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<p>DD is a year old.  I'm very drawn to many aspects of Waldorf although we will never be a full Waldorf family because I have major reservations about the religious underpinnings of Waldorf.  We're Christians and I don't believe that Waldorf spirituality is compatible with how we practice our faith.  I'd considered sending DD to the local Waldorf school but will likely choose a Montessori school instead.  But I am trying to incorporate many Waldorf ideas in our home. </p>
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<p>But it seems nearly impossible to really do Waldorf and still interact with non-Waldorf people.  For example, DD just had her birthday and some of our family asked for suggestions for gifts.  I picked out some nice wooden toys.  DD only got one of these toys and also received a bunch of plastic toys.  How do you say "thanks but no thanks" and then give away the gifts that someone choose out of love for my DD?  And to make matters worse, DD seems to love playing with these toys. </p>
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<p>We just spent the holiday with family.  The TV was on the entire time we were there.  I feel like when I am a guest in someone's home that I can't ask them to turn off their TV.  So what's the solution - never leave our house?   </p>
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<p>How do you really do Waldorf and still have relationships with other people who aren't Waldorf? </p>
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<p>we are not a waldorf family, but our montessori school has similar "toy" values as they do.  We also very much limit tv viewing at our house, not by rules, but simply because the children need to specifically ask what they want to watch and we always say yes.  that being said, they havent asked to watch a thing for over a week, and this is pretty normal here.  As for as visiting, children always know that there are different rules in different houses....so just because tv is the center of a family's house, they can enjoy that family experience, but they will quickly know that its not the norm in your own house, and thats ok.  no family has the same climate, and diversity in pasttimes is not necessarily bad for children to see.  the thing is, you want to establish a norm in your own household...hardly means blinding an eye towards the rest of the world.  go for 90%, and you should find a happy balance.  because whatever you think you want, your child WILL know who elmo is from even other waldorf children (as they also have relatives who gift mainstream toys!).</p>
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<p>our M school is very anti-plastic, and i think you will find that true of many M schools.  </p>
 

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<p>First of all, we don't <em>really</em> have a Waldorf home and probably never will. We find what works for us and that's that.Since they don't outright teach anthroposophy to the children, it helps me feel at ease. I have observed and questioned people/families at our local Waldorf school enough that I feel comfortable with what they teach, and I know that the so-called religious aspects are no worse nor severe than what DD would get from public school experiences (or some other private schools). I try to answer DD's questions and guide her at home as much as possible. We're very open about explaining that different people believe different things and that you have to choose what feels right for you.</p>
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<p>Professionally, I come from a more mainstream early childhood background, but they teach very, very little Montessori or Waldorf info in most colleges. I had to learn on my own by reading, researching, and visiting different schools. I was considering Montessori for DD's Kindergarten year, but I decided on a Waldorf home nursery, because it fits her personality etc better. There are some big differences between the two philosophies that also swayed me, with the big one being no dramatic play in "real" Montessori programs. That being said...</p>
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<p>It has been very hard for us to deal with family having TV on a lot. DD is so used to it now, that she can play in the room and not pay attention to it at all. BUT I'm sure she's still hearing some of it, so I wouldn't allow her to be in the room with just anything on TV. It's usually something like Food Network or HGTV etc. I absolutely don't allow her to watch those teeny bopper shows on Disney etc or cartoons, and I am convinced that's why her cousins can't play or use free imagination. DH has seen my point of view over the past couple of years and was helpful in talking to his parents about limiting what TV DD is exposed to at their house. Anyway...</p>
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<p>For toys, we've weeded out most all plastic now and just ask family and friends to do the same. If something slips through the cracks, we evaluate its open-endedness and usefulness before passing it along, selling, or donating it. Most of the time, the plastic stuff only gets played with a few times before it ends up forgotten anyway.</p>
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<p>Is this helping at all?</p>
 

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Frankly, I don't think anyone is totally Waldorf. Even the most Waldorfy types. People do the parts that work for them. So you might like the no-TV aspect and he wooden toys, but as a Christian, you'd take a pass on telling your kids gnomes are real. This is very common. There is nothing about any of this that forbids you from interacting with non-Waldorf people (i.e. the rest of the world). You'd be doing your child a disservice if you did that, sending the message that WE are better than THOSE people. Which is not the way you want your kid thinging. Of course you leave your house.<br><br>
For me, we don't have a TV. But when we're at the in-laws, the kids watch it. I let it go. We don't see them very often and I'm not going to make a big deal of it. The important thing to me is that in my home there isn't one. My kids know that this is one of our values. It's what goes on in the home that makes the lasting impact (speaking as someone raised without TV herself). As for toys, no need to discard what was given in love, unless it's really against your value system (for me, that would be a gun or a Barbie). Plastic is not the devil. Some plastic toys are terrific (like Legos) and foster imaginative play wonderfully.
 

