As the leaves start to turn vibrant shades of red and gold, and a crisp breeze fills the air, it’s time to celebrate the magic of fall with your kids. This season offers a multitude of opportunities for both fun and learning. So, grab your scarves and boots, and let’s dive into some fantastic fall activities that will create unforgettable memories and inspire young minds.
1. Explore a Pumpkin Patch:
Visit a local pumpkin patch and let your kids choose their own pumpkins. While having fun, you can also delve into the science of pumpkin anatomy. Talk about the life cycle of a pumpkin, its parts (stem, skin, flesh, seeds), and how it grows.
2. Create Leaf Art:
Go on a nature walk and collect colorful fall leaves. Once you’re back home, use the leaves to create beautiful leaf rubbings or leaf collages. This activity introduces kids to leaf science and teaches them about different tree species.
3. Bake Pumpkin Treats:
Get creative in the kitchen by making pumpkin-themed treats like pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, or pumpkin pancakes. This is a great way to incorporate math (measuring ingredients) and science (watching ingredients transform when cooked).
4. Build a Scarecrow:
Work together as a family to create your very own scarecrow. This hands-on project teaches kids about teamwork, creativity, and even a bit of engineering as you figure out how to make the scarecrow stand.
5. Go on a Leaf Hunt:
Organize a leaf hunt in your backyard or at a nearby park. Challenge your kids to find leaves of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Afterwards, identify the types of trees they came from using field guides or online resources.
7. Create a Fall Bucket List (or print the one below):
Involve your kids in creating a fall bucket list. Include activities they’d like to do, places to visit, and new things to learn. This not only sparks excitement but also encourages them to set goals.
8. DIY Leaf Press:
Collect leaves, press them between heavy books, and create a DIY leaf press. This can serve as a leaf identification tool, a perfect companion for future nature walks.
9. Visit a Farm or Orchard:
Take a trip to a local farm or apple orchard. Kids can learn about different farm animals, the apple-picking process, and even enjoy a hayride.
10. Leaf Pile Fun:
After raking leaves, let your kids jump into a big leaf pile. It’s a classic fall activity that never gets old. Plus, it teaches them about physics (force and motion).
11. Go Apple Picking:
Enjoy the crisp autumn air while picking apples at a local orchard. Make it a learning opportunity by learning about the life cycle of apples and their anatomy!
12. Fall Activity Pack:
Discover our fun fall activity pack, featuring creative crafting projects such as “Craft Your Fall Picnic,” “Decorate a Pumpkin Patch” and much more! Engage in hands-on fun as you use the fall-themed watercolor picnic accessories, to pretend play making an aesthetic picnic as well as using the scarecrow, pumpkins, and much more to craft a pumpkin patch.
12. Nature Scavenger Hunt:
Organize a scavenger hunt in a nearby forest or park. Create a list of items for your kids to find, such as acorns, pinecones, mushrooms, or specific bird species. It’s an adventure in exploration and observation.
13. Autumn Crafts Day:
Set aside a day for creative autumn crafts. You can make leaf lanterns by pressing leaves between wax paper, create pinecone animals, or design your own fall-themed greeting cards. This promotes artistic expression and fine motor skills. 🍁
14. Fall-Themed Science Experiments:
Conduct hands-on science experiments at home related to fall. For example, explore the concept of buoyancy by making mini apple boats or investigate the chemistry of changing leaf colors using vinegar.
15. Seasonal Family Photo Shoot:
Take advantage of the picturesque fall scenery and have a family photo shoot. Let your kids be photographers too, capturing their unique perspectives on the beauty of autumn and your family!
16. Campfire Cooking Night:
Plan a campfire cooking night in your backyard. Roast marshmallows for s’mores, cook hotdogs on sticks, and tell stories around the campfire. This activity combines culinary skills with storytelling traditions.
17. Leaf Identification Adventure:
Take your kids on a leaf identification adventure. Collect leaves from various trees and use field guides or smartphone apps to identify them. It’s a lesson in botany and nature appreciation. 🍂
18. Harvest Your Own Garden:
If you have a garden, involve your children in harvesting the last of the summer crops or planting fall vegetables. If youdon’t have a garden, visit a local farm or community garden! They’ll learn about gardening and the changing seasons.
19. Outdoor Art Gallery:
Transform your backyard or a part of your home into an outdoor art gallery. Let your kids display their fall-themed artwork, and invite friends and family for a mini art exhibition. It’s an opportunity to share creativity! My favorite is making leaf people!
20. Maple Syrup Adventure:
Depending on your location, fall can be the perfect time to learn about maple syrup production. Visit a local sugarbush and see how maple syrup is made from tree sap. It’s a sweet science lesson!
21. Family Yoga in the Park:
Find a peaceful spot in a local park and practice family yoga. Embrace the tranquility of the season and teach your kids the importance of mindfulness and relaxation.
22. Fall Movie Night:
Host a family movie night with a lineup of classic fall-themed films, such as “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” or “Hocus Pocus.” Afterward, discuss the themes and lessons from the movies or do a fun themed craft!
23. Fall Foliage Drive:
Plan a scenic drive to enjoy the breathtaking fall foliage. Research the best routes in your area and make it a family road trip. Discuss the changing colors and why leaves change in the fall.
Fall is a season filled with wonder, and these activities will not only provide fun but also valuable learning experiences for your kids. So, grab your fall bucket list and immerse your family in the beauty and knowledge this season brings. Happy fall adventures!
Unschooling, a term coined by educator John Holt, is a unique approach to education that places children at the center of their learning journey. It encourages them to explore their interests, passions, and curiosities, fostering a love for learning that extends far beyond traditional classroom settings. To inspire you on this unconventional path to education, I’ve compiled a list of 30 unschooling quotes that celebrate and encourage child-led learning.
1. “The human mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited.” - Plutarch
2. “Children are born passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of things around them.” - John Holt
3. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” - William Butler Yeats
4. “The whole world opened up to me when I learned to read.” - Mary McLeod Bethune
5. “Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for they were born in another time.” - Rabindranath Tagore
Empowering Self-Directed Learning:
“Children are not things to be molded, but people to be unfolded.” – Jess Lair
“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” – John Holt
“One learns by doing the thing; for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try.” – Sophocles
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker
“When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit.” – Fred Rogers
“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” – William Arthur Ward
“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” – Eugene Ionesco
“The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching.” – John Holt
“The best learning happens in real life with real problems and real people and not in classrooms.” – Charles Handy
“Children are natural learners; it’s what they do best.” – Grace Llewellyn
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” – Carl Rogers
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” – Mark Van Doren
“Each child is an adventure into a better life – an opportunity to change the old pattern and make it new.” – Hubert H. Humphrey
“If a child is to keep alive their inborn sense of wonder, they need the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with them the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” – Rachel Carson
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’” – Maria Montessori
“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.” – John Dewey
“It’s not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It’s a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life.” – John Holt
“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” – Albert Einstein
“Don’t prepare the path for the child, prepare the child for the path.” – Author Unknown
Unschooling is a philosophy that empowers children to take charge of their education, fostering a lifelong love for learning. These 30 unschooling quotes serve as a reminder that children are born with an innate curiosity and a natural thirst for knowledge. By embracing child-led education, we can help them discover their passions, think critically, and become independent, lifelong learners. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or simply an advocate for unconventional education, these quotes can inspire and guide you on this beautiful inspiring journey of self-directed learning.
