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Now that our youngest has turned five-years-old, I finally have time to read again! So many great books to choose from, here are my favorites from last year that have helped with my parenting:
Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
When we dreamed of having kids and a family, most of us had visions and dreams of us all sitting around laughing and enjoying family time together. The reality is, our daily lives disconnect us from these moments because there’s too much of everything. Too much stuff, too much information, too much speed, too many activities scheduled, and too many choices. This book is a reminder of the importance of creating calm and rhythm into our children’s lives.
It actually became a goal of mine for 2019: to create a calm, soothing environment for our family.
How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims
I agreed with most of the reminders of this book, it’s basically stop overparenting! How demanding or permissive are you with your kids? The book shows how to provide less structure and give your kids more freedom. Give them more independence and expect more from them. It’s interesting to think about how different parenting is today versus just a generation ago, with our parents and then with our grandparents. Our society has become very involved and overprotective as a whole. While I’m all for letting go of many things, I still find it hard to give them too much independence because I still worry about their safety. But it did and continues to help me let go more and reminds me that our kids are capable of more than we think.
Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras
This book fired me up!!! It gave me solid data and proof that my kids don’t need technology to create technology - at least under age 12. Bill Gates was a Boy Scout and didn’t touch a computer until age 13. Steve Jobs was a mechanical tinkerer and didn’t use technology until age 12. The Google founders, Wikipedia founder, and the creator of Amazon all went to low-tech Montessori schools. Lots of Silicon Valley’s tech execs and engineers put their kids today in Waldorf schools, which don’t believe in screen time until age 12. It shares all sorts of info on how screens are dulling, not sharpening kids brains with too much stimulation. Lots of scary stories of addiction, and video games.
Can you sense a theme here?
Making Makers by Anne-Marie Thomas
Our kids go to a design thinking school, where they get to use the design process on their projects and they dive deep into subjects rather than wide. My kids are always wanting to create and build things and I’m not always sure how to support that. I picked this book up hoping it would help me, but it was more of a theory-based book. It talked about how the future of innovation is allowing our kids to be makers and have a maker mindset. Most every human has the desire to create and make and we need to keep this energy alive in our kids by providing opportunities, tools, time and space to do this and be creative and curious. The best tactical information was model it and have your kids help, so it means I need to start making more!
Heaven On Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer
This book was my favorite and tied everything together so well. It was written by a Waldorf teacher and it explains how kids learn and how we can help them. It’s really a how-to on bringing the beauty and joy back to childhood. Something we are struggling with as a society in this new time. I’m wondering if my grandma read this, she’d probably have been able to write it herself, but so much has gotten lost with all the tech and business of today’s world.
Our children learn best through sensory experiences and using their bodies and hands. As parents, we need to enhance movement and play and use stories and conversation. I loved where she explains how important reading and stories are: the brain must form pictures in the mind and all conceptual thought lies on the foundation of our ability to create and remember mental images. Image-making is critical when kids are young and feeding them predetermined moving images with screens reduces their ability to do this. She talks about how “media children” have difficulty collaborating and their imagination is dulled. She also talks about how screen time arouses the child, it doesn’t relax them.
What I got out of this book is that reducing media is very important, giving open-ended toys and storytelling is the best thing we can do for our kids play.
Are you on a journey where you’re providing this for your children? My mission is to help make it easier by inspiring and educating you how to do things easily so that parenting and family life brings you lots of joy!
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