In no particular order here are the things that I find very important at being CC with older children (and I should caveat all of this by saying I'm not actually *trying* to be CC or follow any specific parenting program, but I find an affinity between some of the points in CC and a general desire on my and dh's part to better connect our kids with the natural experiences and environments that have promoted healthy growth and development for millenia):
1.) Let kids be in nature as much as possible. REAL nature... not manufactured nature like zoos or plastic playgrounds, but nature walks, streams, hikes, woods, lying on the grass looking at the sky, digging in the mud, etc etc.
2.) ZERO video games.
3.) Minimum TV. We do let the kids watch TV now (they didn't until they were 4 1/2) and we very much enjoy things like Movie Night. In fact, some movies (dare I say this, lol) such as "Swiss Family Robinson" are extremely interesting to my kids. No ads ever.
4.) Very careful about books. We read a lot of books, but I am really careful about what messages the books are sending. I look for books that include nature, are about exploration, provide reinforcing messages about how to treat people, etc.
5.) Foster sense of personal responsibility for our home/garden and for our community. We don't do allowance, for example, and my kids are never paid for doing chores around the house. They pitch in and help out when needed, and there are also specific things ("chores", but we don't call them that) that they have to take care of each day. In terms of community, little things like while walking down the street if we see trash, we pick it up, to big things like volunteering for charity.
6.) Maintaining a garden. The kids help out with ALL yardwork, as a matter of course, almost daily. We also have a vegetable garden this year which has been more of a learning tool than I ever could have imagined, and beyond that they seem to have a real pride in providing for our family.
7.) Down with commercialism and consumer culture. No characters, no brand consciousness. This doesn't mean they're not aware of what things cost... they are (and IMO should be). But they don't perceive clothes from X store to be better than
clothes from Y store, and certainly not that it confers any value onto them as people to wear A brand or B style. But we DO talk about things like, hmmm, this dress from Hanna Andersson is $39... let's see, that is about how much money we spend each month on milk or electricity to run the lights. We look at other options or we buy the dress but ask her to take care of it. It's not about guilt, it's about understanding that money doesn't grow on trees for ANYONE and just because we want something doesn't mean we run right out and buy it.
8.) Cooking with us / visiting farms / local food movement. Our kids know why we don't eat bananas in July. They know why we don't buy apples from Chile. They come with us to local farms to pick fruit and veggies, and select our meat, eggs, etc. They cook with us and come with me to the grocery store even though, sure it would be easier for me to go myself. I think there's a big tie in with appreciating where food comes from and what real foods is.
The one area where, if I had to do it all over again (lol) I would change is the toys. I think because our first were twins and the first grandchildren for some of their grandparents, they got pretty impressively spoiled. We have a lot of toys. Now we have never done blinking light/character plastic stuff, but still... a lot of toys are a lot of toys even if it's Haba and Magic Cabin and Playmobil and wood etc. I think the issue is almost more the fact that they're TOYS as oppsoed to what they're made out of -- does that make sense or do you all think I'm crazy, lol?? I mean, we have a playroom. It's filled with toys. I am really good about going through it with the kids and filling boxes to donate, but still... we have a room in our house devoted to.... to.... things.
Wouldn't do that one over again if I could. I still fantastize about sneaking in there and packing up everything except the most beloved toys. And compared to a lot of other people, we have few toys (and of course compared to many people, we have so much - not trying to sound ungrateful at all
it's not that it's just when I think about what my kids actually get enjoyment out of it's a.) doing something (esp. a project) with us, and b.) being outside. And books. Hmm.... writing all this out is making me think with the start of school, I need to rethink the toy thing and how we handle it in our home.
ramble on. Just the questions about how to do this with older kids is near and dear to my heart since I technically only have older kids now (3 y.o. and two 6 y.o.'s).
: to read others' ideas on this.