I heart Jennifer quite a bit. As a fellow Natural Parents Network mama I have been honored to become her friend. She is truly an inspiration when it comes to natural parenting! One of my most favorite resources from Jennifer is her research on coconut oil. If you have an iota of question about how awesome coconut oil is, just take a peek at Jennifer's 160 Uses for Coconut Oil. I also swoon over her Babywearing Around the World post.
Here's Jennifer's lil' biography ...
Jennifer, author of Hybrid Rasta Mama, is a former government recruiter turned stay-at-home mama to a precious daughter (“Tiny”) brought earthside in early 2009. She is passionate about conscious parenting, natural living, holistic health/wellness, real foods, and a Waldorf inspired approach to education. Jennifer is committed to breastfeeding (especially extended breastfeeding), bed-sharing, cloth diapering, green living, babywearing, peaceful parenting, playful parenting, and getting children outside. She is a hybrid parent, taking a little of this, throwing in a little of that, and blending it all together to create a parenting style that is centered on what her daughter needs in order to flourish as a human being. Jennifer also lives and breathes reggae music, the Rastafarian culture and way of life. Reggae music and its message touches her soul.
- - - - -Through trial and error, research, and lots and lots of observation, I have found the following to be the top ten ways in which I am able to have a harmonious home with and peacefully parent an active three year old using natural parenting methods.
- A daily rhythm is a key component to a harmonious day! Strive towards having a consistent ebb and flow of events and activities each day. Have consistent naptimes and bedtimes for your children and maintain a routine around each of these that is the same day in and day out. Children like to know what comes next and maintaining the same naptime and bedtime routines will help ease your children into sleep. In addition, it is important that the body comes to expect sleep at the same time every day. It will naturally relax as sleep times near, allowing your children to begin their journey into dreamland. Have consistent mealtimes and much like sleep times, maintain a consistent routine around mealtimes. The stomach releases digestive juices approximately ½ hour before each meal, provided meals are at the same time each day. By allowing the digestive juices to be released at the same time every day, your children will be hungry making it easier to pry them away from whatever activity they were engaged in. They will also have an easier time digesting their foods which is beneficial to their overall health and energy level.
- Get your children outside EVERY day, rain, snow, wind, or sun! Children need fresh air, they need room to run and the opportunity to get loud. A child stuck indoors all day will undoubtedly be more difficult to parent as the day wears on and boredom and pent up energy sets in.
- Let your child get dirty! Children must explore nature in all of its dirty splendor in order to develop a healthy appreciation for mother earth. In addition, children must be allowed free rein to get dirty while creating works of art whether it be through painting, coloring, or playing with playdough. Restricting children to activities that keep them clean is selfish on the parents’ part and detrimental to healthy development.
- Balance periods of high energy activities with quite moments of down time. Children need opportunities to breathe in and breathe out. Make sure that they are getting these. Follow a busy hour outside with a peaceful story in your lap. Follow naptime with a snack and then some vigorous play to help get the newfound energy out!
- Create a manageable list of daily tasks that you can involve your children in (if they so choose). Pick one room a day to spot clean and afford your children the opportunity to help at whatever level is appropriate for their age. Spot clean the same room on the same day of the week so your child(ren) come to know the routine.
- Avoid having communication breakdowns and failures with your significant other in front of your children. Save adult conversations and heated debates for a more appropriate time. Children are only harmed by their parents’ inability to communicate respectfully with each other.
- Allow your children to be their age. Do not discipline them for doing things that are simply par for the developmental course. Instead, model the behavior you would like to see from them on a consistent basis.
- Do not go more than 20 minutes at a time without engaging your child. I’m not suggesting that you disrupt an intensive game of imaginary dragon slaying, however, as mothers go about their busy to-do list, we must be mindful that our children still need to know that we are there if they need us. So give a quick kiss, a little tickle, a short snuggle or just say a few words. For the toddler set, you may need to do more than stop by with a quick hello.
- Be prepared for your typical routine and rhythm to be disrupted at any given moment. Tackle the unexpected challenge with a smile on your face and a calm demeanor. Model joy for your children so that they come to appreciate the little curves life throws our way.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff and make mountains out of molehills. Keep your reactions balanced with the action that occurred. A spilled drink hardly warrants any emotion. Simply tell your children that “WE” both need to clean up the mess and that “WE” will try to walk more slowly while carrying a drink next time. Share responsibility for your children’s normal mishaps. Save big reactions and stern “no’s” for events like touching a hot stove and running into the street.
I hope this list helps guide you to a more harmonious daily home life with your young children. Take steps now to help create the best daily environment to peacefully and lovingly parent your children!
Blessings On Your Journey!