Tag Archives: parenting

Creating a Family Cohesive Environment for your Tot

While attending church, we have always gone to the building that allows children to attend with their parents, instead of opting for weekly childcare. When the church recently added a building for high schoolers to participate in a church service with their peers, that felt off to me.  Isn’t attending church a family event to do together, not separate?  Unless they are homeschooled, children are at daycare or school with peers, up to 5 days a week.  Why would a 6th day at church be an additional option or offering?  I’m definitely not the only one that feels this way, because I do see some small tots to high schoolers with their parents during the service.
Recently I was led to a very intriguing book titled, Hold on to your Kids by Gabor Mate’.  This book provides profound information on the reasons that children are most often choosing to bond to peer groups, rather than parents, as early as 8 years of age. The book also cites the detrimental outcomes of children’s confidence, emotional development and even vocabulary by having an allegiance to their peers.  The dramatic increase in peer bonding is a fairly recent occurrence in society.
To get a flavor of the in depth information in Gabor Mate’s book, listen to this eye opening talk on the basis of peer group orientation.  It is a topic typically brought up by parents who are disgruntled and exasperated, yet regretfully accept that their children avoid communication with them and only want to be with their friends.   The link below and his book give perspective on a behavior that is believed to be “normal” for children, but in reality it is not normal, nor is it optimal for child development.  

The Mom Escape

Where do we find our escape from the craziness of motherhood? How do we not give all ourselves to our child where it becomes unhealthy for us? I am on a quest to find these answers.

I am a mother who owned her own business, moved to England, had a baby and moved back to the US and stayed home with my child. When I arrived back to the US, I had sold my business, had no family near me and my friends at that time were all single with no children. It was one lonely and hard path for me. What I did have was a beautiful baby boy, whom I focused my attention. Then my son starts growing up and not so needy, but I am still giving my all to him. I was about to go nuts…what happened to that woman on the go and in love with life? That was my question to myself and still my question.

Now my son is in Nursery School and I have the mornings to do what I need, I use this time to conduct business, write blogs, film and “trying” to get back into the swing of entrepreneurship again.

Being in the inquiry of what is missing, some solutions came up. One is my workouts. Usually a ritual of working out has been in my life and now has disappeared. As humans, a workout is important for vitality. Getting that blood flowing will do anyone some good.

Another thing I am missing are my friends. Just finding the space to go out and be with the “women” is a healthy outlet. I find it important to be with your friends, it brings a mental health and community. As humans, we must have community.

To start with just those two things can make the world of difference. On this path of finding the healthy medium of Motherhood and sense of self is a journey. If anyone has their own journey of finding self, I would love to interview you. Please share as other Mother’s experience do matter and we all can learn from each other.

An Environment That Grounds Our Children

How do we create a home environment and lifestyle that grounds our children?

Not grounding in the sense of “you are in big trouble mister,” but one that supports them in being stable children.

To develop and create stable, balanced and grounded children has to do with finding a balance considering the endless options of stimulating toys piled high in aisles of stores and visual distractions such as games and television.  Most adults are immune to these things and yet these same things strongly capture the attention of our tots. Only we can observe and determine if these things will contribute our precious children’s well-being, if they are neutral or harmful.

The way I’ve chosen to ground myself and my child has been through creating an environment that supports our daily lifestyle. Since birth, I have determined that my daughter and I benefit the most from minimal distractions around the house. As two years of her life have quickly flown by, I still observe that we are benefiting. This became especially apparent as of last year when I attended a 7 day course on how to teach you baby from birth to 2 years of age reading, math, encyclopedic knowledge, physical program, foreign language, and music program.  Early this month I returned to the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia to complete a 5 day graduate course that teaches parents how to advance the curriculum for children 2-4 years of age, plus introduce writing and independent reading. I see that the success and evolution of the teaching program, since we started last year, is not solely due to me being consistent and in tune with what topics my daughter enjoys. It would not be possible to teach my 2 year old daughter very much if I had to compete with the distraction of a stimulating television or more than a few dolls in the house. The rest of her toys are in the car piled in box near her car seat and the ones that I don’t want her to have are given away.  Most people know that the gifts she would use most are clothes or more teaching materials.

