Cozy Warmth for Fall

Waldorf Education puts a high priority on warmth as a quality we want to imbue into the lives of children for their health and ours. And whether or not you follow Waldorf Education, I do think there is something about fall that we all crave, even if we live in more southern climates where it doesn’t get as cold.  Even here in the Deep South, there is nothing but layers and short boots and pumpkin spice everywhere! (I am currently wearing a sweater even though it is 68 degrees Fahrenheit outside because, you know, it is October).

Warmth is about more than just physical warmth.  When a child is very little, we think about warmth in the physical sense – hats for babies, layers for littles, warming foods and warm drinks for winter. Providing physical warmth for our children via layers of clothing and hats is so important, especially for young children whose physical body doesn’t work like an adult. Children have a metabolic rate that runs faster than an adult’s.  Therefore, under the age of nine especially, they are unlikely to know whether they are truly cold or not.  I am sure we have all experienced the child that is swimming in cold water and is literally blue, but doesn’t realize they are cold.  This is common!  I love silk/wool blends for winter, and for littles we do recommend three layers on top and two layers on the bottom for cold climates.

However, I also want to point out that  warmth is about creating a sense of love, of acceptance and belonging.  I want to give you some very concrete ways to do this in your own home for this special time of year.

My first tip is to create  a rhythm that carries your family, especially for those under the age of 12 (although even teens need and crave rhythm!). The staples of rhythm, which is a loose order of the day, includes things such as wake-up times and sleeping times, but also mealtimes, and a flow of activities through the day and the week.  This provides an important sense of security for children and helps us know what is coming next without spending a lot of time re-creating the wheel every day.  Children can then use this energy for growing and playing and not use it in worrying about what comes next in their day.  Schools have a rhythm to their day, day cares have a rhythm to their day, and homes do have a rhythm even if you don’t think that you do – humans are rhythmical.

In creating the warmth of fall, we can add markes of warmth to our rhythm. Maybe breakfast is candlelight with warm porridge and warm hot chocolate or tea.  Maybe if you homeschool, you have lanterns or tea lights in your schooling space.  Maybe bedtime involves snuggly blankets, and a cup of warm milk of choice before bed.

My second tip is to incorporate your child’s love language into your day for a sense of warmth and belonging. Children need warmth not only in terms of hugs and holding, but in words of affirmation and in spending time together. We can do this easily within a space of rhythm and working together in the house or garden or with taking care of our animals.

Lastly, warmth is done well and rightly when we share with others.  If we help our children spread joy and warmth to others, whether through helping the family or helping neighborhoods or through service and volunteering opportunities, we can bring warmth to the world.

I would love to hear your favorite tips for autumn warmth.

Blessings and love,
Carrie

 

 

Partner Strong!

I think fall, with its turning inward, is an amazing time to check in on your relationship with  your significant other.  Are you feeling separate, distant, strong, powerful together?  What things are working – and not?

It’s hard to give general advice as to  how to keep any intimate relationship particularly strong as I think every couple is so unique and what works for one couple may not work for another.   But over the years, I have seen a common thread of either drifting apart or pulling together when people reach their 30’s and 40’s, so I have a few ideas to toss out……

  • How are you keeping your friendship alive?  If you don’t talk about your day, your hopes, your fears, your dreams but only talk about how to pass off children to activities or who needs to pick up something at the store, it’s easy to not feel very invested in each other personally – more like you are just managing practical stuff together like housemates.   Gottman’s work ( I covered his book “The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work” on this website chapter by chapter – you can find it under the Book Reviews header) talks about how partners make bids for each other’s attention.  Usually someone will try to get the other person’s attention, and then the partner responds (hopefully! – or not, sadly).  If you don’t respond to each other, it’s hard to be close!  You can read more about that in the summary of Chapter 5 of this book I wrote here: Chapter 5 summary
  • Some couples are really happy to do all the things as a family with their children, and I think that’s great if it works for them! However, I will say my husband and I really value any time we get to go out just us or with another couple.  We started taking overnight trips just the two of us a few years ago, and that was also really wonderful for our connection.
  • Your love language is also very important to know about yourself and your partner.  Sometimes I think we don’t feel love or our partner doesn’t feel love because we aren’t expressing it in a way that is understood.  Have you read the Five Love Languages book?
  • Physical intimacy is important – and for that I think several things need to be in place:  feeling close to each other and like you can have fun and trust one another, you both need to have decent health (if you are perpetually falling asleep on the coach at night or just so stressed out all the time it’s hard to think about being physically intimate), and you need time to unwind and relax without worry together (ie, some couples can deal with children or teens being up and awake and other couples really can’t and feel stressed about it).  I think the older we get, we do need to be on top of the health changes.  Hormonal changes for both men and women can make things different than they were in the past, and you have to be close enough to talk about it!

But lastly, I think it’s mostly about having fun! If you can have fun together and laugh through all the things life throws at us, you will enjoy each other and be closer to each other.

I would love to hear your thoughts on being partner strong!  What helps the most?

Blessings,

Carrie