When a child is born they enter a world that brings an array of impressions. Unlike an adult, a newborn cannot filter these impressions. We can help the child to gradually come into the world by attuning to ourselves and our children and providing an intentional environment, aware of the young child’s needs for slowness and a low-stimulus environment.
Providing physical warmth is also very important for young children. They are not yet able to self-regulate their temperature, and their energy needs to go into growth and organ development rather than maintaining body heat. In colder climates, several layers of clothing are needed, and hats protect the child’s sensitive head in all weathers.
A regular daily rhythm is another source of security. Adults crave variety; young children crave repetition. They themselves are changing so rapidly that they need a stable external environment, and—along with familiar surroundings and a consistent caregiver—this includes the basic sequence of events in their day, their week and their year.
First of all, children need freedom of movement. From the moment of birth they are engaged in a process to grow and develop their bodies, brains and emotional life through movement. As they continue to acquire more skills, from walking on tiptoe to jumping rope, they stimulate the brain and form a firm basis for later learning, as well as for a confident and flexible approach to life.
In the feeling realm, the child’s imagination also needs to develop freely. When a child is surrounded with images and play objects that are not too “finished,” their natural powers of image creation step in, and grow ever stronger. A well developed imagination allows the child to move into adulthood ready to explore what is possible and not just what already exists.
Screen time reduces movement time, gives the child pre-existing pictures and thus adversely affects brain development.
It is astonishing how the child’s free, individual self manifests itself from the moment of birth, and some mothers even experience it during pregnancy. When we perceive this, we will treat the child as a being worthy of dignity and respect from day one. This does not mean giving in to every demand or entering into endless verbal debates; rather, we can strive to provide a model of calm, decisive authority, as well as gratitude and reverence for what is higher than us.
Childhood Falls Silent
Creating a Home for Body, Soul, and Spirit
Singing and Speaking the Child into Life
Trust and Wonder
Walking with our Children: The Parent as Companion and Guide
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