Parenting the Whole Child
A child's Waldorf education is best supported by a Waldorf-inspired home life. Winterberry is honored to be walking this wholesome path with families who desire a more intentional way.
Based on the work of family counselor and researcher Kim John Payne, “Simplicity Parenting” offers a guide to simplify four realms at home to reduce stress and foster connection, creativity, and relaxation. These four realms for simplifying are:
- Environment: De-clutter excess stuff at home.
- Rhythm: Increase predictability by introducing rhythmic moments for connection and calm.
- Scheduling: Soothing schedules bring moments for “being” into all the “doing.”
- Unplugging: Reduce the influence of adult concerns, media and consumerism on children and families to increase resilience, social and emotional intelligence.
For those who want to slow their children’s lives down but don’t know where to start, Simplicity Parenting offers both inspiration and a blueprint for change. It serves as a guide for parents to simplify homes and schedules, introduce more predictable rhythms and filter out adult concerns which children are not yet able to cope with. According to author Kim John Payne, parents find that their children are calmer and happier, do better socially and emotionally, are more focused at school and find it easier to comply. The practice also brings into focus a clearer picture of parent values, cohesion, more time and energy for connection, relaxation, and fun.
Children need nutritious food with enough vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, protein and fat to fuel their school day. When preparing food for your student’s school day, store your snacks and lunch in reusable lunchboxes, bags and containers free of media designs or advertising. Select whole, unprocessed foods to limit added sugars and salts. Consult the Mayo Clinic (Nutrition for Kids: Guidelines for a Healthy Diet) to learn more about the nutritional ratios and servings for children at different stages of physical development.
Generally, children learn best during the first part of the day. To support this rhythm, make healthy sleep a family priority and determine a bedtime and a routine that allows children to wake with ease and arrive at school on time. Most grade-school children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Be physically active during the day and create a home environment with safe, simple, quiet bedrooms for sleep, not play. Turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime to wind down and give children the rest they need.
Similar to food guidelines designed to keep our bodies healthy, Dr. Dan Siegel’s Healthy Mind Platter is a great reminder of the simple things adults and children need each day to stay mentally healthy. These seven daily essential activities optimize brain matter and create well-being. These are the “mental nutrients” your brain and relationships need to function at their best – to integrate internally and connect with other people and the world around you.