With a only few dolls and one musical DVD that she occasionally enjoys singing to, she is absolutely never bored. What I notice is that she is easily entertained with drawing, reading books, and listening to music and foreign language audios that we do together and in between our teaching time and physical fitness program. When I go to friends and family’s homes or mommy/baby events, there will be an array of toys and she will stay very busy with them.  Seeing this just makes it more clear, considering what I observe that keeps her grounded, that these things are better kept out of the house and she can experience them elsewhere. I see that my daughter is most grounded when she is listening to music, playing her percussion instruments, dancing, experiencing nature, and expressing curiosity and interest in the topics she chooses for me to teach her. I’m also more grounded because I’m doing things, rather than scheduling myself around a certain TV show, which I did years prior to my daughter’s birth. This feeling of balance and groundedness is all as a result of the environment I created that supports our lifestyle.

Yes, encouraging and supporting our children to be grounded in a world that’s abundant with environmental stimulation most everywhere is an interesting topic, because it will vary from one family to another. As parents, only we can effectively determine what is an optimal grounding environment for our children and how to create it based on the unique lifestyle we desire for ourselves and our tots for years to come.

This is aside from the bombardment of EMF frequencies from the cell phone towers, wireless networks and the challenge of keeping the little ones a safe distance from the computer, ipad and cell phone, which is a whole different topic for another time.

Holistic Mom in the Spotlight

The Tot’s Cafe has been meeting some amazing Mothers recently. We are excited to be featuring Spotlight Mom’s as a special tribute to acknowledge them. It also will be a fun way to inspire other Mothers by sharing the many wonderful ways families create health and happiness while modeling teamwork, contribution, leadership, and many other incredible qualities to their children.

We had found just that woman to feature this month and right in time for Mother’s Day.  Her name is Stacey and lives in South Orange County, California.  The Tot’s Cafe visited her house the other day and found out some amazing things about her.  In our visit the first thing we noticed was her amazing back yard or shall I say back garden (not the England meaning).  She has a compost bin for collecting goodies for her garden and has plans to add a special Kelp seaweed to the soil.  Plus, we were told the next phase for the back garden is to plant a variety of fruit trees.  Stacey has built five, four by sixteen foot, raised beds filled with organic vegetables and herbs that can feed her entire neighborhood.  Come on natural disaster, her family is well prepared!  She built the beds along with her 5-year old son, Canyon, and also two raised beds at Canyon’s preschool in San Clemente, California.  There, each kid has their own square foot plot to plant, water, watch grow, harvest and eat with their classmates.

As she showed us around the house, we were captivated by organic, beautiful and inspiring paintings on her wall. One of those paintings is 4 feet by 8 feet that she created with scrap plywood, reused wood from a patio cover, and landfill-bound paint.

In Canyon’s room we immediately noticed a tree painted on his wall that grew up onto the ceiling and a loft bed that has ply-wooden tree branches for its side rail, and Stacey built and painted herself. On one side of the bed she designed and added a wooden cut out of a tree.  The leaves and branches serve as a guard to keep Canyon safe in his tall loft bed. Underneath his bed are his toys and optimized space for playing and he can create a private fort when he wants. Genius! An elevated bed to have use of the entire floor in his bedroom.

There was one last room we were itching to go into, the music room where there is a small drum set just the right size for Canyon, three acoustic guitars, other percussion instruments, an amp and two microphones complete the stage for adults and kids to jam together.

Stacey is one of the most creative, naturalistic and crafty woman we have ever met.  Her philosophy is raising Canyon to explore, be creative, learn how to cultivate his own food and discover the wonders of nature.  It was beautiful to witness the connection that Stacey and Canyon share and to see the projects that they completed together. Stacey was telling us how she and Canyon set up a lemonade stand that featured drinks garnished with the special touch of fresh mint from their organic garden. We noticed that their projects share common interest between her and Canyon, plus they are fun and engaging for both of them!

It was inspiring for us to see Stacey’s creative expression throughout their home. As a mom, we all know that it is easy to get caught up in the day and neglect our own personal interests, passions and creative outlets. It was inspiring to see how Stacey incorporates into her daily life the things she enjoys doing. What a great way to create balance in life!

Talking to Stacey you can see her passion for living and a spirit that is passionate for treating our planet with the respect it deserves.  The Tot’s Cafe greatly enjoyed and appreciated being with Stacey and her son Canyon for the afternoon. There is so much to learn from this amazing Mom.

Stacey leaves us with this, “Throw away little and reuse a lot; buy less, and connect with your family and nature more often.”  Happy Mother’s Day!

To see pictures of Stacey’s garden and art in her house please visit our Tot’s Cafe fan page by clicking on the logo.