In a world where the narrative often dictates that mothers must be self-sacrificing with porous boundaries to be deemed “good,” it’s no wonder many of us find ourselves exhausted and unable to fully embrace the mothers we aspire to be. But it’s time for a paradigm shift. It’s time to reclaim our power, set healthy boundaries, and show up in our lives and motherhood as the empowered, confident women we truly are.
The Myth of Sacrifice
For generations, society has perpetuated the myth of the “self-sacrificing mother” as the gold standard of good motherhood. It’s an archetype deeply ingrained in our cultural narrative, and it’s high time we scrutinize and redefine this narrative. While it’s undeniable that motherhood demands an abundance of love, care, and dedication, it should never come at the cost of our own well-being. Sacrificing our own needs and boundaries often leads us down a perilous path, leaving us depleted, emotionally drained, and ultimately unable to offer our best selves to our children and families.
Research has shown that constant self-sacrifice can have detrimental effects on mothers’ mental and physical health. A study published in the journal “Self and Identity” found that mothers who prioritize their own well-being are more likely to have a positive self-identity, which in turn positively influences their children’s well-being. Another study in the “Journal of Marriage and Family” suggests that when mothers practice self-care and maintain their own boundaries, they experience reduced stress levels and are better equipped to handle the demands of motherhood.
Tips for Navigating Motherhood with Balance
1. Prioritize Self-Care: Understand that taking time for yourself is not selfish but necessary for your overall well-being. Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine, whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, or simply having a moment of quiet.
2. Communicate Your Needs: Open and honest communication with your partner, family, and friends is essential. Let them know your boundaries and needs, and don’t be afraid to ask for support when you require it.
3. Set Boundaries: Establishing healthy boundaries is a key component of maintaining your mental and emotional health. Learn to say no when necessary, and don’t overextend yourself to the point of exhaustion.
4. Delegate and Share Responsibilities: Motherhood doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. Delegate tasks and share responsibilities with your partner and family members. A supportive community can make a significant difference.
5. Embrace Imperfection: Understand that it’s okay to be an imperfect mother. Perfection is an unattainable goal, and accepting your imperfections can alleviate the pressure you put on yourself.
While motherhood is a beautiful and fulfilling journey, it should never come at the cost of your well-being. It’s time to debunk the myth of self-sacrifice and prioritize self-care, boundaries, and balance in your life. By doing so, you not only benefit yourself but also create a healthier and more nurturing environment for your children to thrive in. Embrace the journey from burnout to badass, and let your inner strength and resilience shine through.
Fueling Your Powerhouse: Energy
One essential ingredient we often overlook in this journey is energy. Mothers need an endless supply of it, but many of us haven’t been shown how to increase and maintain the energy we require to be present in our daily lives. It’s time to dive into the journey of reclaiming and expanding our energy reserves.
Studies have consistently shown that maintaining healthy energy levels is not just beneficial but essential for overall well-being. In a research paper published in the “Journal of Positive Psychology,” it was found that individuals with higher energy levels reported increased life satisfaction, better mental health, and greater resilience in the face of life’s challenges. Energy, it seems, is the cornerstone of our ability to navigate motherhood with vitality and grace.
Tips for Harnessing and Expanding Your Energy:
1. Prioritize Sleep: Quality sleep is the foundation of your energy reserves. Make sleep a non-negotiable part of your routine, aiming for 7-9 hours of restorative rest each night.
2. Nutrient-Rich Diet: Fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods that provide sustained energy throughout the day. Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates into your meals.
3. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased energy levels. Ensure you drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to stay refreshed.
4. Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity not only boosts your physical energy but also enhances your mental and emotional well-being. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy, whether it’s yoga, walking, or dancing.
5. Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practice mindfulness meditation or relaxation techniques to reduce stress and maintain a calm, energized state of mind.
6. Limit Energy Drains: Identify activities or commitments that drain your energy unnecessarily. Delegate tasks or say no to those that do not align with your priorities.
7. Set Realistic Goals: Be mindful of overloading your schedule with too many tasks or responsibilities. Set achievable goals and break them down into manageable steps.
8. Connect with Passion: Engage in activities or hobbies that ignite your passion and enthusiasm. Doing what you love can significantly boost your energy.
9. Social Support: Surround yourself with a supportive community of friends and loved ones who uplift and energize you.
10. Time Management: Efficiently manage your time and create a daily routine that includes breaks and moments for self-care.
Remember that energy is not a finite resource but a well you can tap into and replenish with conscious effort and self-care. By nurturing your energy, you are not only reclaiming your power but also unlocking the potential to thrive as a confident and radiant mother. Embrace this journey, and watch as your inner powerhouse fuels your transformation from burnout to badass motherhood.
Setting Boundaries: The Key to Resilience
Establishing boundaries is a crucial step in regaining control over our lives. Healthy boundaries protect our energy, allowing us to prioritize self-care and recharge when needed. They enable us to say no when necessary, without guilt, and create space for what truly matters.
Studies have shown that individuals with well-defined boundaries experience reduced stress levels and increased life satisfaction. In a study published in the “Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science,” researchers found that people who set clear boundaries in their personal and professional lives reported lower levels of burnout and improved psychological functioning.
Tips for Setting and Maintaining Healthy Boundaries:
1. Self-Awareness: Understand your own needs, limits, and priorities. Take time to reflect on what is essential to your well-being and what you can comfortably manage.
2. Effective Communication: Clearly communicate your boundaries to those around you. Whether it’s with your partner, children, family, or colleagues, open and honest dialogue is key to ensuring your boundaries are respected.
3. Learn to Say No: Saying no when necessary is a powerful act of self-care. It’s okay to decline requests or commitments that would push you beyond your limits.
4. Consistency: Maintain consistency in upholding your boundaries. When others see that you consistently respect your limits, they are more likely to do the same.
