Monday, 17 November 2014

We watch television

My kids enjoy watching television. So do my husband and I. And we have finally reached a comfortable level of television time for our family.

But it would be fair to say that until this year, managing and minimising screen time was a challenge for me. Somehow my husband and I had reached a point {before children} that the tv was often on... whether or not we were watching it.

When Dino Boy arrived, I started consciously turning the tv off more and more. But totally restricting it was not something I had even contemplated.

Then we discovered Waldorf. Waldorf education discourages the use of screens for younger children as they inhibit imagination and impact children's development.

My husband and I have now consciously decided that being totally screen free isn't right for us {although who knows what the future might hold} We have decided however to allow our children to watch limited, carefully chosen tv shows and to enjoy a family movie night once a week. We usually make homemade pizza on movie night too!

We want to teach our kids to make good choices about screens, but also be able to understand and identify with other kids... given tv is part of our society.

So it is about balance... and trying to get it right

But it has still taken quite some time for us to reach our comfortable level. We tried screen free periods but it didn't feel sustainable or right for us. And we tried different levels of television watching before finally reaching the level that works for us.

So I guess you might like to know what our 'comfortable level' is right? Well it is around 45 minutes a day. And although this works for us, we understand other families will find different levels they are comfortable with.

I let the children choose two shows they would like to watch for the day. They choose from a selection I have recorded. At the moment my daughter loves Stella and Sam (it is very sweet), while my son loves Dinosaur Train or Peter Rabbit. The kids also choose when they watch their shows (within reason). This helps us manage television watching, and they accept that once they have watched their shows that is it.

Since finding our happy level:
  • the less they watch, the less they want to watch
  • their play has deepened
  • their behaviour has improved

And I am a happier mum!

How do you manage screens in your home?
Here is an article from the Golden Gleam that helped me

Warmly, Kelly

Monday, 10 November 2014

Waldorf art & craft supplies

My stash of beautiful Waldorf art and craft supplies makes me happy *grin*

Wonderful vibrant colours, soft warm wool and felt, the lovely scent of beeswax inspire me (and my children) to get crafty and creative!

Waldorf supplies can be expensive. But what I have learnt is that saving up and getting the better quality products makes such a difference! They are more beautiful to work with and the end result is so much nicer.

We also treat the materials more carefully - almost reverentially - trying to make sure not to waste any, seeking to make the most of them and enjoying the process of using them.  It seems to me that often Waldorf incorporates a little ritual in what could be the ordinary. The placement of a painting board and paints for example. The song you may softly sing as you place the paintbrush in the child's waiting hands.

I've slowly built up my supplies over the last 3 years, waiting for specials or slowly working my way through my wish list. So I thought I would share with you what is in my stash, and where I purchase my materials from...

What's in my stash

~ Gorgeous wool ~
For knitting up toys, vests or cardigans... think rainbows, Noro and other natural wool blends. My son also enjoys using 16ply  block colours for finger knitting {I purchase mine from Indigo Inspirations, Yarn4You and Spotlight}

~ Wool roving ~
For wool paintings, wet felting and needle felting. I've only lightly dabbled with roving so far but would love to try my hand at making a wheel of the year. Unspun wool is also wonderful for filling toys {from Indigo Inspirations, Winterwood Toys and my local Steiner school shop}

~ Felt sheets ~
For dressing peg dolls, making gnomes, felt horses, wombats, mice and more! I'm rather addicted to hand painted rainbow felt sheets... {from Indigo Inspirations and my local Steiner school shop}

~ Water colour paints ~
For painting peg dolls, wet-on-wet painting or other creative endeavours {I've purchased mine from my local Steiner school shop, Winterwood Toys and Mercurius}

~ Milk paint ~
A lovely alternative to water colour paints with rich earthy tones... just calling out to bring fairy doors and gnomes to life {I purchased a sample kit from Gallagher's 3 years ago and still have plenty for years more!}

~ Beeswax ~
For making candles or wood vanish, oooh it smells so good! {I've been getting mine from Ballina Honey on Ebay... would love to find a local beekeeper to purchase from or take up my mother-in-laws offer to have bees on her soon-to-be property!}

~ Wood supplies ~
Peg dolls {from Learning4Kids}, door knobs to magic into mushrooms and wooden planks from whence fairy doors and gnomes emerge {from our local hardware shop, Bunnings} and wooden rings to make ribbon streamers {from our local craft supplies shop, Spotlight}

~ Crayons, chalk and kite paper ~
For getting creative with drawing, and making window stars to capture the sunlight {from Mercurius and Winterwood Toys}

~ Silk blanks ~
For dyeing into all the colours of the rainbow as play silks or pretty scarves {from Dharma Trading}

So, what's in your stash? 
And, where do you get your supplies?

Warmly, Kelly

This post was part of the series
'How to bring Waldorf into your home...' 
by Happy Whimsical Hearts

Part 1 ~ an introduction
Part 2 ~ Waldorf  blogs that inspire
Part 3 ~ a Waldorf book list 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Spring songs

With my elbow resting on the table, I lift my arm straight up, fingers stretching upwards. The fingers of my other hand start drumming the table, calling my daughter's attention to my actions. Inviting her to join me as we sing.

Up the tall white candlestick climbed little Mousey Brown
(with fingers climbing the candle stick arm)
Right to the very top, but he couldn't get down
So he called to his grandma, 'Grandma, Grandma'
(hands held to the sides of our mouth we call)
But grandma was in town
(reaching our hands outwards)
So he curled himself into a ball 
(pulling our hands together and crossed over our chests)
and roley-poleyed down
(with both hands making a roley-poley motion)

My daughter then asks that we sing another, sing another!
Again drumming our fingers on the table we sing...

Springtime showers, Springtime rain
(we use of hands to show raindrops falling)
Wash the earth all clean again
Wash the earth all clean again
(our hands swish side to side)

Spring is coming
Spring is coming
Birdies build their nest
Weave together, straw and feather
(hands folding over each other)
Each one doing their best

We sing after our lunch and before quiet time. While our mealtime candle still burns bright. We don't sing everyday. But the days we do, I feel a greater togetherness and connection. Our songs are a celebration of the season. Bringing reverence and gentle awareness to the time of year.

Happy days,