Parent Choice Award for Magic Carpet

We were so happy to receive a parents choice award for our new CD – happy that we put our name in.  We hope that this CD will help as many children as our original – we’d love to hear what you think!

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New CD

So I got a very sweet quote from a little girl Eden today about Dream Child I wanted to share “I love the Judy CD because of all of the characters. The flowers are so happy and thankful for the sun and Mama Teddy Bear is so snuggly!” You can feel Eden’s personality in the way she speaks – makes me want to meet her!

I too think one of the best parts is that snuggly feeling from Mama Teddy Bear and it is fun to hear how they relate to the characters.

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Halloween theme – What Do Witches Have to Do With Inner Healing?

Kids love Halloween as it is such fun to get dressed up and get candy!  Because children are fascinated with halloween, an excellent dinner conversation can be about where did the idea of witches come from?  It isn’t a conversation I’d have with a young child, but for an older child, it is a very interesting conversation.

In the last few centuries, there have been periods where healers in villages were seen as a threat to the religious leaders.  Healers who could listened to their bodies, who used plants for healing, who encouraged people to look within for answers rather than to leaders, were a threat to the authorities.  The healers were demonized for their healing work (called witches inferring the dark arts, not healers).  It has taken us quite some time to come back to a culture where we listen to our bodies wisdom and we look within for our soul’s purpose, and we can embrace this with modern science rather than one or the other.  I believe knowing this history helps explain some of our reluctance in our culture to look within and trust our bodies and our souls’ wisdom.  We live in an amazing time in history where we have the freedom to make our own choices of how to care for our bodies and what we want to believe in.

How do you encourage your children to listen from within?

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Can Halloween Have a Deeper Meaning?

One tradition we have created is based on the original meaning of Halloween.  It is considered the day that marked the time of year when the seasons were changing from the golden fall to the winter season, a time when we have the opportunity to connect in a deeper way with ourselves.  With this change of the seasons, the celtics felt the veil between our departed and our world is the thinnest.  Rather than experience that as a scary time, it was celebrated as an opportunity to remember our ancestors and accord them respect.

draw the family tree as a visual

So with that theme, my daughter Faith and I go through our family three on my side and my husband’s side.  I use that time to tell her stories about my grandparents and also my husband’s father who died much too early and she never got to meet him.  We talk about what traits may have been passed down from them to her and we give thanks as each generation paves the way for the next generation.

set up the idea that they have ‘gifts’ from the family that they can build on

In the car yesterday, Faith out of the blue said, ‘Isn’t everything amazing – I mean we can drive in cars, how do they get that part on the end of matches that makes a fire?’  All of the ease we experience in life is invention after invention building upon each other.  And each generation builds upon each other so Halloween is a time when we remember to honour and celebrate our departed loved ones.

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Summer Fun – How to Sleep After An Exciting Day

We are finding going to sleep as early as we do in winter almost impossible.  The sun is shining and calling us outside for a walk or a quick game of soccer.  So I am having to look for new ways to help my daughter go to sleep at night.

What she loves so much and what helps her relax is a nice slow paced massage each night.  After we’ve had story time, I lay beside her and give her a back and neck massage (sometimes arms too), and we find that this helps her relax into the bed.  Then my husband will often come and give us some therapeutic touch.  If you haven’t tried that, it is simple to learn. At the very least touch is another way to love our children.

And of course if we aren’t going to be physically there, our Dream Child CD is always helpful.

What are ways you find helpful to help your child to sleep?

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How To Best Support Your Child When They Have Troubles With Friends

I was talking with a friend today, and I realized as parents, it is so hard when our child’s feeling are deeply hurt.  We just want to make our child feel better and sometimes we are tempted to minimize what they are experiencing wanting them to see it as more minor too – hoping that will take the pain away.    And at times this or a quick fix can work well.  But a big part of our role is to support them in solving things for themselves and there are some wonderful techniques for that.

And before we start solving issues, we need to help soothe them as we anyone is really upset, their brain is in fight or flight, so they are not in the best problem solving mode.  So if it isn’t an easy fix, it is best to empathize with the child.  This isn’t easy because sometimes it may seem foolish to be upset about something that seems small to us, or even perhaps more challenging is when we can remember the pain of being excluded, whispered about, or feeling betrayed by a friend and it actually feels worse when we see it happening to our precious child.  We may just want to try and make it better fast.

What helps me in taking the time to empathize is the image of an unconditionally loving grandma in a rocking chair, who is holding a child in her arms really listening and understanding.  These warm arms without speaking are saying, it’s all going to be alright, and i understand your pain, you are loved.  I think if we feel understood, we feel a little less alone in the world when we are troubled.

So by not minimizing or trying to fix everything, and instead of discussing the thoughts and words, taking the time to resonant with our child’s underlying feeling.  Sometimes I’ve found that is all my daughter needs is to be understood (words like “I’d feel so hurt if that happened to me, I can remember that kind of thing happening and it was awful….” can help).  The warmth between us is much higher when she feels understood, and then sometimes the whole thing is forgotten, or sometimes when she is through the emotional period, we can work on solving the issue.

The image of this grandma helps ground me and slow me down.  My first reaction is wanting it to be different for my child and when I sit in a loving accepting place, I feel more able to be of a comfort to my child.   My hope is that she will continue to feel she can share her disappointments as well as her successes with me.  And when I slow down and feel, I can recognize what is happening for her and decifer if it is fear, disappointment, anger or hurt or all of them.    We all have these feelings so we can empathize.  I know when I feel held and understood, I am more able to face the world and deal with it.    And I notice when I can provide that for her, it helps build her resilience.  In fact, sometimes I envy her resilience and how well she can bounce back into life and I learn from her.  The gift of many children is that they teach us how to let go and see each day as a new one, and a little understanding and love goes a long way.

