Sometimes it can be very challenging caring for young children, especially if you do it day in, day out.
They have this wonderful, wild free spirit that wants to do its own thing. As endearing at this is, it does not always work well for us when we need to get things done.
I allow a child’s free spirit to be wild and free as much as I can but there are times when they need reigning in. I have never been one to yell and those times I have resorted to yelling, I have always felt rotten afterwards. Instead I use a harsh, mean tone of voice, but that too makes us, me and the children, feel rotten. So I went on a mission to discover alternative ways to get young children to cooperate with me when it’s required and let them be crazy wild things the rest of the time.
Here are three tried and tested methods that will ensure young children respond favourably to your requests:
I have been working on my sh*t for years and have explored many different ways to do this. Some of them were effective and others less so. Many of them were painful and dramatic—sometimes this was necessary, many times not.
Here is a simple tool I wanted to share with others who are committed to sorting out their baggage so they can be their true selves and enjoy true freedom.
What I love about this technique is that you can do it yourself under conditions that suit you, it’s free, it’s (relatively) easy if approached with determined focus and most importantly, it’s effective.
Briefly, here is the technique. I call it Becoming the Neutral Observer:
Even though they can prove helpful long term, being in the middle of a harsh emotional/mental growth period can feel so heavy and dark. I decided a few years ago that I would no longer be a victim to myself and that I could help myself.
I decided to create a rescue kit that I would keep in a safe place in the house and only turn to when I was in a real pickle.
I was recently asked how to balance home life with homeschooling and being self-employed. I still have not got the perfect balance but over the last 8 years I have discovered a few simple tricks that really help.
Getting up very early and working while the house is quiet.
This is harder for me in the darker, colder months but I always regret it when I don't turf myself out of bed, and I am always very glad when I do. Sometimes it makes the difference to an enjoyable day where I feel like the captain of my ship, to having a day where I feel overwhelmed and cranky. I seem to get so much more done during those early hours, more than I can at any other time of the day. I feel fresh and my thinking is crystal clear.
I aim to write everything down so I am not wasting energy trying to remember everything.
I get my children to help with house work (their future partners will love me for this!) and I have a cleaning plan in place. I do a little every day so I don't have to deal with a big once a week clean (that would never happen).
We go places, twice a week where the children can go off and play safely and I can HE plan and/or work.
Other little things that help
Being organised and focused.
If I am organised and focused it works. I have a daily plan, weekly, monthly and even yearly. I sit down once a month to pad out the following month, order supplies and library books etc. Every Sunday I plan the following week and every night I plan for the following day. One thing that helps greatly is postulating that my day will go well, if I do this, it usually does.
Being able to laugh in times of pressure rather than getting bogged down.
Getting enough sleep helps immensely, it's all easier then, it all flows better.
Taking time in the morning to meditate, get grounded and focused, even doing it for 5 minutes, ensures my whole day is better, stuff gets done.
My hair and house are messier than I would like (lol) but hey, I am content and so are my children.
Sometimes my friends and acquaintances on social media lament on the current state of the world, saying how bad the situation is. The rivers and oceans are polluted, the sky gets sprayed with chemicals, we have medical systems that treat symptoms (and often create more) rather than acknowledging the whole person, we spray our food with harmful pesticides, put mercury in our mouth when we have fillings that are caused by eating too much junk, we spend too much money buying too much crap that we don't need and we have education systems that squash the creativity and curiosity out of children. To some extent I see where they are coming from. Ugh! I also see something else, a different viewpoint.
There is so much more to us than this. Maybe we are reading too much alternative media and focussing on that. There is so much going well in the world and we don't often get to hear about all of that. There are so many people creating a different way of being on the planet. There are millions that do care and truly do their best to show up. If we only focus on the negative stuff, we are only going to attract more of it into our lives and get stuck. To be a person of the 21st century, one that truly hopes to make a difference in this crazy world we need to push aside all that negative news and information (even the 'alternative' stuff). Okay, we know the negative situations that are going on in many parts of the world and as much as possible, we can chose to have nothing to do with it (this is different from not caring, I care but if there is nothing I can do, I let it go and get positive, using my energy in a constructive way) . I am going to live my truth, share my viewpoints with those who are open to listening and accepting everyone else as they are, whatever stage they are at.
I no longer get annoyed at politicians and all those in the various systems that I consider to be adding to the problems. It's not a them and us situation, that just creates further division. We are all in this together. Each of us can do so much by being ourselves and allowing our unique vibration to expand out into the world. We don't need to judge those who we consider asleep or get annoyed when others act negatively. We just continue to live in a peaceful, powerful and positive way and ignore the negativity. By living this way we don't waste our energy focussing on what's not right in the world and we begin to have more of an effect on people and slowly, slowly things will change. For those of us that want a better world, respectful of each other, the planet and all of life, we don't need to wait for a utopian future, we just need to accept everything and everyone as it is now and get on with being the highest expression of love that we can manage. This is so much more effective than focussing on what is wrong in the world.