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<p>My dh has extended family who are deeply, deeply involved in Waldorf education - his aunt and uncle helped start a Waldorf school and are both Waldorf teachers.  His aunt is currently teaching 6th grade to her 5th Waldorf class.  I cannot imagine a family more deeply steeped in the arts-and-crafts, gnomes-and-fairies, nitty-gritty of Waldorf. </p>
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<p>These people's children (one of whom is now training to become a Waldorf teacher) played with plastic toys.  They have given my children plastic toys (and also lovely home-made toys, and once a titanium spork, which, btw, was the best imaginable present for my particular child at that particular time).  Just because plastic wasn't available to the children of the Austrian cigarette factory workers who Steiner first worked with back in the early 20th century doesn't mean that everyone has to avoid it now.  Furthermore, these days wood is usually pricey and plastic is usually not.  Even without the issue of cost, it almost never works to tell family members what to give your child.</p>
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<p>If a gift is given with love, you should thank the giver and let your child play with it.  As she grows, she will treasure the relationship with the giver as much as the toy itself.  In my house sometimes batteries just kind of accidentally fall out of things when I wander the house with a screwdriver after the kids are in bed.  You can limit the number of gifts your dd gets by limiting the size of celebrations, but it's practically impossible to control other people's gift-giving behavior.  They regard their deviations from your preferences as a sign of love and thoughtfulness.  Gratitude is an important value and accepting gifts is a good way to learn it. </p>
 

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<p>I'm having a tough time with gifts, too. But I wanted to chime in that you don't have to follow any phylosophy 100 percent! Like, many Mothering.com members do some type of 'gentle' parenting, but some of us do time-outs, we're all allowed!</p>
 

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<p>You've had some great responses!  I just wanted to pop in and share a conversation I had recently with a Waldorf mom of an older girl.  She was so refreshing because she had been through the intense OMG everything must be home-made and the right color and the right size candle, etc etc when her daughter was younger.  She is able to laugh about it now.  Her further reading has shown her pretty much what these mamas have said to you already!  Reality vs. the Waldorf-ier-than-thou trend you might see at some of the schools by very enthusiastic new parents.  She said that a major turning point was when she met with a Waldorf educator she really respected and was surprised enough to see store-bought cookies being served that she said something about it!  (Food was her big thing at the time.)  The teacher laughed and they talked about moderation and doing what works for your own family dynamic. </p>
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<p>Even the beautiful Waldorf blogs you see, occaisionally they all do a post showing their reality.  The blogs are very inspirational, and on a personal level, it's lovely to capture the beautiful moments of your day.  But when my favorite blogging mamas admit that their kids throw tantrums, and that they don't always wash the dishes and make the beds with lovely antique quilts and dress their beautiful children is cute home-made clothes...it makes me feel better.  It's easier to strive for moments of perfection than all day every day!</p>
 

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<p>We are Waldorf & Christian, too :)  I am able to turn most of it back towards God, esp all the little songs and things.  It makes our home more calm and centered.  We are also big into the environment, so Waldorf AND Christianity both help w/ that b/c it is God's creation & we are supposed to care for it, not do w/ it whatever we want.  God made the home and family, it is our job to work at it and respect it and love it, etc etc.  No, we do not believe in the incarnating child, but we do believe in protecting childhood innocence.  They really do mesh together quite well.</p>
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<p>Some toys go straight to the attic to be given away.  Some toys get played w/ for a while until they get boring or too frustrating.  Then, up to the attic :)  I got over the guilt b/c it is my house and I can do whatever I want.</p>
 

