What can I do to incorporate some Waldorf concepts into our home, even though the only option for DS (4.5yo) at this point is a mainstream, albeit warm and nurturing, preschool?
I feel really overwhelmed by all the reading I have to do in addition to working and parenting, so I hope that some of you have some great little tips for kids this age. Specifically, I am curious how behavioral problems and discipline are handled in the Waldorf home or school. I want to create a calm, soothing environment for an extremely reactive and kinetic boy, which is challenging when you work full time and he's either with a family-member or a day care provider (and now school). It's not that I don't recognize how difficult this situation must be for someone like my son, it's just that I have no other choice right now, so I just need some advice and inspiration.
Has anyone else been able to bring a little more Waldorf into their rather mainstream life?
Subbing to this b/c I'd like to know, too!
Joyful Toddlers is a helpful website, written by a Lifeways educator. I also enjoy the Parenting Passageway blog. Let's see. . . here at our house, we:
Do a seasonal table, collecting bits of nature and bringing them inside to enjoy
Have a needle-felted sign to mark day and night
Try to minimize TV time to allow for free play
Welcome our children in house and yard work--cooking, cleaning, gardening
Stick to stories that are calm and simple
Avoid branded clothing and toys
Try to be home-centered
Observe breathing in and out periods (alternating active times with more internal times) over the day
I could suggest a number of books, but if your schedule is already full, these are a good place to start. Simplicity Parenting has a blog (and the book, of course) that talks about creating a calm home and family life. It's a great read.
I think the best thing is to allow plenty of TV-free downtime at home. Let him have lots of time to just play and use his imagination. Also, allowing him to help out with things is good too. For example, I have a small broom and dust pan that I let my 2 year old use to clean the floor as well as a spray bottle of water and a cloth so she can clean our sliding door, etc. It usually makes a bigger mess, but she learns a lot from it and it really gives her a sense of pride and purpose while I am trying to get things done around the house. Having a rhythm is great too. Something he can count on each day. You could incorporate this with your meals (Monday is soup, Tuesday is Mexican, etc) or activities (Friday is family game or movie night, Saturday is grocery store day, etc).
As far as discipline, I would check out websites on gentle/positive discipline.
It is definitely possible to have a Waldorf-inspired home while living a mainstream life. I think you will find small changes like this very helpful for any behavior issues you are having with your son. If you ever have the chance to read any book for inspiration, I think Simplicity Parenting would be helpful to you. As the previous poster said, there is also a blog too.
ITA, I would start with as little TV (and media-charactered "things") as possible, add to that as little of the typical recorded children's music, and as a PPer said add a rhythm to your days and your weeks. Top that off with more natural materials than not, and keeping things simple (less is more).
As for discipline, I see them spend time trying to figure out why the child is behaving that way, or what they are trying to say (in the event of the youngers) and address it or put words to it.
As for living ideas...
Sounds like you're maxed out in reading, but a few I like:
Love this one, not so much waldorf as simple mothering (not as religious as it sounds ;)):
This one seems geared towards those attending a school, but I enjoy it and it goes beyond just a 'what to expect' type of book:
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