Unschooling is all about the child learning through engaging with their surroundings and then pursuing more deeply the concepts that spark curiosity and interest. The environment is key for learning to be a natural and smooth process. The environment should encourage children to explore their interests, learn from experiences, and pursue project based learning. Everything in the learning environment should encourage experimentation, problem-solving, creativity, and open-ended play.
Growing your family is beautiful. (Congratulations by the way). For little kids, expecting a new sibling can be a time of excitement, confusion, and concern. One way to help your child process these emotions and gain more understanding around the changes in their life is story telling. Relevant story books can help children process the big changes in their life and even become more excited about the new baby!
When I became pregnant with my second child, my husband and I knew it was important we help our daughter transition into being a big sister. We put a big focus on how exciting a little sibling would be and how important her role is as a big sister. We began reading books about being a big sibling every day as the end of my pregnancy neared and sure enough, our first child was excited and proud to become a big sister! Even more heartwarming, big sister now loves to “read” the sibling books to her baby sister.
Picture books are an important source of new language, concepts, and lessons for young children.
I wrote this book after seeing there was a lack of books explaining pregnancy to kids in a fun way! This books talks about how mommy’s are magic and how sometimes they might not feel well while growing a baby but it’s worth adding another amazing person to the family!
This book adds a fun twist to typical big sibling books since it’s about a dragon getting a new sibling! This book addresses the emotions of jealousy or avoidance a big sibling might feel when expecting a new baby in a fun and gentle way.
There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.
We all know consumerism is a huge issue in Western Society. Advertisements and the constant pushes to buy more are everywhere, so it of course effects our children and how they think. From commercials to conversations with friends, acquiring more things is encouraged. For us parents who want our kids to want less and live more, I created a list of tips on teaching our children less is really more.
Limit The Amount of “Stuff” They Can Have
Decide as a family a good number of toys, clothes, and other items such as movies or books that will be a cap for the amount in your home. For example, you can say 5 stuffed animals and 10 other toys then maintain that number by donating anytime you choose to add a toy.
Teach your child to value experiences over stuff. This will mostly be learned through role modeling as well as discussion as they get older. A great way to teach this is to go hiking rather than shopping. Only go shopping when necessary and discuss what you will be getting and why with your child.
Have A No Presents Rule
Let family and friends know your plans for minimalism! You can tell everyone you’re happy to accept gifted experiences (season passes to a theme park, state park passes, movie gift cards, etc.), but will not be accepting any items.
Read About It
Read books with your child(ren) focused on minimalism and the importance of experiences over stuff.
Designate a few times of year to donate anything no longer being used such as outgrown clothes, toys, or books. A great time is before yearly school shopping, holidays, and birthdays. Let children know when donation days are approaching so they can prepare.
The best way to really raise a minimalist is to be a minimalist!
“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” —Amelia Barr
Children explore their roles in the world and their impact on the world around them through creative play. It’s important for children to process and understand their world as well as express their emotions through creativity for emotional well-being.
Follow these easy tips to support your child’s development through creative play and building the skill of creativity!
Set Up The Environment
The environment is key in encouraging creative play. It is important to create a “no” free zone that children know they can engage in without criticism or many limits.
If it’s not possible to always have this space set up, you can get a large baby gate to section off an area that you can add toys or art supplies the child can engage with freely. Providing a playroom, if possible, is a great option as well.
Simple Toys and Supplies
Research actually found children engaged more and formed more cognitive connections when using simple, wooden toys rather than electronic “learning” toys.
Keep simple toys that can be used for multiple purposes and imaginative play available at all times.
Schedule Free Time (or Don’t Schedule)
Always make sure there is time in the schedule for your child to engage in play without direction or a goal.
Give Children Space
Simple, give children space to play on their own without direction. However, ignoring children or forcing them to have alone time will only create children to be more “needy.”
A child’s emotional and attachment needs must be met before they are interested in solo and imaginative play.
Show your child how to use their imagination! Read some fantasy books together or grab a stick and pretend it’s a wand.
Teach your children it’s ok and even encouraged to engage in creative play and use things in creative ways.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”
Parenting is hard. Yes, there are ways it can be easier and times it can be easier, and people who say it’s easy (are we really buying that story?), but can we just all agree parenting is hard.
If you are an attachment parent, I am pretty sure you’ve already heard “you’re just making it harder on yourself,” or some other variation of that.
First off, not cool. No one wants to hear criticisms on their parenting ESPECIALLY when you are just trying to do what feels right and what you feel is best for your baby. Yet, I don’t think this will be changing anytime soon.
An argument can be made that attachment parenting makes parenting harder, and basically, everyone (who doesn’t follow as an attachment parenting style) wants to make that argument, but it doesn’t have to. If you go about it with a few things in mind, attachment parenting can actually make parenting easier. Ya, that’s right, EASIER.
If you haven’t heard of it or are just starting to learn your options as a new or expecting mom, attachment parenting is basically an approach to parenting that aims to support your baby’s attachment to you (and possibly other caregivers) as well as meeting baby’s needs promptly (aka responsive caregiving).
This all-natural style instructs parents to be in tune with their child’s needs . . . Attachment parents . . . respond to an infant’s demands immediately and respectfully.
As an attachment parent myself, as well as a parenting coach, I decided to share my tips on making attachment parenting easy!
1. Follow Your Gut
Stick to what feels right. Do not let people push you around or guilt you into thinking you are doing the wrong thing for your little one. As long as you love and are connected to your little ones, your gut will know what’s right for them. Mom instincts are real and you should trust them.
2. Stay Connected But Promote Confidence
It is great and a part of attachment parenting to be responsive and available to your little one. I have found a lot of parents get confused on how to both be attached and responsive but also promote confidence and independence in your child.
The key is to maintain your responsiveness but encourage them to problem solve and engage with the world on their own with you as their safe base. Contrary to common belief, attachment parenting actually promotes independence as children feel safe to explore when they have a secure attachment.
3. Surround Yourself With Like Minded Mamas
Friendships and like-minded individuals are more necessary than ever, especially if you are a stay at home parent. It is important to connect with others who share your view on parenting because attachment parenting is not a mainstream form of parenting, so you may feel criticized or like you are going against the grain often. Having mamas with these similar experiences allows you to share your real experience of motherhood without feeling judged and also connect on a deeper level.
4. Self Care & More Self Care
I have always been bad at self care. I love being productive and doing things for others, so it has never been my strong suit, but becoming a mom has made me realize how important self care is. I now practice self care more than ever because it truly makes me a better mom.
Self care can look any way you want it to, but make sure you are taking time for yourself. As an attachment parent, we put our child’s needs first, but don’t forget your child needs a calm and collected parent as well. Also, practicing self care will be a great life-long example to your child on how to care for themselves.
My self care includes solo coffee shop time or with a close friend, bubble baths, going on a run or hitting the gym. Part of attachment parenting is having a small circle of care for your child.
If you do not have a present partner, try to find a family member or occasional nanny who is supportive of attachment parenting and can step in occasionally so you can get some time for yourself as well. Although we exclusively breastfed, we made solo mom time possible by dad being close by at a park or on a walk so we could still feed on demand when needed.
5. Find Relevant Resources
Find resources for attachment parenting. Stick to resources for parenting that you know will be kind and friendly to your parenting style.
As an attachment parent, you can’t pick up any random parenting book and expect it to work for you, in fact a lot of parenting books make suggestions contrary to current research and attachment style parenting. Ask experienced attachment parents or find groups on Facebook. I also love these resources!