Have you ever found there to be a gap between how you thought you would raise your kids and how you are actually raising them? We all have grand ideas of what great parents we will be to our imaginary children before they are actually born. Then the reality of responsibility and, oh yes, individual personality sets in. Things we always thought we would do as parents become secondary to doing laundry, potty training, and cleaning up breakfast before dinner time. I will never be the perfect parent of my dreams, but I also do not want to settle for less than I could be. I want to challenge myself every day to reach some of those expectations I have for myself.
This idea really hit me when I was touring a local Waldorf school. I loved the classroom, the kitchen, the toys, the story area. The way the teacher described their typical day was…exactly how I have wanted my days at home to look like. I left there wishing we could find a way to afford for our kids to go there when suddenly it hit me: I COULD do many of the things they do there in my own home. The beautiful Waldorf classroom might not be feasible for my family, but why couldn’t I use their example to make some changes to our home?
These are the primary things that struck me in the classroom that I wanted to implement at home:
- Involving children in meal preparation. I baked with my kids every few days, but they typically did not have ownership over their meals. That is changing. I now try to give my kids every opportunity to prepare meals with me. The first thing we started doing was making individual granola recipes. I usually use my base granola recipe (will post tomorrow) and H & E add whatever ingredients they want! They LOVE it and are always to proud to tell their daddy what they have created that day.
- Decluttering. I mean everything. This process actually started about half a year ago after reading Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’ll write more about this later. But lately my decluttering has focused on toys. I have easily moved about four bins worth of toys to our basement. In the next few weeks I will be taking note of what my kids miss and actually want to play with, and the rest will be going away. Waldorf classrooms do not have plastic toys, so, as much as possible, I have gotten rid of our plastic things. (I do think there are some great plastic toys out there) So far, no one has noticed at all.
- Playing outside. We go outside every day unless it’s more than 10 or 15 below zero. That’s it.
This is what I’m focusing on right now. This blog has a more extensive list if you are feeling inspired to make your home more friendly to creative play. I am excited about the progress I have already made. This is the parent I want to be and this is now the parent I AM.