5. Prioritize Self-Care: Incorporate self-care into your daily routine. Whether it’s meditation, exercise, or simply taking time for yourself, these practices reinforce your commitment to maintaining boundaries.
6. Seek Support: Reach out to your support network when needed. Friends, family, or a therapist can provide guidance, encouragement, and accountability as you navigate boundary-setting.
7. Guilt Management: Understand that setting boundaries is not a selfish act but a necessity for your well-being. Manage any feelings of guilt that may arise, knowing that you are taking steps toward becoming a more resilient and empowered mother.
8. Evaluate and Adjust: Periodically review your boundaries to ensure they align with your evolving needs and circumstances. Be willing to adjust them as necessary.
By setting boundaries, you protect your energy, reduce stress, and create space for self-care and personal growth. It’s a powerful act of self-love that empowers you to show up as the best version of yourself in motherhood and all areas of your life. As you continue on your journey from burnout to badass, remember that boundaries are your allies in reclaiming your power and embracing the radiant mother within you.
With the weight of modern motherhood on our shoulders, it’s easy to feel burdened and drained. Yet, this is not the motherhood any of us dreamt of. Deep within, we each have a vision of a version of ourselves who glows with ease in motherhood. It’s time to make that dream a reality.
For me, this meant, even as a single mom, being able to homeschool, run a business travel, write a book, and Homestead, all of which takes a lot of energy. I refused to give up on my dreams, and instead began problem-solving on how I could expand my energy and accomplish more of what was aligned with the life I wanted. I had to give up what drained me and do more of what filled my cup. This meant big changes around boundary setting, time management, and incorporating more practices that regulated my nervous system and improved my mental health. I’ve taken this entire three year journey and created an in depth seven module course to walk mothers through the process of healing and discovering their most aligned and empowered version of themselves in motherhood. If you’re truly ready for a full life transformation, you can sign up for the course here.
The Journey Ahead
The journey from burnout to badass is one of self-discovery and transformation. It’s about reclaiming your energy, setting boundaries, and reimagining the kind of mother you want to be. It’s about becoming the empowered, resilient, and radiant woman who can play and thrive in motherhood.
Stay tuned for more insights, tips, and strategies on this transformative journey. You deserve to be the badass mother you aspire to be. It’s time to rewrite the narrative and step into your power.
Remember, the journey begins with you. Embrace it, reclaim your energy, and let’s transform motherhood together.
In a world that places increasing demands and pressures on young minds, parents play a crucial role in fostering their children’s mental well-being and cultivating a strong sense of confidence and empowerment. Drawing from the principles of unschooling, outdoor play, risky play, and mindful parenting (or any of the mix that best fits your family’s needs), we can create an environment that nurtures our children’s mental health and equips them with the tools to thrive in today’s challenging landscape.
Unschooling: Fostering Intrinsic Confidence
Unschooling, an educational philosophy that emphasizes self-directed learning, helps children develop a natural sense of curiosity and ownership over their education. This approach encourages children to pursue their interests, ask questions, and explore their passions, leading to a strong sense of intrinsic motivation and self-confidence. By trusting their ability to learn and adapt, unschooling empowers children to believe in themselves and their capacity to navigate the world with confidence.
Unschooling, a pedagogical philosophy rooted in self-directed learning, is a dynamic approach that resonates deeply with my background in child development. Extensive research underscores the pivotal role of unschooling in nurturing children’s intrinsic confidence, ultimately shaping them into individuals who are not only well-prepared for future challenges but also possess a solid sense of self-assuredness.
Research by educational psychologist Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan has shown that intrinsic motivation is a critical component of psychological well-being. Unschooling excels in fostering this motivation by allowing children to steer their learning journey based on their genuine interests and curiosities. This approach taps into their innate desire for autonomy and self-determination, igniting a sense of ownership over their education.
For instance, when my five year old daughter exhibited a fascination for marine life, our unschooling approach enabled her to delve deeply into this subject. Guided by her interests, she explored marine biology books, visited aquariums, and conducted online research. This self-directed pursuit fostered a sense of accomplishment and ownership, leading her to feel empowered to explore further and tackle more complex concepts.
Moreover, a longitudinal study conducted by Peter Gray and Gina Riley found that unschooled children often develop advanced decision-making and self-regulation skills due to the autonomy they experience in their education. This autonomy is a crucial catalyst for intrinsic confidence. When children are given the freedom to shape their learning experiences, they become active participants rather than passive recipients. This dynamic process builds a reservoir of self-assurance, as they recognize their capacity to set goals, manage their time, and adapt to new challenges.
In my own journey as an unschooling mom with a background in child development, I’ve witnessed my daughters’ confidence blossoming as they explore topics that genuinely captivate their attention. This authenticity of exploration infuses them with a belief in their capacity to understand complex concepts, seek out knowledge independently, and articulate their ideas with conviction.
Outdoor Time: Connecting with Nature and Self
The benefits of spending time outdoors are immense. Nature offers a serene backdrop that fosters emotional well-being and enhances mental clarity. Engaging in outdoor activities allows children to disconnect from screens and distractions, providing a space for self-discovery, creativity, and emotional expression. Outdoor play not only promotes physical health but also supports cognitive development and emotional resilience, allowing children to build a strong foundation of mental well-being.
Stepping into the realm of outdoor exploration and nature-based experiences, my background in child development and my commitment to unschooling converge to illuminate the invaluable role that nature plays in nurturing children’s mental well-being. Research has consistently underscored the profound positive impact of outdoor time on children’s psychological, emotional, and cognitive development.
To raise a nature-bonded child is to raise a rebel, a dreamer, an innovator… someone who will walk their own verdant, winding path.
The “restorative theory” proposed by environmental psychologists such as Rachel Kaplan suggests that nature possesses a unique ability to restore mental fatigue and enhance cognitive functioning. Time spent in natural environments allows children to detach from the stimuli of modern life, providing a peaceful backdrop that rejuvenates their minds and promotes emotional well-being. Studies have demonstrated that exposure to nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and attention fatigue, leading to improved overall mental health.
Moreover, the Attention Restoration Theory (ART) postulated by psychologists Stephen and Rachel Kaplan posits that natural environments elicit involuntary attention, allowing the brain’s directed attention mechanisms to recharge. This restoration of attentional resources has been linked to enhanced problem-solving abilities, creativity, and cognitive flexibility. By engaging in outdoor play and exploration, children are not only reaping physical health benefits but also cultivating a mental landscape primed for optimal learning and development.
Richard Louv, an advocate for nature-rich childhoods, coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” to highlight the detrimental consequences of children’s disconnection from the natural world. His research suggests that reduced exposure to nature can lead to a range of psychological challenges, including increased stress, diminished cognitive functioning, and even attention disorders. On the flip side, immersing children in outdoor environments offers a counterbalance, fostering improved mood, reduced stress levels, and enhanced overall psychological well-being.
