YOUR CHILDREN’S ENVIRONMENT – just notice……..
How do surroundings support our children to be all that they can be; the space, arrangement, colors, smells, sounds, how things affect children, the importance of rhythm in daily lives, toys and so on.
SPACE: The home environment. Orderliness. The general feel. What are you first met with when you enter the space? Children are, as are we adults, deeply nourished or depleted by our surroundings. It is healthy practice to take note of all aspects of our surroundings and the general feel. What are your first impressions going into a room or house. Beautiful environments provide food for the soul. Are you and your child’s belongings in good repair? Well organized, clean., loved? Does your child have a million toys of every description, or a few well chosen toys. Children just don’t need “stuff” – this is learned, through example perhaps?
SOUNDS: What are the sounds like? Stop and listen to what is around you and yours. What are we putting into our children’s space? What sounds surround your child? Are they calm, warming, loving sounds or the constant sound of the car radio, TV, non-stop music playing anywhere, movies, video games, electronic toys, battery operated this and that’s, machines, or any other noise? Just notice. How lovely for our littles to be playing with the sound of mother or father humming or singing, or playing their musical instrument (not imagining drums, or an electric guitar here!), or simply working on a project in the house or garden. (Not imagining computer here either – there has to be more for our children to model – don’t you think? What are we modeling for our children? As they learn through imitation for the first several years – what are we offering them that is worthy of imitation?)
SMELLS: Our sense of smell is our own personal smoke detector. Smell and emotions. We are becoming increasingly aware of environmental offenders, I am sure. The detergent, hand soap, lotions, bath products, shampoos and everything else we use to clean ourselves, our children and our homes, cars and belongings. Are we sure we know what those smells are that we are surrounding our little lovelies with? Smell registers in the same place in the brain as do emotions, and little ones tend to be sensitive in general. Do we really need our clothes to smell of something-or-other-who-knows-what? Have you tried putting a few drops of lavender essential oil on a cloth in the dryer? We often use a combination of lemon, lavender and rosemary as a natural disinfectant.
COLORS: Look around – what do you see? The colors of toys – the need to “stimulate” ……..Colors can be so therapeutic or so over stimulating. How do plastic, bright colored toys feel in your hands? The more space we allow the child to fill with their own imaginings, the more we support their imagination and healthy development.
RHYTHM: Rhythm strengthens will. Having a specific rhythm to the day enables the little one to relax into being a child. S/he does not need to wonder when it will be time to eat. S/he can just be attentive to the job of being little. We tend to give our children so many choices and so much say in the every day workings. It is so much simpler to have a rhythm of the day in place, which presents fewer and fewer possibilities for resistance. They don’t really want to be little adults……….it is our job to be the adult. They do learn through imitation, remember.
TOYS: What is the purpose? Toys that engage their imagination. As children, until roughly the age of 7 learn through imitation, what is it that we are surrounding them with, that is worthy of imitation? Is the way we carry ourselves, speak, eat, play, work…………what is it that we are teaching through imitation. Why do we have toys for our children – what is the purpose of each – it is not just to entertain them is it? We want our children to explore their environment and learn through healthy participation. Be aware of how much stimulation you are providing your children with. Do we really want super brainy babies? What ever happened to being a baby, and growing as you are ready? Does a generation of “heads on sticks” mean anything? Be interested and curious in your little one – watch, and take things slowly.