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We've just very recently gotten into Waldorf and my DS is almost 8.<br><br>
We were always drawn to wooden toys, even when DS was a baby and, basically, had Waldorf-y leanings but, for various reasons only recently sent our DS to a Waldorf school (which he *loves* btw! <img alt="thumb.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif">)<br><br>
I was actually a bit worried about how we as a family would deal with the other families at the school, and if we'd be ostracized for our legos and the fact that we have a tv, etc. Not at all the case. In fact, most of the parents seem like us . .. . people who try to limit plastic, try to limit screen time, try to go home-made and natural, but who certainly can't do it all, all the time. Everyone seems very relaxed and seems to incorporate what they can into the reality of their lives. Now granted, it's clear this is an awesome school with fabulous parents! <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"> *but* I think most Waldorf families have had to find some way to live in the "real world" and have their kids interact with non-Waldorf kids.<br><br>
for me, it's been basically like my own parenting journey . . . I started out with tons of ideals . . . Ideals I still hold. And then the reality of who I am as a person, who DS is, who DH is, and what our lives are at any given moment made itself known. So cloth diapers got exchanged for recycled disposables. 100% home-made organic baby food was sometimes replaced by organic jarred baby food . . or even not so healthy food, in general! No plastic toys at all got replaced by, "Whatever will keep him happy and me sane.". No screen time got replaced by DVDs so I could drowse and catch up on much-needed sleep. And so forth.<br><br>
Of course, there will always be holier-than-thou people espousing various philosophies. But that attitude says a lot about *them*, not about you and your life and not about others who may go to that kind of school, follow that philosophy, etc.
 

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<p>Quote:</p>
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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>dogretro</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282184/waldorf-in-the-real-world#post_16081292"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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I got over the guilt b/c it is my house and I can do whatever I want.</div>
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<p><span><img alt="yeahthat.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/yeahthat.gif"></span><br>
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<p>We have had our DD in a Waldorf preschool for the past two years and cannot say enough about our experience and hers.  Initially I had some of the same reservations, because we are not religious.  However, we came to feel that the parts of Waldorf and the families we encountered were so inline with the way we lived our lives, that it was worth it.  I decided that I would send my DD to a school of varying Christian faiths if it was a good school or a better school than our public option.  I was raised Catholic and went on and off to Catholic schools, so do not see them in a negative light.  I felt Waldorf was the same for me- to send my child to a school that might be faith based in a different way than we are, but in the end would provide her with a wonderful experience.  </p>
<p>I love that she has not had a bombardment of media images and the branding that has become of any and all childhood characters.  I love that she goes on playdates and isn't watching movies or playing with Barbies.  And I love that the families we met were so compatible with our life and parenting choices, they instantly became friends.</p>
<p>With that said, we also made a very clear statement to our family and close friends that presents in the form of plastic toys, toys that light up and make noise, disney figures.... would in some way and at some point disappear from our home.  Everyone has for the most part been very respectful of this.  And those toys that we don't deem appropriate do leave our home and DD pretty much never notices.  Her wooden animals or Waldorf baby doll, she would notice in an instant.  They are really the toys that have withstood the test of time and the ones that she is the most attached to in a long term kind of way.  The others have appeal for a short amount of time and then are not missed when they are gone.</p>
<p>I too have struggled with the TV thing and have come to the conclusion that it is something we just can't avoid entirely.   Watching a movie with cousins or watching the news with my dad won't hurt her.  Because our home and her life is primarily void of that it is not something that she desires or expects and in the end we are getting what we want- a life for her that is primarily media and TV free.  Getting a bit of it here and there is okay.  It allows her to know what it is all about and hopefully will make it not something she feels deprived of in the long run.</p>
<p>And lastly, I am not sure where you are located.  My experience on the West Coast has been that the Waldorf schools are actually very toned down and mild with the religious aspect of their programs.  So, all of my worry was really for nothing.  </p>
 