As a mom who prioritizes time outdoors, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative effects of outdoor exploration on my own children. From exploring nearby forests to picnicking by lakes, these experiences have nurtured their curiosity, encouraged creative expression, and offered them a sense of calm.
Incorporating outdoor time into our unschooling routine aligns seamlessly with the tenets of child development research. By providing opportunities for children to connect with nature, we’re offering them a sanctuary for mental rejuvenation, emotional expression, and cognitive growth. These experiences serve as a potent reminder that the natural world is not just a backdrop but an essential ingredient for cultivating robust mental well-being in our children.
Play is the foundation of learning, creativity, self-expression, and constructive problem-solving. It’s how children wrestle with life to make it meaningful.
Susan Linn Contemporary American psychiatrist
Risky Play: Navigating Challenges and Building Resilience
While modern parenting often emphasizes safety, exposing children to controlled risks through risky play can be immensely beneficial. Climbing trees, exploring uneven terrain, and engaging in adventurous activities teach children valuable skills such as assessing risks, problem-solving, and building resilience. These experiences instill a sense of agency, teaching children to trust their judgment and cope effectively with setbacks. By gradually allowing children to face manageable challenges, we empower them to overcome obstacles and develop a sense of mastery over their environment.
Embracing the concept of risky play as an integral part of my unschooling approach, fortified by my mastery in child development, unveils a realm where calculated challenges become catalysts for fostering resilience and shaping confident individuals. Research and real-life examples vividly illustrate the profound positive impact of allowing children to engage in controlled risky play.
Researchers like Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter have highlighted the critical role of risky play in promoting children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Sandseter’s “six categories of risky play” encompass activities such as climbing, jumping from heights, and exploring on one’s own. Engaging in these activities not only fosters physical strength, balance, and coordination, but also stimulates the development of risk assessment skills and decision-making abilities.
A study published in the journal of Pediatrics found that children who engage in risky outdoor play are more likely to exhibit enhanced motor skills, self-confidence, and social skills. The study emphasized that activities involving risk allow children to develop a better sense of their own capabilities and limitations. For instance, when my youngest daughter decided to navigate climbing the tree in our yard, she honed her motor skills, learned to assess potential challenges, and developed self-reliance – attributes that are pivotal for her future success.
Furthermore, psychologist Peter Gray’s research emphasizes that risky play not only equips children with physical skills but also cultivates emotional resilience. By experiencing challenges and setbacks in a controlled environment, children learn to cope with discomfort and uncertainty. These experiences lead to the development￼ of a “can-do” attitude, instilling a belief that they can overcome adversity.
In my journey as an unschooling mom with a foundation in child development, I’ve witnessed how engaging in risky play has bolstered my daughters’ self-esteem and fortitude and done the same for many children I’ve worked with over the years. Whether they’re balancing on logs over a small stream or making stick forts, these activities empower them to take calculated risks and experience the exhilaration of conquering challenges.
By weaving risky play into our unschooling approach, we’re not only aligning with established research but also nurturing traits that are essential for success in various facets of life. Through these experiences, our children learn to navigate uncertainty, make informed decisions, and stand resilient in the face of difficulties. By embracing controlled risks, we’re sculpting individuals who are not just confident but also adept at confronting life’s complexities with poise and determination.
Mindful parenting involves being fully present and attuned to your child’s needs, feelings, and experiences. This practice encourages open communication, active listening, and empathy, which are essential components of emotional intelligence. By validating their emotions and creating a safe space for expression, parents enable their children to develop a healthy relationship with their feelings. This foundation of emotional intelligence equips children with the tools to navigate relationships, manage stress, and develop a positive self-image.
Encompassing the essence of emotional intelligence, mindful parenting intertwines seamlessly with my aligned parenting flow. This nurturing approach unlocks a realm where empathy, open communication, and a deep connection with my children lay the foundation for emotional resilience and a harmonious family dynamic. Grounded in research, mindful parenting serves as a cornerstone in my journey through intentional and aligned motherhood.
Research by psychologists John Gottman and Daniel Goleman underscores the pivotal role of emotional intelligence in personal and interpersonal success. By nurturing emotional intelligence through mindful parenting, we’re equipping our children with essential skills that contribute to effective communication, conflict resolution, and the formation of healthy relationships.
Practicing mindful parenting involves creating a space for open communication and genuine understanding. When my oldest daughter encountered a challenging situation with a friend, I approached the conversation with active listening and empathy. This allowed her to share her feelings without fear of judgment, fostering a sense of safety and mutual respect. Through such interactions, our children learn that their emotions are valid and deserving of acknowledgment, setting the stage for them to develop a robust emotional vocabulary and regulation tools.
Mindful parenting also encourages us to model emotional regulation. Research by Mark Greenberg suggests that children learn to manage their emotions by observing how their caregivers navigate their own feelings. By acknowledging our emotions and demonstrating healthy coping mechanisms, we’re teaching our children the invaluable skill of managing their emotional responses constructively.
In my journey, I’ve found that incorporating mindful practices, such as deep breathing exercises or mindful storytelling, facilitates emotional bonding and regulation. These practices not only enhance communication but also create moments of shared presence and connection. My “Becoming The Wild Mother Journal” and The one-on-one coaching sessions offer parents a compass to navigate the terrain of mindful parenting, allowing them to align their approach with their values, and find ease in the complex journey of raising emotionally intelligent children.
As an unschooling mama who loves mindful parenting, I’ve witnessed how this approach not only enriches our family dynamic but also nurtures the emotional growth of my daughters. By cultivating open communication, empathy, and self-awareness, we’re nurturing individuals who are not only well-prepared for the challenges of life but also equipped to navigate them with emotional resilience and grace.
Incorporating unschooling principles, outdoor play, risky play, and mindful parenting into our children’s lives can have a profound impact on their mental health and overall well-being. These practices encourage self-discovery, resilience, and a deep connection with themselves and the world around them. By nurturing their confidence, empowering their choices, and fostering emotional intelligence, we are laying the groundwork for children who are not only mentally strong but also equipped to thrive in an ever-changing world.
Hey fellow unschooling families! As we eagerly prepare for another enriching year of child-led learning, I can’t help but feel a rush of excitement and curiosity for the journey ahead. Unschooling has been a game-changer for us, and I’m thrilled to share some essential tips that have helped us create a thriving learning environment. So, let’s dive in and get ready for a fantastic year of unschooling and embracing the magic of emergent learning!
