My son just turned five in February. We have been planning to homeschool basically since he was born, and as I have started thinking about how I want to do kindergarten with him next year, I am finding myself drawn to Waldorf. In many respects, we have been doing many Waldorf-type things - lots of time spent in nature, intentional rhythms to our days, having a minimal number of quality toys, minimal screen time, lots of play time and arts and crafts vs. working on academic things, etc. But where I feel DH and I have failed him is in providing him with too much knowledge about the world, particularly current events, and I'm feeling very regretful of that. We both felt that we should be honest with him about the way things are, but I realize now I have taken so much of the wonder of the world from him, and I've seen him over the last year become more and more anxious. After doing a lot of reading, including the book Simplicity Parenting, I really think trying to change to a more Waldorf-inspired lifestyle would be beneficial. I realize what is done is done and that I can't extract information from his brain, but I wonder if anyone has any suggestions for trying to repair as much as I can? Or do I just need to move forward with our changes?
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Undoing damage from media, etc.
Perhaps you could refrain from discussing news in front of him? There is some balance between acknowledging the world as it is and preserving the innocence of childhood. I would be concerned about the anxiety, too. Research all sides of Waldorf and see if it fits your family. We limit media, watch no news (we read it, instead) and do many of the same things you do. Let heavy subjects come in their own time and guard his heart while you can. :)
Or has anyone started Waldorf education with their children when they were a little older seen any positive changes in their child's worldview?
I tend to be a bit of an NPR junky and have really had to limit myself as my DS has become a bit more aware over the past year. It's hard, but I think worth it. One thing to think about is how you answer your son's questions. I'm pretty careful to keep answers short and simple and not give more info than is truly needed. Typically this means that I answer most questions with either "I wonder!" or "What do you think?" Not sure how your child would respond to this, but I've been amazed by the accurate but easy and simple explanations DS comes up with for himself. DH and I also let each other know when our explanations of something are getting to be too complex for DS. It's so easy to do and not always even realize we're doing it.
The other thing you might think about is using stories to help restore some of the innocence and faith that the world is basically a good place. I think telling stories and encouraging imaginative play can be extremely healing. I also might pay pretty close attention to what your child is imagining. So often, children process things in their play that they are anxious about or which they are trying to understand. Often, if something is coming up repeatedly I try telling a healing story to address the basic essence of the anxiety or whatever he's trying to process. I've found that the book Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour can be a great place to start if I'm trying to figure out a story around a specific concern.
Thank you so much for your response, UnderTheOldOakTree. I just ordered a copy of Healing Stories... It sounds great. I've been subtly shifting DS's attention to stories that are more beautiful and innocent during our reading time instead of books he might request that deal with topics that are too unkind or heavy.
And, yes, I've gone cold turkey on NPR for about the last month. I'm finally used to listening to a jazz program on the radio instead of Morning Edition while I'm making breakfast and doing morning chores. It's so obviously better for him to not hear about the difficult or terrible things going on in the world. I do need to be better about saying, "Hmmm, I wonder. What do you think," in response to his questions, and keeping answers and explanations short. That is one of my biggest challenges.
But I am already starting to see a shift in him with the changes I've made, so I feel hopeful.
Thanks for your suggestions - they are very helpful.
I am glad to hear things are improving. The Parent's Tao Te Ching is helpful for relating to children, handling the hard stuff. It's simplicity is encouraging. I, too, respond to things that make me uncomfortable in a non-committal way, like immodest dress, unkind behavior (we call it "rowdy") and sadness. We keep answers short and simple, like just a handful of words, and we try to limit judgements. It can be hard, for sure.
- Undoing damage from media, etc.
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