Why School Children Need Recess

Why Kids Need Recess | Eco-Mothering.com

Since the implementation of the Common Core State Standards—and its precursor, the 2001 No Child Left Behind law—schools have focused on meeting rigid standards and preparing students for standardized tests. With school test scores being held up to scrutiny (and in some cases affecting teacher jobs or the threat of being put on the “watch list”), a lot of emphasis is put on preparing students for those tests. In many cases, this has resulted in schools eliminating recess in order to squeeze in more teaching time. When Atlanta elementary schools replaced recess with more instructional time, the superintendent was quoted as saying, “We are intent on improving academic performance. You don’t do that by having kids hanging from monkey bars.”  (source) Hanging from monkey bars is one of my daughter’s favorite parts of the school day. We hear detailed accounts at dinner of the games she and her friends play … Continue reading

Checklist for Finding an Eco-Conscious Childcare Provider

Green Child Care Center Checklist | Eco-Mothering.com

Parents who return to work after a baby is born usually rely on childcare outside the home. While cost, location and availability are big factors in making such a decision, natural parents might want to consider eco-friendly factors as well. This was not something I had considered at all when, at four months old, Sofie went off to daycare. My daughter’s first childcare provider was an in-home day care, which was nice in that it was small (3-4 kids) and Sofie received lots of loving, individual attention. The provider was agreeable to changing cloth diapers, feeding Sofie with my warmed-up breast milk, and occasionally wearing her in a carrier. Her home was cozy with plenty of time spent outside. On the down side, the TV was often on, and no preference was given to green furnishings or materials. At age two, we moved Sofie to an early childhood education center. … Continue reading

Helping Kids Reduce Stress

Ways to Help Kids Manage Stress | Eco-Mothering.com

Already, at nine years old, my daughter has mentioned that she keeps her stress in her neck and shoulders. Stress? At nine? What’s happening? Nothing major, as it turns out. But I haven’t attributed much weight to Sofie’s everyday quarrels with friends, homework anxiety, or even how she reacts to issues within our family. Apparently, as much as we try to feather their nests, our kids still deal with stress at an earlier age than we may have thought. While we can’t relieve them of their anxieties, we can help them cope. Here are some tools your child can learn now and use for the rest of her life. Cultivate a Positive Outlook The more you focus on your child’s best parts and behaviors, the more he will learn to see the glass as half full and seek solution to his problems. The latest research shows that we can mold … Continue reading

Tips for Dealing with Kids and Commercialism at the Holidays

Tips for Reducing Commercialism at the Holidays | Eco-Mothering.com

After learning a song about climate change at school, my nine-year-old has been following us around the house turning off a light the minute someone steps out of a room. She has also been heard to make comments like, “Daddy, you shouldn’t buy a new TV because it makes more carbon dioxide, and that doesn’t help the polar bears.” I am thinking this could be a good time to make links for her between those cute polar bears and the pollution created in the manufacture of plastic toys. Yet I know this knowledge will likely be cast aside as the holiday season approaches. Sofie naturally succumbs to the childlike quality of always wanting more stuff – the latest doll or fashion style, new books, another adorable stuffed animal. And many of those wants come from advertising, whether it’s via TV, a store circular or word-of-mouth (a.k.a. her friends). At the holidays, … Continue reading

A Wink and a Book: Promoting Early Childhood Literacy

Benefits of Early Childhood Literacy | Eco-Mothering.com

I started reading to Sofie in the first few months of her life. It didn’t matter to me that she probably couldn’t understand a word of it, nor that the pictures were likely blurry to her still developing vision. I love books and I wanted her to love them too. Besides, reading gave me another way to entertain a newborn. (There’s only so much peek-a-boo a mom can take!) My character voices piqued her interest. Brightly colored illustrations drew her in. We started a children’s library early and read to Sofie every day. Now, at eight years old, she reads to herself every day. Books are always on her wish list for birthdays and holidays. She’s begun her own library. She loves a good story. And she has a love of language that I feel came from her early exposure to books. A Wink of Encouragement Research shows that the … Continue reading

Inspiring Children to be Lifelong Learners

Inspiring Children as Lifelong Learners | Eco-Mothering.com

Welcome to the August 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have talked about how they continue learning throughout life and inspire their children to do the same. ***** From the beginning, my husband and I have been less focused on the academic standards of a school and more interested in what Sofie will learn from her school environment about communication, conflict resolution, working as a team or making mistakes… Rather than be someone who learns just enough to pass the test, we want her to be a lifelong learner. Because of this, we’ve been front-loading her education, spending our dollars in the formative early years as opposed to saving for college, a time when Sofie will be living the values, qualities and influences that she experienced … Continue reading

Parenting According to Dosha

Tips for how to parent the dosha of your child | Eco-Mothering.com

The Indian science of Ayurveda is the art of living in harmony with nature. Everything in nature is formed from various proportions of these five elements: space, air, water, fire and earth. These elements are also present as biological energies within us, where they are called doshas: Pitta, Vata and Kapha. What is a Dosha? The three doshas, or mind-body types, reveal our personal energy patterns—sort of like the way Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® identifies our personalities (ISFJ, anyone?). While we each have a mix of all three doshas, usually one primary dosha dominates our personality and health from birth. According to Ayurvedic principles, we can achieve balance in our health and our lives by nurturing our particular dosha. Here is a brief summary of each dosha. Pitta (fire and water; summer/early fall): Hot, intense, sour energy. Pitta people tend to have a medium build, sensitive skin and strong appetites. They … Continue reading

Generation Gap (In Defense of Gen Xers)

In Defense of Gen Xers | Eco-Mothering.com

Like it or not, my daughter is growing up a part of Generation Z  being defined as the most entrepreneurial, collaborative, and socially conscious group of people yet. It seems like a good thing. Studies say Gen Z are more educated, make healthier choices and are cautious in their spending—the results, perhaps, of growing up in a world defined by digital media, global connection and depleting resources. I can’t help but feel a little bit jealous and, even defensive, of my own Generation X (roughly, those born between 1965 and 1980). The Baby Boomers labeled us as such due to the challenge of identifying the “X” factor that represented us. They called us cynical, anxious, unfocused slackers. Really, we are the children of the 70’s and 80’s, a group sandwiched between two larger and flashier generations. We got lost in the shuffle. We started out in safe, idyllic childhoods but … Continue reading