Tips To Start Your UnschoolingJourney
Set Intentions: Clarify your goals and values for unschooling to guide your journey.
Flexible Routine: Create a loose schedule that allows for exploration and spontaneity.
Interest-Led Learning: Follow your child’s passions and interests to fuel their curiosity.
Resources: Gather a variety of books, online courses, and educational materials.
Real-World Exposure: Encourage hands-on experiences, visits to museums, nature trips, etc.
Document Progress: Keep a journal or portfolio to track your child’s learning adventures.
Connect with Community: Join local unschooling groups or online communities for support.
Encourage Autonomy: Let your child take ownership of their learning journey.
Embrace Failure: Mistakes are opportunities for growth; don’t fear setbacks.
Reflect and Adjust: Regularly assess what’s working and adapt your approach as needed.
Remember, unschooling is about fostering a love for learning through freedom and exploration. There are many way we can set the environment and support our children on their learning journeys.
Setting The Stage For A Successful Year of Unschooling
1. Cultivating a Curiosity-Rich Haven
Picture this: our home as a curiosity playground, bursting with endless possibilities. We’ve filled it with books, art supplies, science kits, and more! By surrounding our kids with resources that match their interests, we empower them to explore, ask questions, and dive deep into their passions.
• Books: Curate a diverse collection of fiction, non-fiction, and reference books to cater to your child’s interests and passions. • Art Supplies: Fill your home with various art materials, such as colored pencils, markers, watercolors, and sketchbooks, to encourage artistic expression. • Science Kits: Explore the wonders of science with hands-on kits that cover topics like chemistry, physics, and biology. • Educational Games: Incorporate board games, puzzles, and educational toys that encourage problem-solving and critical thinking.
2. Embracing the Beauty of Flexibility
Ah, the joy of ditching rigid schedules and standardized curriculums! Unschooling lets us go with the flow, following our children’s interests wherever they lead. Being adaptable and open to change allows us to tailor learning opportunities uniquely for our kids.
• Learning Journals: Encourage your child to keep a journal where they can jot down their thoughts, observations, and newfound knowledge. • Portable Devices: Consider investing in tablets or laptops for on-the-go research and access to online learning resources.
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
― Albert Einstein
3. Unleashing Creativity and Self-Expression
Oh, the masterpiece of creativity! We’ve opened the doors for our kids to let their imaginations run wild. Art, music, drama – you name it! Creating a nurturing space where self-expression flourishes is pure magic.
• Musical Instruments: Unleash your child’s musical talents by providing access to instruments like keyboards, guitars, or drums. • Craft Supplies: Stock up on crafting materials like colored paper, glue, scissors, and other materials to fuel their creative endeavors. • Imaginative Play Props: Encourage role-playing with dress-up costumes, puppets, and toy figurines for imaginative playtime.
4. Cultivating a Love for Books and Writing
Books are like treasure chests for our unschooling adventure! By offering a vast selection of reading material and encouraging writing exercises, we ignite a passion for literacy that propels their learning journey.
• Library Card: Obtain a library card to make regular visits to the local library and explore a vast array of reading materials. • Writing Materials: Supply your child with notebooks, journals, and a variety of writing tools to encourage writing and storytelling. •And of course great books!!
5. Connecting with Our Unschooling Tribe
Community connections are the cherry on top! We seek out like-minded families, local groups, and workshops that align with our kids’ interests. Social skills and teamwork blossom when they find their tribe.
• Local Event Calendars: Keep an eye on community event calendars for workshops, seminars, and local gatherings that align with your child’s interests. • Recreational Passes: Consider investing in passes to local museums, nature reserves, and cultural centers to explore the world around you.
6. Tapping into Online Resources
The internet has become our unschooling treasure trove! Online platforms offer virtual tours, interactive learning, and a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. It’s a fantastic complement to our offline explorations.
• Educational Apps: Discover reputable educational apps that cover various subjects, providing engaging and interactive learning experiences. • Virtual Tours: Access virtual tours of museums, historical sites, and national parks to expand their horizons from the comfort of home.
7. Capturing the Joyous Journey
One of the joys of unschooling is celebrating progress, growth, and memorable moments. Keeping a journal or portfolio helps us document the incredible learning experiences and allows us to reflect on the magic we’re creating together.
• Scrapbooking Materials: Create scrapbooks or memory albums to capture the milestones and memorable moments throughout the year. • Camera or Smartphone: Use a camera or smartphone to snap pictures and videos of your child’s learning adventures and achievements.
As we gear up for another year of unschooling, I’m filled with gratitude to start another year of play and curiosity based learning. Our days are filled with play, creativity, and wonder. Embracing the freedom of unschooling has brought us closer as a family, cherishing the uniqueness of each of my little one’s learning journey. Let’s embark on this unforgettable adventure, supporting and celebrating the magic of emergent learning experiences every step of the way. Together, we’re raising lifelong learners who cherish knowledge and embrace the joy of learning. Happy unschooling, dear friends!
Hey there, fellow mamas! As a single mom of two with a master’s degree in child development, I know firsthand the beautiful chaos and incredible joy that comes with being a parent, as well as the struggles of doing it alone and having to face overwhelm and the many burdens that come with adulting and parenting. Motherhood is a journey filled with love, growth, and adventure, but it’s also natural to face moments of overwhelm and stress. Stepping into emotional regulation is a game-changer that can empower us to find our ease and flow in motherhood. In this blog post, I’ll share research-backed tips that have helped me and other mamas navigate the emotional rollercoaster of parenting, allowing us to create a loving and (mostly) harmonious environment for ourselves and our children.
1. Breathe and Be Present: When the day feels overwhelming, take a moment to pause and breathe. Mindful breathing is a research-backed technique that calms the nervous system and reduces stress hormones. By being present in the moment, we can ground ourselves and gain perspective, making it easier to respond to challenges with patience and understanding.
I love starting my day with a guided breathing practice or meditation to make sure I’m not carrying the stressors of the previous day into the new day. You can find a ton of options on YouTube if you want to try a guided practice.
2. Practice Self-Compassion: As single moms, we are superheroes juggling multiple roles, and it’s normal to have moments of frustration or self-doubt. Instead of being hard on ourselves, let’s practice self-compassion. Acknowledge that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and remember that we’re doing our best. Embracing self-compassion fosters a positive self-image, which impacts how we nurture our children’s emotional well-being.
Post some of your favorite affirmations around the house (my Becoming The Wild Mother Journal includes some awesome affirmations you can hang around the house). Our society can be critical, constantly reminding us of where we can be better, so we have to act as our own advocate in reminding ourselves we are already enough just as we are.