In spite of the crazy times we live in, I have so much faith in humanity. We are divine beings at our core. All of us. At the right time we will remember this. We are going to pull through and together, at the right moment, we will be once again be a healthy race (the human race), aware of our truth and who we really are. Many blessings to you.
My wee break ended up taking 11 months. So much has happened. My eldest son and I completed the first formal year of home schooling. It was fantastic. I am not sure who did the most learning and growing and I feel honoured to be a part of the journey.
I addressed my energy levels and made great improvements. I feel more energetic than I have done in years (happy to share how). I still consume way too much sugar, the refined sugars are gone but still, too much sugar is still too much, no matter how natural the form! That is still on my list to tackle, for many reasons and I have a plan in place (more on that soon).
We moved to Cornwall, England and now live by the Atlantic Ocean. I love it. Before the move I assumed I would spend lots of time on the beach but little did I know I would be there six or seven days of the week. To my surprise, I swim in the ocean regularly, with a wetsuit of course. I hope to become brave enough to get in without one, but at present I am concerned I may lose a limb or two if I did that (it's crazy cold) The village we live in is wonderful, there is a strong knit community here. I feel like I have stepped out of time back to the days when things felt less rushed. I like it a lot. It's helping me to slow down and savour the moment and fortunately I am enjoying the present moment more than I can ever remember doing so.
I am taking a wee break from this blog. I am juggling many balls at the moment and need to drop some. We begin our homeschooling year this week and I have my own small business plus a few new projects I am working on. I want to focus on these areas for now.
In addition, I have decided to address my health. I enjoy reasonably good health, however for several years my energy levels have been very low. I only became fully aware of it when I recently gave up consuming all refined sugar.
I was using refined sugar to keep me going through the day. I am only 38 and am convinced my energy levels should be much higher than they are at present. I am not having a mid-life crisis and I appreciate that having young children is challenging, still, I am convinced there are things I can do to help myself feel more energetic. There are things that need to be addressed such as the effects of all the antibiotics I was given as a child, the effects of the estrogen pill I took for years, the accumulation of all the general toxins we are exposed to in the food, water, air. If I didn't have such a healthy lifestyle I dread to think how rubbish I would feel now. I know intuitively that my health and well-being will benefit greatly from some tlc. I am going to give this to myself and really get to the root cause of my fatigue. I will be back at some point. Until then, many blessings, Carole
A few lovely mamas recently asked me how I share spiritual matters with my children and what religion I am. They have seen me sharing many different things (some with Christian influence, some with Pagan influence and some with Buddhist influence) with my children and were curious. I don't have a religion and did not grow up with one. We do however celebrate the Divine (God, Spirit, whatever word feels comfortable to you) every day, throughout the day, and it is something that is really important to me.
When I finally discovered (as my own truth) that there is more than the physical realm, around the age of 24, I remember feeling so relieved and thinking, well of course, I knew that. And I did know that, it's just I forgot/ignored it for years because all those around me, at home and at school, seemed to ignore it. I don't want my children to ever doubt the existence of the Divine. It underlies everything, it is everything and I believe within every healthy home, there is an openness to and appreciation of it. So how do we go about celebrating and sharing the Divine with children?
If you have a religious background, you will probably already have many great ideas on how to approach this. This post is more aimed at those mamas that may not have that background or those looking for new ideas.
With young children, I never speak directly about things as such, but choose to openly enjoy and celebrate the Divine. Young children don't need to think about the Divine, they need to feel it, be it, sing it, celebrate it. If my children are anything to go by, this brings them great joy and comfort.
Here are a some of the ways we like to connect each day:
Every morning we say a prayer, I saw a family prayer by Melissa Nielsen at Waldorf Essentials and changed it to suit our family. It's a nice way to connect with each other and remind ourselves of what is important to us as a family unit.
In our family, we are kind to each other
We forgive and let go
We take care of one another
In our family, we are truthful and grateful
We are playful and respectful
But most importantly, we love each other deeply.
Plus one other beautiful prayer I learned many years ago (it is not mine, I cannot recall who wrote it)
I ask and pray to be clothed in a robe of light
Composed of the love, wisdom and power of God
Not only for my own complete protection
But so that all those who see it and come into contact with it
Be drawn to God and healed.
We say these two prayers every morning and then have one or two more that change with seasons/festivals/situations.
With all of our meals, we light a candle and give thanks.
We celebrate various festivals through the year (some are those celebrated by Pagans, some by Christians, we also like to celebrate a few other special festivals, i.e. WESAK). In addition we follow the phases of the moon, in particular the new and full moons.
I have my own spiritual practice which includes daily meditation and prayer. I follow a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly rhythm that is in tune with what happens with the Earth in relation to the cosmos (ie. in winter the Earth contracts, withdraws and go within, and I do too along with the rest of nature in this part of the world). Without saying a word about this to my children they will be aware of this process within me on a subtle level and it will nourish them.
