1. Love and warmth for your child – warmth and love not only in your actions, but in your word, in your head and in your heart. Do you love and adore your child? Or do you secretly ( or not-so secretly??) feel negatively toward your child? Waldorf parenting and education views that there are no difficult children, although children can certainly have difficult behaviors! You don’t don’t have to love every behavior, but love your child! Give your child that warmth and energy and unconditional acceptance from your soul! How many positive things do you think and say about your child every day, especially compared to the negative things you think?! Connect with your child, love your child, enjoy your child.
A child under the age of 7 is often seen within Waldorf parenting and educaiton as more of “neither inherently good nor bad” – rather a child that is learning and that needs gentle guidance.
2. Protection of the child’s senses – there are 12 senses to be protected, and the small child has no filter to “screen” things out. This is why repetition, being home, sameness is so important to the young child. I am going to write a post on the 12 senses soon based on some things we recently talked about in Donna Simmons’ Waldorf At Home Conference.
3. Humor, Happiness, Joy! Your house should have a soul-quality of warmth, humor, joy. How many times a day do you laugh with your children? How many times a day do you smile at them? How often do you hug them or kiss them? How many times a day does your children feel the joy that comes from being a family together? You don’t need a lot of words, but to be able to exude that feeling of joy, that the world is a good place!
4. Cultivation of gratitude is of paramount importance in the first seven years as the basis of love in the next seven year cycle and of the feeling of dedication and loyalty in the cycle after that…How do express gratitude to your children? To your spouse? Do you wonder at things together and find thankfulness in the everyday of your lives? Are you doing any of kind of inner work, spiritual work?
5. Rhythm is essential. I am not going to go into everything about rhythm here, as there are many, many posts on this blog about rhythm, but understand this is the place that can carry so much for you without much effort if your rhythm is established.
6. Don’t create the battlefield in your mind! Get clear in your heart about how you feel about something, with love set it forth and go have fun!
7. Show your child some meaningful work, something than more than pushing a button to turn something on…..Cook together, garden together, be together in mass quantities of time.
8. Look at play and fostering connection to nature as the essential work of the child during the years when they are small.
There are more things considered “essential” in the early years, but I feel these are the things that truly are of great importance, and also cause parents the most difficulty.
Mindful parenting, gentle parenting, loving parenting, can be a challenging path but so worth it!