3. Seek Support and Connection: Building a support network is crucial for single moms. Reach out to friends, family, or join online communities of fellow intentional and conscious parents. (Be careful to not join groups that tell you how you should be but rather support you on your individual journey, my community Becoming The Wild Mother is great for support and connection without judgement!) Research shows that having a strong support system reduces stress and improves emotional well-being. Connecting with others who understand our journey helps us feel understood, lessens the emotional burden, and gives us a safe space to share experiences and seek advice.
4. Embrace Mindful Parenting: Mindful parenting is about being fully present with our children, observing their emotions and needs with non-judgmental awareness. Research has found that mindful parenting strengthens the parent-child bond and fosters emotional intelligence in children. By practicing mindful parenting, we create a loving and secure environment where our children can thrive emotionally.
This also gives you some mental space as you realize you do not need to redirect and micromanage your child but rather can be a present support providing a safe space in which you trust your child will turn out well rounded as you lead by example.
5. Prioritize Self-Care: Remember that self-care is not selfish; it’s essential for our well-being as moms. Research-backed studies show that regular self-care reduces stress and enhances emotional resilience. Carve out time each day for activities that bring you joy, whether it’s reading, exercising, or indulging in a hobby. Taking care of ourselves models healthy behavior for our children and teaches them the importance of self-love.
6. Teach Emotional Regulation: As moms, we can teach our children essential emotional regulation techniques. Research supports the effectiveness of methods like identifying emotions, using positive affirmations, and engaging in expressive arts to enhance emotional resilience. By equipping our children with these tools, we help them navigate their emotions and build resilience.
One of the best ways to teach is by leading through example. Pick up habits of deep breathing and self regulation to show yYour child we can bey upset and still express our emotions in a regulated and safe way.
Regulating a dysregulated nervous system can greatly improve emotional well-being. Here are some techniques that can help:
1. Deep Breathing: Engage in slow, deep breathing exercises. Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your diaphragm, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tense and release different muscle groups in your body to release physical tension and signal relaxation to your brain.
3. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness to stay present and reduce rumination. Meditation, even for a few minutes a day, can calm an overactive nervous system.
4. Grounding Techniques: Focus on your senses to ground yourself in the present. Notice things around you—sights, sounds, textures—to shift your focus away from distressing thoughts.
5. Sensory Stimulation: Use sensory tools like fidget toys, stress balls, or scented items to provide calming sensations that can regulate your nervous system.
6. Exercise: Engaging in physical activity can help release built-up tension and stimulate the release of endorphins, which promote feelings of well-being.
7. Hydration and Nutrition: Proper hydration and a balanced diet can positively impact your nervous system’s functioning.
8. Limit Stimulants: Reduce or eliminate caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants, as they can exacerbate nervous system dysregulation.
9. Yoga: Gentle yoga and stretching can promote relaxation and help release physical tension.
10. Aromatherapy: Certain scents, like lavender or chamomile, can have calming effects. Consider keeping these herbson hand to smell or make tea.
11. Visualizations: Use guided imagery or visualizations of peaceful places to evoke calming responses.
As mindful mamas, we have a deep understanding of our children’s emotional needs but not always our own. By incorporating research-backed emotional regulation tips into our lives, we can find our ease and flow in motherhood, supporting our own emotional needs. Mindful breathing, self-compassion, building a support network, and practicing mindful parenting are powerful ways to enhance our emotional well-being and create a nurturing environment for our children. Prioritizing self-care and teaching emotional regulation to our kids paves the way for a harmonious and fulfilling motherhood journey. Let’s embrace emotional balance and continue to thrive as strong, resilient, and loving moms!
In recent years, unschooling has gained popularity as a refreshing alternative to traditional education. This child-led, interest-driven approach to learning empowers children to discover the world at their pace, nurturing their natural curiosity and passion for knowledge. Unschooling can pave the way for a fulfilling and enriching educational journey.
As an unschooling mom of two with a master’s degree in child development, I have found ease and confidence in embracing this child-led, interest-driven approach to education. Witnessing my children thrive in their unique learning journeys has strengthened my belief in the power of unschooling. In this blog post, I will share my personal experiences as a parent and child development expert, highlighting the research based benefits of unschooling.
1. Personalized Learning Journey: Research shows that unschooling allows for a highly personalized learning journey tailored to each child’s unique needs and interests. A study published in the Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, reflected that this personalized approach enables children to delve deeply into subjects that resonate with them, fostering a love for learning and promoting long-term academic engagement.
2. Cultivation of Intrinsic Motivation: A research paper published in the journal Theory and Research in Education highlights that unschooling places a strong emphasis on intrinsic motivation. When children pursue what genuinely captivates them, they become self-motivated learners. This internal drive leads to a deeper engagement with the learning process, making education an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
Intrinsic motivation is the internal drive that compels individuals to engage in activities for the sheer joy and satisfaction they derive from them, rather than external rewards or pressures. For children, developing intrinsic motivation is a crucial aspect of their overall growth and child development. As an unschooling mom with a master’s degree in child development, I deeply value the significance of fostering this intrinsic motivation in my children’s educational journey.
Intrinsic motivation plays a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable and fulfilling learning journey for children. When kids are intrinsically motivated, their desire to explore and discover remains constant, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. This sustained curiosity drives them to seek knowledge continuously, fostering a lifelong love for learning. Unschooling empowers children to take ownership of their education, making choices based on their interests and passions, instilling a deep sense of responsibility and accountability for their academic growth.
Children intrinsically motivated to learn are more engaged and invested in their activities, willingly investing effort and time into exploring subjects they find fascinating. This heightened engagement leads to a deeper understanding and retention of knowledge. Moreover, intrinsic motivation encourages children to explore subjects in a creative and imaginative manner, seeking innovative solutions to problems and understanding concepts in a meaningful context.
When children achieve success through intrinsic motivation, they develop a positive self-image and heightened self-confidence. Their achievements are not tied to external validation, which boosts their belief in their abilities and strengthens their self-esteem. Intrinsic motivation also cultivates resilience and perseverance in children, as they persist and overcome obstacles when faced with challenges, building a growth mindset.
Unschooling, with its child-led approach, plays a vital role in nurturing intrinsic motivation in children. By allowing them to choose their educational pursuits based on their interests and passions, unschooling empowers children to follow their curiosity and discover the joy of self-directed exploration. In this approach, children develop a strong sense of ownership over their learning, leading to heightened engagement, deepened understanding, and a love for knowledge that transcends the boundaries of traditional education.
I am grateful for the opportunity to witness my children develop intrinsic motivation, knowing it is laying the foundation for a lifelong love of learning and personal growth. By embracing unschooling, we celebrate the innate curiosity and individuality of each child, fostering an environment where their internal motivation thrives.
