Yes, I added the word dog to the name of the blog for we have one woolly love named Moochi who is very much a part of the rhythm of our life from eating and sleeping to adventures and circle, he is there.
I promised more on Kim John Payne's Simplicity Parenting talk and here I deliver.
Kim Payne spoke of each child's quirk, that each child has a quirk and when cumulative stress is added to the child's life, the quirk + cumulative stress = disorder.When stress is removed, it looks like:
quirk - cumulative stress = Genius, the child's genius
Rudolf Steiner often said that the task of teachers is not to bring information but to remove hindrances in the child's life. The hindrances of our time are often small stress inducing acts that become cumulative and make for disorders in children.
Payne spoke of four pathways to support a healthy childhood, remove stress and make parenting simple:
1. Environment ~ T.M.S: short for Trash More Stuff
Kim John Payne spoke of stuff as a materialistic replacement of human relationships. His remedy is to pack it up in thick green trash bags, half of the toys, half of the books and half of the clothes in the house. Then go back and pack up half again. Start with our own stuff, then do the children's.
2. Rhythm, Predictability and Boundaries
Self regulation is built on rhythm. With a strong rhythm comes strength. Rhythm makes a predictable life. Knowing what to expect creates security for a child. Choices make a child feel unsafe. Children need their parents to be in charge, to form their world and keep it dependable. When a parent upholds a rule, the child knows she can count on the parent to mean what the parent says, that the parent is trustworthy and true. This creates a feeling of safety for the child. The child can let go of worrying about what will come next and play like a child, give up all their very being to play, when the child knows the parent is in charge. (I am expounding here with my own words and emphasis)
Kim Payne used the phrase, " we do this" as an example of how to bring it to the child, "we have lunch now" "we wash our hands before lunch" Simple. Clear. Predictable. No excess verbiage, no explanations. This is how it is. We do this.
From this secure, "we do this" develops the ability to self-regulate, resiliency and the "I am."
Kim Payne asked parents if we see childhood as an enrichment opportunity or an unfolding? He said we are super-phosphating our children. And anyone who knows about farming knows that super phosphates destroy the breeding ground. He said that boredom is good. Children need to be bored, really bored. And we need to be present with them when they need us. Through play, children digest the sensory world. Children need deep creative play to digest their world. And with good digestion of their world comes good, restful sleep at night.
4. Filter Out the Adult World ~ the media, screens, radio, television, movies, videos and conversations
With conversation, Payne says to ask ourselves three questions before speaking in the presence of children. Are the words we are about to use:
If they are not all three: kind, true, and necessary, not to speak them.
Payne described home as a place of peace, of decompression, a sanctuary from the world. He encouraged adults to avoid looping news reports through out the day, to minimize our exposure. He referred to nature as Soul Arnica. He emphasized telling a story over reading a story. Yet reading a story too, as part of a weekly rhythm. With the older child, he suggests discussing the reading and making time for the child to digest it by talking about it. The younger child will digest stories through play.
Kim Payne said that even for the most stressed children, it is art and play that provides a soothing balm: singing, clay, puppets, drawing and[painting.
Kim Payne said do what is real for you, start small, sweat the small stuff. Let peace be here, in the home.
Kim John Payne spoke in City Hall last night. Today he is doing a workshop at the Waldorf School. What an engaging speaker he is! He described Cumulative Stress in children as a malaise akin to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He recommends four steps to take to reduce stress for children. Can you guess what one of them is? That's right, to bring Rhythm, Predictability and Boundaries to the child's life so the child feels secure in the world and has room for play, for boredom, for the great out breath. He discussed his research and how he found that this and the other three steps to foster simplicity (more on them after the workshop) foster brain growth and learning and eliminate so many of the hindrances for the "D" generation (A.D.D., A.D.H.D., O.C.D., O.D.D.)