Welcome to the March Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindful Mama Challenge
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have challenges they’ve set for themselves toward becoming more mindful. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Beep beep, flash, whiz, ping! I don’t know about my son, but I can tell you that I have had enough of being surrounded by noisy overstimulating, toys which actually do very little except emit loud noises, voices or flashing light shows. I had always planned on my son only having natural toys. That is, toys made of wood, metal and natural fabrics, which are open ended, aid imagination and encourage exploration.
Then he had a Christmas, a birthday, another Christmas. People so generously bought him gifts but despite my strict guidelines, these toys began to slip through the net. And what am I to do, he loves them so much. Or does he?
These toys are actually not that interesting. You press a button, it revs up and the child’s involvement is just to repress the same button, or perhaps a different one to repeat the outcome. I must admit they are great as a temporary distraction, especially when a feisty toddler does not want to get dressed or have their teeth brushed. But they don’t hold his attention for very long. This means he will start one toy up, loose interest and move on to the next, press all those buttons then move on again. Sometimes there are 3 going at once and its enough to drive you (I mean me!) crazy!
I went through all the toys a few months back and stored away all the plastic noisy and unimaginative ones, keeping back our nicest things. A wooden garage with removable ramps and twisty handles. A big basket of books, wooden stacking rings and blocks. Soft rag dolls. Puzzles and shape sorters. All of these things can keep him entertained for long periods of time. He investigates them fully and they keep him interested as he continues to discover new uses for them. I set out areas using Waldorf techniques, uncluttered shelves and fewer toys.
It became a very calming environment. But it didn’t last long. The rest of the toys were stored away upstairs in the same room as the tumble dryer. Each time I went in to sort the laundry, my son would bring another toy back out with him again, until eventually, they were all back in our living areas.
I could give up and surrender to these uninspiring toys. But they go against my whole parenting approach, that is, to be as natural as possible. Nurturing this passion for blinky, noisy flashy things is only going to lead to a child who is obsessed with technology, lacks in imagination and is distanced from nature and REAL raw materials.
So I am biting the bullet and over the next month will be selling off these toys and in their place finding a few more traditional and natural play things. I don’t plan on a complete plastic ban as some of them do have multiple uses and keep his imagination fresh, but anything with a battery that has no real function is going. As a hoarder this challenge will be tough but I expect the calm serenity of our home to bloom and the overall effect to be positive.
Some good reasons to choose natural over plastic and battery operated toys -
*Better quality, longer lasting
*Open ended, aid imagination
*Healthier – no harsh chemicals that are found in plastics such as BPAs and other phthalates
*Avoids overstimulating which can result in irritability and behaviour issues
*Enhance the child’s attention span and focus.
Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!
- The Importance of a Moment Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama reflects on the need to slow down and breathe in life instead of rushing from one moment to the next.
- Mindful Playing With My Daughters Rani at Om She Said looked at her girls and realized that more than anything they wanted her right there next to them, playing, laughing, creating, and having fun; that’s exactly what she did!
- Watch Your Words Patti at Canadian Unschooler challenges herself to make her words a reflection of her intentions.
- The Mindful Benefits of Knitting Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares how knitting has helped lift her out of depression and has given her a new form of meditation.
- Self Compassion: How Thinking About Bad Experiences Can Make You Happier and More Compassionate CJ at Imperfect Happiness challenges herself to be more compassionate…with herself.
- Calming the Home Environment by Selecting Traditional Toys Sam at Love Parenting discusses the benefits of natural toys.
- Quieting my Infernal Inner Ramblings Tree at Mom Grooves writes about her commitment to get out of her head and into the moment with her daughter and husband.
- Changing Our Everyday The Aniweda Dream is sizing up the changes they’ve made by moving across the country and looking at how to make their lives more mindful as a family.
- A Mindful Cup of Tea Amy at The Daily Muttering tells how she’s trying to regain control of her life with the chaos of 3 kids thanks to the introduction of a simple daily ritual.
- Mindful Mama Moontime Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how becoming conscious of her moon time has helped her find balance in herself as a woman, and a mama.
- Speaking to the Need Shana at Tales of Minor Interest shares how she tries to stay mindful of her preschooler’s needs.
- Going Within Amy at Anktangle describes a centering practice she’s been being more intentional about lately, and which she has come to realize is a precious gift in her life.
- Waking Up With Meditation Amy at PresenceParents shares how awakening with presence carries her through the day.
- Mindful Meditations Zoie at TouchstoneZ explores six weeks of seated meditation and discovers some things she doesn’t expect.
- Mindfulness in the Kitchen – an Everyday Challenge Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she’s been challenging herself to involve more mindfulness in everyday tasks – especially in the area of cooking for her family.