As children pursue their passions through unschooling, they develop a deep sense of self-confidence and belief in their own abilities.
Dr. Peter Gray
3. Holistic Development: Studies have shown that unschooling supports holistic development in children. According to research conducted by Peter Gray, a developmental psychologist and advocate of unschooling, children engaged in this approach tend to develop higher levels of emotional intelligence, creativity, and social skills through diverse learning experiences that encompass art, music, nature, and community activities.
Unschooling, an approach that embraces intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning, has shown significant benefits for promoting children’s mental health and holistic development. As an unschooling mom, I firmly believe in the positive impact of this approach on my children’s well-being. Research indicates that unschooling reduces stress and anxiety commonly associated with traditional educational settings. By allowing children to explore their interests and passions freely, unschooling nurtures positive self-concept and a sense of worth based on their unique talents and achievements.
Moreover, unschooling fosters emotional intelligence and empathy through diverse social interactions, contributing to meaningful connections with others and enhancing overall emotional well-being. The approach also promotes resilience and coping skills, as children embrace challenges and learn from failures, gaining adaptability in managing life’s ups and downs. The flexible learning environment of unschooling allows children to prioritize their mental well-being and emotional needs, leading to improved mental health outcomes.
Unschooling empowers children to pursue their passions, fostering creativity, curiosity, and a love for learning. This exploration stimulates the mind and nourishes their natural curiosity, positively impacting mental well-being. Additionally, the strong family bonds cultivated through unschooling play a vital role in supporting children’s mental health and emotional stability.
Research supports the idea that unschooling’s child-centered approach promotes better mental health outcomes. Studies have shown that unschooled children generally exhibit higher levels of well-being, emotional health, and life satisfaction compared to their traditionally-schooled peers. As an unschooling mom with a background in child development, I have witnessed firsthand how my children’s mental and emotional well-being have flourished through this approach. Unschooling’s focus on intrinsic motivation, individuality, and self-directed learning creates a positive and nurturing environment where my children’s mental health and holistic development are prioritized. By fostering a love for learning, supporting emotional intelligence, and nurturing strong family bonds, unschooling proves to be an effective path towards creating emotionally resilient and well-rounded individuals.
4. Flexible and Adaptable: A study published in the journal Education Sciences emphasizes the adaptability of unschooling. The flexible nature of this approach allows families to cater to each child’s changing interests and needs. Unlike traditional curricula, unschooling enables a learning journey that evolves organically with the child.
5. Real-Life Application: Numerous research studies have highlighted the real-life application of unschooling. As children actively participate in everyday experiences like cooking, gardening, and community activities, they gain practical skills and develop a deeper understanding of the relevance of their education in daily life.
6. Enhanced Critical Thinking: Research conducted by educational psychologist Kym Paterson reveals that unschooling fosters enhanced critical thinking skills. Through hands-on exploration of subjects they are passionate about, children encounter challenges and solve problems, leading to a deeper understanding of concepts and a heightened ability to think critically.
7. Building Self-Confidenceand resilience: According to research by psychologist Alison Gopnik, children who experience success in areas of interest develop higher levels of self-confidence. In unschooling, as children take charge of their learning and witness their progress, they develop a strong sense of self-efficacy, empowering them to tackle challenges with determination and resilience.
Unschooling, with its emphasis on intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning, creates an ideal environment for children to develop vital resilience and coping skills. I have personally witnessed how this approach nurtures my children’s emotional strength and fosters their ability to cope with life’s challenges.
In the unschooling setting, children are encouraged to pursue their interests and passions, which fosters a sense of autonomy and ownership over their learning journey. As they encounter obstacles and setbacks, they develop the tenacity to persist and find solutions, building resilience in the face of adversity. This empowerment to take charge of their education helps them develop a growth mindset, where challenges are seen as opportunities for growth and learning.
The flexible nature of unschooling allows children to explore various subjects and activities, nurturing their adaptability and coping skills. They learn to navigate uncertainties and adapt to changing circumstances, essential qualities in the ever-changing landscape of life. Unlike traditional educational settings with rigid structures, unschooling provides space for children to explore at their own pace, allowing them to build resilience in navigating uncertainties and complexities in their educational journey.
Furthermore, unschooling offers a stress-reduced environment, devoid of the pressures often associated with standardized testing and strict academic schedules. Children in unschooling settings are more likely to experience lower levels of anxiety, which contributes to their overall emotional well-being and strengthens their coping abilities. They have the freedom to explore and pursue their interests, creating a sense of joy and fulfillment in their learning experience.
The supportive family environment inherent in unschooling plays a crucial role in fostering resilience and coping skills. The close parent-child relationship nurtures open communication, trust, and emotional support. Children feel safe to express their feelings, navigate emotions, and seek guidance when facing challenges. This emotional support acts as a buffer during difficult times, allowing children to develop effective coping mechanisms and emotional regulation.
Research has shown that unschooled children tend to exhibit higher levels of emotional well-being and life satisfaction compared to their traditionally-schooled peers. Studies conducted by educational psychologists have highlighted that unschooling nurtures emotional resilience, problem-solving skills, and adaptability in children.
Unschooling offers a nurturing environment for children to develop resilience and coping skills, key attributes that contribute to their emotional strength and well-being. By embracing their interests, facing challenges with determination, and benefiting from a supportive family environment, unschooled children gain the tools to navigate life’s ups and downs with grace and confidence.
8. Empowering Independence: A research study published in the Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning shows that unschooling encourages children to be independent thinkers and decision-makers. They take ownership of their education, set goals, and explore subjects autonomously, nurturing a sense of responsibility for their learning journey.
The joy of unschooling is witnessing children flourish as they follow their interests and take ownership of their learning.
Dr. Peter Gray
9. Lifelong Learning Mindset: Research by educational psychologist Carol Dweck suggests that unschooling instills a lifelong learning mindset in children. By experiencing the joy of self-directed exploration, children develop a love for learning that extends beyond formal education, embracing curiosity and intellectual growth throughout their lives.
The evidence-based benefits of practicing unschooling revolutionize the traditional notion of education. Supported by research and citations, unschooling empowers children to become self-motivated, creative, and critical thinkers. It fosters a love for learning, nurtures individuality, and celebrates the uniqueness of each child’s educational journey. Through this liberating and enriching method, families embark on a path of exploration, discovery, and empowerment, laying the foundation for a lifetime of continuous curiosity and intellectual growth.
For support on learning to unschool confidently you can join my guided course on what you need to know!
So many of us face the story of disconnect. Stuck in the cycle of rush, moving too quickly, to really pay attention to our present environment. A cycle that keeps many of us depleted, exhausted, and aching for something more. And there is a way to get more.