We have a nature table and various special corners in the house to honour the Earth, nature, the cosmos and the Divine. These special areas change as we move through the year and demonstrate symbolically where we are as humans in relation to the cosmos.
We express awe throughout our day as appropriate (if we see an interesting insect or cloud for example)
We treat our home, each other (mostly!) and all our things with respect, we take care of things and appreciate them. It amazes me how much the children copy my behaviour, if I act with care, respect and reverence, they do too)
We openly acknowledge our spiritual selves at it comes up naturally (i.e. birthdays are a time when we acknowledge the child as a spiritual being who came to Earth, and when someone dies we acknowledge that it is only their physical body that has died, their spirit begins their journey home)
We have a special reverence for many beings including Mother Mary, Jesus of Nazareth, Buddha, Brigit, Ceridwen, Mother Earth, the Christ.
We have always acknowledged our angels. At bedtime I playfully encourage my children to go and see their angels in dream world. They have seen me turn to my own angel (or theirs) when I have been worried about something. They have seen amazing things happen as a result. They take comfort in the angels if they feel frightened. To know they are never alone, are loved completely no matter what they do, and always have help when they ask for it, is probably one of the most valuable things I have taught them.
We say prayers at bedtime, two simple prayers, the same ones every night. One of them I made up;
Bless my head, my toes, my knees
Bless the rivers, the mountains and the trees
Bless the moon, the stars, the sun
Bless you, bless me, bless everyone
The other prayer is an old traditional prayer I adapted to suit us.
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray to God my soul to keep
Please wrap me in your love all night
And wake me with the morning light
We finish off by singing a gentle song, usually the same one for many months.
I always try to remember that young children can teach me so much about spirit and the Divine. I have been incarnated in my current physical body longer than they have theirs, they have not had as long a time to become hardened or to collect 'baggage' that can interfere with our connection to the Divine.
The most effective way to share the Divine with my children is by giving and receiving as much love as I possibly can. Thankfully with my children that seems to happen effortlessly most of the time, and when it doesn't it gives me material for own my inner work (as if I needed more, lol!).
Many blessings, Carole
I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous." Goethe
This beautiful quote is so true (for me) and since reading it I have been thinking about many things. Around 12 years ago I left a successful, well paid career working for an international business newspaper, based in San Francisco. I did this because I wanted to reclaim my well being and health (also my sanity and self-love). I explored many areas pertaining to natural health and went on many courses and slowly, slowly I healed myself and became really healthy, grounded and balanced. One of my biggest realisations during this time was that I am the decisive element. I control what I think, what I feel and what I do. I can't always control what happens and I can't control others, but I can choose what I think, feel and do. These choices set the stage for my life. It doesn't mean there won't be challenges but it does mean that I move through life with grace and faith, turning those challenges and struggles into opportunities for growth.
Of all the courses, classes and study I did, the one that has served me most is the spiritual meditation I studied and have continued to study and practice to this day. The tools I learned transformed me and my life. I learned how to own and harness my tremendous power (we ALL have it) and create the life I wanted. As a result, I am equipped to deal with whatever happens in life without fear, I know that I am a powerful and loving being(we ALL are) and my life reflects this.
I am going to put together an online course to guide those people who want to learn how to own and manage their tremendous power. I have offered various courses in person in the past and have seen first hand how much people benefit, they learn how to take hold of their lives, they become strong, healthy and create amazing lives. Of course, it's up to the individual to do the work, I don't fix anyone, I simply provide the tools. This course will help people to help themselves so that they create their own weather, own that tremendous power and make their lives joyous.
Watch this space....
We often find feathers in our garden and that's no surprise because we have ducks. For the past two weeks my children and I have been finding feathers that have been cut. Our four grown ducks (we have 19 ducklings!) had their feathers cut when we got them. This prevents the ducks from flying away. We wondered why we were finding so many of the trimmed feathers. A few days ago, one of the drakes flew away. I feel a little sad because he was so gorgeous and feisty but mostly I am delighted. He has shaken off the old feathers, let go of what was holding him back and started acting like his true self. He has grown himself some new feathers and when he felt ready, he took back his freedom, flew off and left everything behind him. I can really relate to this experience at the moment.
I have been thinking about what to do with the ducklings. If I sell them I will have to cut their feathers to stop them from flying away. Selling them will provide a nice chunk of money to put towards the cost of our homeschool supplies this year. I don't think I can bring myself to cut their feathers. It sounds a little romantic maybe, however, I don't think I can cut the feathers of creatures that were meant to fly. Wings are truly marvelous things, I wish I had a pair! So, as the ducklings begin to grow bigger and get more feathers, I will keep a keen eye on them in the hope that I get to see them spread their wings and fly away.
Many blessings, Carole