children and getting them outside can be a chore as opposed to what it was when we were growing up – we went out to play after school until the street lights came on and we were called home.  Or, we consider the fact that our children are in active sports to take the place of play.  Nothing takes the place of unstructured play.

 

Children even need risky play.  Here is an article from Psychology Today that talks about why:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201404/risky-play-why-children-love-it-and-need-it?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Freedom-to-Learn+%28Freedom+to+Learn%29

 

Inspire yourself with folks who love to get outside.  Try the Children & Nature Network:  http://www.childrenandnature.org/  and also Renee’s blog over at FIMBY as her family hikes the Appalachian Trail: http://fimby.tougas.net/a-family-hiking-the-appalachian-trial

 

2.  Have a list handy of things to do without a screen:  http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/who-needs-screens-70-ideas-family-fun

If you have small children and you know they melt before dinner whilst you are trying to cook and you are depending upon a screen for entertainment (this is the most common scenario I get in my email), have a plan.  Salt dough can work well, as can providing jobs to help the work of the family.

 

3.  Set new rhythms that do not involve any screen time.  Many mothers have told me over and over that it is much easier to cut the screens for their children out completely than to “wean off” or set a small limit, because then when the screen goes off there is arguing.  Cut down your own computer time.  Do you really need to be on social media sites for two hours a day?  What else could you do during that time? 

 

Blessings,
Carrie

May: Time To Plan

 

Usually one of three things happens during the homeschooling year:

Life intervenes and the entire year is rather chaotic.  Yep, that happens.

The school year starts off strong, and then life intervenes and is rather chaotic.  Yep, that happens too.

Everything goes as perfectly planned.  Nope, that really doesn’t happen too often.

 

Homeschooling calls for flexibility, an ability to work with life throws at you, often an ability to juggle different roles of being a parent/spouse/homemaker and to juggle children of a wide spread of ages and stages and temperaments.  All of this really requires an ability to get organized and work with planning as a tool.  This is important especially for Waldorf homeschooling.  Planning is everything in Waldorf homeschooling, and it really can help save you when life intervenes.

 

So, how is it coming with planning?  The last posts in this series were in February and March (you can see March’s post here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/03/27/march-time-to-plan/)

 

This is where I am so far in planning a five year old kindergarten year, fourth grade and seventh grade:

I planned my start and finish dates and vacation dates based off of the two counties where my children have friends on different school schedules.  I didn’t do that this year and ended up regretting it.

I marked out “teacher time”.  Plans made over the summer often need adjustment, and at any rate, one needs to look things over and live into the material before the block begins.

I went through all the months of this past year and wrote down any details I wanted to remember – which months did life hit us hardest, how I felt inside, how the children seemed to feel, seasonal details about each month or details related to feasts of the church.

I thought very seriously about extra-curricular activities and how many days we can really be out of the home each week – and what time we will finish school each day and really can realistically make it out to something.  The out of the house rhythm I have discussed with my husband, because whereas I am a “yes” kind of girl, “yes, let’s do that!” he is much more practical in terms of looking at how much time we can sustain outside our home.

I made out a sample daily rhythm for all three children.  That, to me, is the hardest part, as I often don’t feel as if there are enough hours in the day to meet everyone’s needs with three separate ages of children – early years, mid grades and late grades.

I created my “wheel” of the year – you can see details about that in the March back post.  I go mainly around the calendar of the Anglican Communion and have to plan in our feast and fast dates and dates where we will be out of the home due to church.  Remember, the cycle of the year is what holds all of your different ages and stages together for your homeschooling adventure!

I sketched out what blocks I think will go where in the year and how long those blocks most likely will be.  Subject to change!

I ordered most of my resources and started gathering various titles to get at the library.

I put together notes for two blocks for my seventh grader by day (but have not done any of the artistic work for those blocks ahead of time yet, which is often that part that takes me the longest after I read the resources and get an idea for the order of what to present when in the flow of a block).

I put together some general ideas about work each day of the week for my kindergartner, and ideas about stories for each month, crafts and handwork for festivals.

 

That is a start, but there is certainly a lot, a lot more to do!  I have to start now to really plan it all and fit it all in.  Most of this work is being created by me from scratch using different resources, as I am certain it is for you as well.

What are you planning?  I would love to hear!

 

Blessings,
Carrie

Favorite Christian Reads

 

 

I publish a post about my favorite Christian books about once a year, and in this Eastertide, I wanted to update what I have been currently reading and enjoying.

As part of the Anglican communion, we look toward the Church Fathers and many Celtic Saints as a source of illumination.  The book “Aidan, Bebe, Cuthbert:  Three Inspirational Saints” by Vicar David Adam (who was ordained in Durham Cathedral, the burial place of the Venerable Bede and St. Cuthbert and who became Vicar of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne (where St. Aidan and St. Cuthbert lived), is a wonderful interweaving of the lives of these three Saints.  Wonderful read for those interested in these saints!

 

My twelve and a half year old daughter has read all the books by local (to us) author Jenny Cote.  This is the latest one she has read: http://www.amazon.com/Wind-Road-Epic-Order-Seven/dp/0899577938/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398907506&sr=8-1&keywords=the+wind+the+road+and+the+way.  This Christian series is a nice read for this age group.

 

I keep waiting for an Anglican parenting book to come out, but there are not any except an Anglican Family Prayer Book.  So, I recently bought a copy of “Orthodox Christian Parenting – Cultivating God’s Creation” by Zoe Press.  I highly recommend it to Christian readers who are coming from a basis of Holy Tradition and the Fathers of the Church as a lens for raising children.   Here is a link to this from Amazon; I am not certain if it is available cheaper somewhere else, but I did get my copy through Amazon:   http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Christian-Parenting-Cultivating-Creation/dp/0985191503/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398907794&sr=8-1&keywords=orthodox+christian+parenting 

 

Right now, I am reading “What Is Anglicanism?” by Urban T. Holmes.  This is a good, solid read for those wanting to understand the history and theological foundations of Anglicanism.  There are so many deep and resounding thoughts in this one, especially in the chapter regarding “radical incarnationalism”; an appropriate theme for Eastertide!

 

Please share what you are reading!

Blessings on your Eastertide,

Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day 31

 

 

We began this journey in January, and we are at the end of our (non-consecutive) 31 days.  In the vein of those who set a New Year’s intention with “one word”, we have progressed through 31 words in order to help build our foundation for homes of peace.  This work grew specifically out of an impulse for parents who wanted help to not yell at their children.

 

Here are our 31 words for your meditation, thought and consideration:

 

open

reconciliation

attentiveness

reverence

courage

love

relentless

unity

building

time

haven

steady

warmth

inner work

re-assess

self-care

joy

boundaries

ho-hum

expectation

expert

quiet

constancy

eagle

potential

struggle

together

self-restraint

authentic leadership

missing

 

Perhaps one of these words resonates strongly with you, and you would like to do artistic work with this word.  Perhaps you would like to carry one of these words in your heart for some time.  There are many ways to work with these ideas in an individual manner.

 

Many blessings, and peace on your home,

Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day 30

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: missing . Read on for more

 

What are you missing by being so stressed out and angry at your children all the time?

You are missing peace of mind and heart.

You are missing opportunities for good connection and bonding.

You are missing building a great family.

You are missing the joy of having small children which will never come again.

You are missing building great relationships with your children.

You are missing  laughter and fun.

You are missing kindness.

 

Don’t miss out!

Build your gentleness, your kindness and your patience.

Create peace in your homes.

Create connection and bonding.

Create a great family!

Create joy!

Create great relationships!

Create laughter and fun!

Create kindness!

 

Many blessings,

Carrie