Antes de que Mateo llegara a nuestras vidas yo escuche muchos, diferentes y variados comentarios acerca de como lograr que los niños duerman seguido y por largo tiempo. Esto hizo que mi esposo y yo nos dispusieramos a leer, aprender e informarnos acerca de este tema en profundidad. Especialmente porque yo tengo bien claro que soy una persona que necesita dormir bien, para sentirme fuerte, presente y dispuesta a cuidar de otros. Algo que llamo bastante mi atención fue la frase “A los bebes hay que enseñarles que se duerme de noche y se esta despierto de día, por supuesto mostrandoles con claridad la diferencia entre el día y la noche”. Fue entonces cuando yo comprendí que en realidad el nuevo ser no sabe nada de horarios o de tiempo, ni siquiera sabe distinguir entre la noche y el día.
The Living Arts: Nurturing
With an average of ten toddlers from the ages of 18 months to 3 years in an indoor space, there are times during the children’s free play when they need additional quiet rest times, that supplement the traditional afternoon nap. These “rest times” generally do not involve sleep, but allow children who have been hurt, anxious, overtired or overwhelmed to settle back into their bodies and gather themselves. These framed rest times positively affect the quality of the day not only for the individual who receives them, but for the other children and teachers as well. This allows for a more peaceful and fluid day all around.
"In our modern civilization, where all eyes concentrate on outer, material things, no attention is given to the state of sleep, although man devotes to it one third of his daily life. Never should it be thought that man is inactive while he sleeps. He is inactive only in so far as the outer external world is concerned but as regards to the health of his body, and more especially in the health of his soul and spirit, sleep is all important. True education can provide for a right life of sleep, for whatever activities belong to a man's waking hours are carried over into the conditioned of sleep, and this is especially the case with the child."
Rudolf Steiner, The Modern Art of Education
For young children, it is good to have very clear routines and rituals around sleep. It helps to think about what you are doing for the two hours before sleep, what you will do to prepare them for sleep, and what you will do when they first wake up. I call this "framing" sleep. The routines and rituals provide the frame.
Here is an example of a sleep frame:
An hour or two before nap, the children are outside playing. It is important that they have a full experience of the natural world and can play as freely as possible. When you bring them in, perhaps a special song or game gathers everyone together, and you playfully return inside.
As we respect the importance of rhythm in the life of the young child, creating a rhythm and space for rest time in our busy day at the Seaside Playgarden is critical to good health and well being. I want to share with you what we have done to create a quiet space for this special part of our day. During lunch break, the teachers create a space for rest in the sun room. The furniture is moved into the front room, and light blue curtains are hung in the doorways to define the space and the mood. Light blue soft flannel blankets and pillows are laid out on the circle rug for each child.
It’s a puzzle to me how and why so many of the Waldorf and LifeWays early childhood programs I have visited turn on some kind of mechanical device to make “white noise” when it’s time for nap. These teachers have heard and believe Rudolf Steiner’s indication that “the young child is all sense organ,” and they apply this understanding in a wide range of other activities. They wouldn’t think of putting a lullaby on a CD player before leaving the nap room, or playing recorded music during the morning. They go to great lengths to try to create a harmonious environment that surrounds the children with living sounds and are even likely to use a broom or carpet sweeper rather than whipping out the vacuum cleaner after snack, to avoid the noise. Yet they don’t hesitate to turn on a fan or the clothes dryer or a machine with recordings of static or nature sounds, all in the name of lulling the children to sleep and keeping them there.
Serenity writes: When I had my first son, Noah, I had to return to work quickly. I was lucky that as a private-duty nurse I was able to bring my baby to work with me and have him looked after by the wonderful loving family of my patients. I planned to practice attachment parenting and was a co-sleeping, baby-wearing, exclusively breastfeeding new mother. I was a happy new mom, but I always felt rushed through my day, trying to get everything done and be good at every role I played. I thought at the time that I should offer my son every educational gimmick on the market. I purchased programs that claimed to make my baby an Einstein and teach him to read as early as humanly possible, as well as other books and videos that are promoted throughout parenting magazines and baby registries.
Spring has arrived in Milwaukee, or at least it has officially begun according to the calendar. You can see buds popping up all over, as long as you have warm layers and a slicker on for it is raining and raining and raining some more. Actually, today it is flurrying! I know, I know, spring equals precipitation, right? In our household, it also currently involves taking care of sick kids. It began with sniffly noses and sore throats in my girls. No biggie – I could handle this. Then last Monday, I was woken up early by my son for some snuggling. This is not too unusual, especially since we just swapped the older two children’s toddler beds for twin beds, and they are still adjusting. Right after Lincoln whispered, “Mama…I love you,” he vomited, all over himself and his bed. Oh brother.
Bridget writes: My new baby, my third and probably last child, is almost six months old. I have only had the honor of calling her mine for mere months, but Nayana and I have a history that goes back years before the quiet October night when I held her fresh, slippery body in my arms for the first time. Back before my two boys were no more than wishes in my heart, whispers foretelling a girl in our family would come to me in times of solitude.
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