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<br><div class="quote-container">
<div class="quote-block">.<br>
for me, it's been basically like my own parenting journey . . . I started out with tons of ideals . . . Ideals I still hold. And then the reality of who I am as a person, who DS is, who DH is, and what our lives are at any given moment made itself known. So cloth diapers got exchanged for recycled disposables. 100% home-made organic baby food was sometimes replaced by organic jarred baby food . . or even not so healthy food, in general! No plastic toys at all got replaced by, "Whatever will keep him happy and me sane.". No screen time got replaced by DVDs so I could drowse and catch up on much-needed sleep. And so forth.<br><br>
Of course, there will always be holier-than-thou people espousing various philosophies. But that attitude says a lot about *them*, not about you and your life and not about others who may go to that kind of school, follow that philosophy, etc.</div>
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<p>Thank you for that. I have been stressing about how I `can`t do waldorf`` after I had read so many books and fallen in love with the idea...then my highneeds babe grew mobile,her reflux got worse, my ppd went haywire, my mat leave money ran out and suddenly dd was wearing pink, `busy`` and sometimes polyester clothes, pampers at night after ecìng and cdìng, going in a stroller, eating jarred (organic) babyfpood, plastic toys(along with homemade felt and wooden ones), and drugs. yet in my heart we are still waldorf, still have our rhythm and songs...but yeah....this is an awesome thread, thanks!<br><br>
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<p>Quote:</p>
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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>doulawoman</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282184/waldorf-in-the-real-world#post_16085868"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
I have been stressing about how I `can`t do waldorf`` after I had read so many books and fallen in love with the idea...<br><p> </p>
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<p>I can't say I've ever really stressed over it, but I know that with DH we would never fully be Waldorf anyway. We also have had circumstances that have prevented or hindered us with DD being a 29 weeker and all that.</p>
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<p>I personally think the important ideas to take from Waldorf are those 3 R's. Having a rhythm, practical and creative activities, seasonal celebration, incorporating natural materials, sensory integration & movement, and nurturing imagination are all simple things we can do. Although looking at these things outside the context of Waldorf, they seem to be applicable to any educational philosophy/lifestyle yet we link them to Waldorf only (or mostly). The more anthroposophical aspects don't work for everyone, and a little Waldorf is better than none! <span><img alt="winky.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/winky.gif"></span></p>
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<p><br>
I loved this:</p>
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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>RollerCoasterMama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282184/waldorf-in-the-real-world#post_16079575"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a>
<p> It's easier to strive for moments of perfection than all day every day!</p>
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The stress of striving all day every day would make me most unpleasant to live with!</p>
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<p>I have to say, being brought up by parents heavily involved in the anthroposophical movement, and being educated at a Steiner school and coming later as a mum myself to realise a large part of the approach to early childhood and education resonates strongly with me, I find the expressions "Waldorf home, Waldorf family, doing Waldorf, etc." at worst a little irritating but at best I think actually rather amusing, please no disrespect intended (but for goodness sake, it's not a brand). Sorry, just had to get it out of my system.</p>
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<p>Look, it's your home, it's your family. You make the choices.</p>
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<p>Sometimes I try to imagine what a 100% "Waldorf home" might be like and then give up - we're all human, I can't imagine someone might be 100% "Waldorf", but if they are, I either take my hat off to them for standing by their ideals and being amazingly creative and strong, or I scratch my head and wonder if perhaps there's an element of fanatacism here which is not healthy. I'm sure most of us would really admire someone for sticking by their ideals, and to some extent most people in "mainstream" society would too, even if they thought it madness.</p>
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<p>When you enter someone's home you usually get a bit of a feel for how "Waldorf" they are (or not), though just remember appearances are not everything. And it is interesting just how diverse people can be in how they draw on Steiner's ideas/the Waldorf approach. I'm just reflecting on my experience here, I don't know if it's helpful, but for me the key thing here is diversity and choice.</p>
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<p>Isn't it wonderful we live in a world where we can choose these things for ourselves. We can choose to watch TV or not - we can choose to say to relatives, we don't watch much TV at home, I think DS has had enough TV for the day so we might pop out for a walk now - or just read/tell a story. Or not. I drew the line at more than 1 hour a day and not watching TV whilst eating. (stayed with relatives for a month). But that's my personal preference. I like the idea of telling close friends and family about gifts that might disappear some time after - I have found the rainy day box to be a most convenient deposit of toys which don't fit into what we like the children to have - they get played with for a while then get put into the rainy day box to be brought out on "special" occasions (sickness, after days of rain, etc.). Sometimes they are asked for nicely, in which case they might get an airing for a morning and then go back. We can choose to do this - or not. And no-one can dictate to us in our own home - ah, the freedom.</p>
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<p>With freedom comes responsibility. Isn't it a little scary that the choices we do make can have a real impact on our children's development and their memories of childhood - and we're often wondering, was that the right choice? I often wonder that, for example my 15 month old is at family daycare two days a week now since I was recently in hospital. I havn't been able to find someone who offers a Steiner inspired service. But I'm so grateful that he is with a caring Mum who has been able to bond so well with him. For me I place value on relationships at that age over the environment he's in. Another example: I made a decision to ban a book which was given with Disney versions of fairy tales - For me, it is so important that my child's memories of the stories are built around his own imagination. So this book ... is for later.</p>
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<p>Anyway, back to the original topic, yes it is possible to take ideas inspired by Steiner to nourish your family - but take others as well, if they suit you. Your family is your family, it doesn't belong to "Waldorf". I'm sure Steiner regularly rolls in his grave with the dogmatism that has developed in the Waldorf world. My parents brought me up to feel free to choose, and this is perhaps one of the things I'm most grateful to Dr Steiner for.</p>
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<p>Finally, good on you for trying to work this out - I'm sure you'll find the path that is right for you. You might find yourself slowly incorporating some of the ideas - I'm sure you can easily incorporate many of the ideas without challenging your faith.</p>
 

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Fabulous post lyrebird. Thanks for that!<img alt="thumb.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif">
 
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