We can’t just say that we want the world to be different and keep living the same.
It’s our job to start living the way that we want to see the world change. That includes doing what we can to start creating more connection in our lives. From building communities, to slowing down in our own homes, to making home and connection the center of our lives rather than money and productivity. For me- this looks like child led homeschooling, practicing homestead skills like cooking from scratch and gardening, and slowing down to be more intentional in how I spend my time.
We can start living in ways that replenish our minds and our bodies rather than the ways that deplete us.
Reading, listening, and deep diving into my own passions, I have mulled over the idea of living a connected life time and time again. I do believe a connected life will look different for everyone but there are a few things that are core to living a more connected life: living aligned with what brings you joy, quality time with those you love, and community.
As we fall into a routine on our new 10 acres and old farmhouse – our farm – I noticed the days have become longer. As if I somehow now have more hours in the day, as if I can somehow now get more done with the same amount of time than I could before. I’m able to get my to do list done, for the most part, and still have time to rest and play. I thought maybe I would get overwhelmed running a farm on top of running a business and homeschooling, but honestly things have somehow felt easier. It is, of course, never perfect, and stressful moments still arise, but things are easier even though it’s technically more work, because I am doing things I love. The daily work nourishes me rather than depletes me as I flow through each bit of work with gratitude. It’s not about doing less but doing more of what feels you with joy, ease, and passion.
As we dove into our passions, as we heal, as we create more space for the things we love, we will start to fill a shift in our energy. I am asked nearly every day how I have the energy to do all that I do and everyone wants a quick fix or easy trick that will somehow make them super human and able to take on more than any human should, but the truth is the key is in setting boundaries, getting clear on your priorities, and realigning your life to flow with ease so that it takes less energy (if this sound likes what you need check out my Burnout to Badass Coursewhere we deep dive and transform your life to take your energy and confidence back).
Burnout IS disconnection. Once we hit burnout, it’s nearly impossible to be present, even when we are doing the things we enjoy. We just cease to have the energy. There is a process of healing and recovery that must take place between burnout and connection, but it doesn’t have to be checking out of life. It can happen within community, within support, within connecting with ourselves our passions and those we love.
Let’s be the change we want to see. Let’s step into a space of connection and lead our families to a life of connection.
1. Make a Detailed List Of The Parent You Want To Be
Include at least 10 characteristics of what an ideal parent is to you. For example, you could say you want to be calm, kind, and affectionate. There is a free handout to help at the bottom of this article! Read more about setting expectations as a parent.
2. Write 3 Things You Want To Change About Your Parenting
Get specific and write out all the details. I would even suggest writing a story down of an example of the parenting characteristics or actions you want to change. This will help you clarify the issues and pinpoint what you want to change and how you may be able to do so.
3. Make An Action Plan
Write a detailed plan for the new behaviors you are going to use to replace your old unwanted behaviors. GET SPECIFIC. For example, instead of telling when my kids aren’t listening I will calmly give them two choices. Write yourself an example to make it real: “You can get your shoes on by yourself or I can help you.”
4. Make a List of 3 Ways You Will Bond With Your Child(ren)
Choose specific activities that you will both enjoy and can do regularly. Also try to choose activities that allow you to chat and focus on each other. For example, if your child is sporty, instead of playing laser tag or something with a lot of distractions, try putt-putt golf so there’s lots of time to chat. Some ideas for bonding with younger children is art activities, going on a walk, or some of these easy activities. Whatever you choose, schedule it in at least twice monthly. Get a calendar or planner, write it down, and stick to it. The consistency of your efforts will mean the world to your child (whether their old enough to express it or not).
5. Reflect and Improve
Although reflection requires a lot of effort, it will by far make the biggest difference in your parenting. Take time at least weekly to check in on your parenting goals and see if you’re meeting them. If not, where can you make little adjustments to make the goals more obtainable. What new examples can you write down to help remember and put into action the way you want to parent? With each reflection, you’ll be able to better embody your parenting goals.
Car seats are extremely important and have saved many little ones’ lives. It’s important to use a car seat when in a car, however, because they’re intended for the sole purpose of keeping baby safe from an impact, they do absolutely nothing in terms of supporting the baby’s development and actually hinder development. Because they actually impede baby’s development by confining and limiting movement, it’s important for baby’s well being to only be left in the car seat when in the car.
Please note this article is not intended to shame parents but rather to inform and empower them to make the best decision for their family.
Switching from one container to the next reduces the amount of time and ability for a baby to kick, turn their head side-to-side, wiggle and move as a baby is supposed to do in order to develop the needed strength and coordination to learn new skills such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking.
Over use of a car seat (along with other container devices such as a baby swing, rockers, strollers, etc.), can result in issues such as delayed development, flathead syndrome (plagiocephaly), maldevelopment of the neck muscles (torticollis), ADHD, and maldevelopment of reflexes.
Time in containers should be limited to no more than 30 minutes maximum per day
Although a baby carrier is still considered a “baby container,” it is a much better option that leaving baby in a car seat. A carrier allows baby to be close to you, regulating their breathing, heart rate, and it allows baby to feel safe and involved with whatever you are doing. Baby can learn by watching and listening to you, while babies are often left out of whatever is going on when left in a car seat. It also prevents head deformation as baby has different positions for head support, if any, when in the carrier.
Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Babywearing also increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.
In terms of supporting development, a Playmat is your best option. It allows baby to move freely and develop his or her own movements. Although a great option, I know it is not always a realistic option when in public spaces. However, if you’re in a safe environment with baby, always have a Playmat on hand to let them develop their skills!
Organic Explore Playmat
Organic Cotton Round Playmat
Portable Play Yards
A great safe option to let babies play and grow is a portable Play Yard. It keeps baby from any accidents while still keeping them safe. While it’s best to use a play mat in a safe environment so baby can feel more involved with the surrounding world, play yards are a good option for when that may not be safe or realistic.
Of course there’s always the great option of just holding your baby!
Having Someone Else Watch or Hold Baby
If you’re engaged in something important or unsafe enlist others to hold or watch your little one. Almost everyone will say yes to holding your baby!
Convertible Car Seat
A great solution to limiting time in a car seat out of the car is eliminating the option! Get a convertible car seat that will grow with baby that stays in the car. This way if the temptation arises, it’s not an option because you definitely won’t lug around a huge convertible car seat. You’ll happily strap on the baby carrier or grab the play mat and head on your way.
The Maxi Cosi is my favorite because it has great safety ratings, it’s easy to use, and they don’t use toxic flame retardants on their seats.
How do you avoid or limit container parenting? Any tips?