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Environmental Education – be cautious

I have rotated from being inspired and in awe of our planet earth to being overwhelmed by the enormity of the environmental issues we have created (climate change, sewage/trash/air pollution…). As we were using cloth diapers, I was sure I would educate my child to be very environmentally oriented. And I do, but I am doing it in a different way than I expected to  – one that first connects her to the wonder, beauty and power of nature first.

Someone told me about a study in Germany (I don’t have the link, if anyone does please send it to me) that by by doing so much environmental education on school aged children, by the time they reached grade 12, rather than being inspired, they were apathetic and felt like, it was too late, too much of a mess to fix so why bother. I feel this way sometimes too and it isn’t good for me or for my footprint on the earth.
So what works? Waldorf has a good philosophy in this area – they focus on helping a child discover the wonder and awe of nature. I think any good environmental education program’s main focus is to help children (and us their parents) remember not only how fragile our ecosystem is, but also how miraculous, beautiful and intelligent it is. It is when I am connecting with that awe and love of our earth and our creatures that I want to take care of it from a place of love, even if they are small steps, one step can matter – helping a bug out of my house rather than squashing it may be a small move, taking the bus, composting and seeing the compost go back into the garden. I am happier in that place, and I do allow myself time to understand what is going on in the world of climate change etc., but I agree with Waldorf’s philosophy that childhood is a time of wonder.
If our children grow up knowing the power and wonder of nature and have a deep love for our earth, there is a better chance they will come up with solutions we haven’t even thought of, or live in a way that is more in line with the earth. She is growing up recycling, picking up litter, composting, and has enjoyed building fairy houses, and our footprint could be better.
When my child is older, she’ll learn about the huge overwhelming issues like climate change, but why overwhelm her now. It is more than I can handle, why pass it off to our kids too young.
A recent study of 1, 150 seven to eleven year olds in Britain found that over half the children were losing sleep worrying about climate change. If Einstein was right, that we cannot change a problem with the consciousness that created it, then our approach of informing/scaring our children (who have so little power compared to us adults) about climate change, endangered species etc., may not be the best way to solve our problems.
I am voting for wonder based nature education, information on steps everyone can do in their own life, ways to help, and save the climate change education for later. In fact, maybe all us adults could use a little more awe and wonder in our lives too for new perspectives and hope.

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Big Shifts Made Easy

My daughter started saying “I don’t like getting older.” I was so surprised as I thought kids liked getting older. I talk about my age and how grateful I am to be healthy and happy, so my first instinct was that it wasn’t coming from me. Then I dug deeper.

I realized I tell her many wonderful stories about when she was younger as she loves to hear them and I enjoy sharing them with her. Sometimes I say, oh, I miss that age. It felt like everything sped up once she got more independent in grade 1, and I find myself wanting to slow down time as I cherishing these years of closeness. There is a bittersweet edge I feel as she is getting older. And I wondered if my attitude was in the highest service to her, possibly not.
So I just decided to start talking about how much I am loving seeing her grow up, what changes I have noticed in the last year and how much I have enjoyed witnessing them. I share how her brain significantly develops around the age of 9 and more analytical/complex thinking is possible and how I love the conversations she is now able to have with me. I share the activities I enjoy with her and how much I am looking forward to the upcoming years we’ll go through together – how exciting our future as a family is.
Interesting, with this very small change, she has completely stopped saying she doesn’t want to get older. In fact, she talks more eagerly about getting older. I feel elated, partly because I realize that errors I make parenting can often easily be remedied.
So much about parenting for me is being willing to look deep inside as the answers are not always obvious. I can’t always see it alone or with my husband because we are both in it, but I have been able to create the emotional space where my best friend feels like she can share her uncomfortable observations with me. I feel so blessed I have a friend willing to do that for me as it is easier to say nothing.
I like to figure out how I can reframe something for my daughter and how so easily shifts can happen. And now I see her happily enjoying the process of getting older as she celebrates her birthday. How simple and how beautiful.

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My Child is a Pleasure

What a wonderful name for a book.  And for me, having this child has definitely been my deepest pleasure – the touch of her skin, her exuberance, her wonder, her authenticity – I could go on and I am sure you could too.

This is a book by Diane Gossen on the process of restitution as a parenting approach.  The concept is all about understanding your child’s needs and helping your child understand their needs – and are they going to meet their needs cheaply or deeply.

I feel inspired by this kind of parenting approach.  It is not about controlling a child but more about connecting with our child.  And the more connected we are, the less parenting issues and the more joy we experience.

For me, parenting is a continual journey of learning about myself and how to be a guide/support to my child.

I’d love to hear your favourite book.

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Children Sleeping

Children Sleeping – Using Music to Soothe your Child to Sleep
Life is crazy and hectic, you get up in the morning and your child’s day is non-stop go from the time they wake up until the time they go to sleep. Getting ready for day care, bundling them up in the car, playing all day with all the other kids, coming home, dinner, bath time and then to bed. By then you may find that your child is too overstimulated to fall off to sleep, everything in their life stimulates them, then you want them to slow down, relax and drift off to sleeping, getting children sleeping can be a challenge at the best of times and a major frustration at others. 
One of the best ways to help your child shift gears and get ready for sleep is by offering them music at bedtime, when combining this with a well-defined routine, getting children sleeping will be much easier than it has been in the past. At Joy Filled Music we have put together a music CD that is specially designed to help get your child off to sleep and help them relax and have a restful night.

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