I am excited to partner with Oak Meadow today to bring you this series on emotional health. This is part two of three and is all about finding freedom.
As I have been on my mini-journey of self-discovery this past month and seeking ways to promote emotional health in my little ones during these odd times, I stumbled upon a rather odd concept.
When I come up with ways to enable my little ones to feel free and discover a sense of freedom, they thrive. It is not all that surprising, really, given that so much of our children’s freedom has been limited recently.
It really is important that we support our children’s emotional health in this way, as feeling free is such an essential part of being human.
When I started to think of ways that I can ensure my children feel their freedom, I started to think about the toddler years. My littlest is just entering these (amazingly fun) years and is developing her very strong sense of likes and dislikes. A big way we support her during this is by offering her choices. ‘Would you like to wear the pink shirt of the blue shirt?’ These seemingly small choices allow her a sense of control – and in a way, freedom.
Thinking of this, I started to think how I could extend this to my older children. My other children already get to choose their own clothes, and I don’t really think they see this as a ‘freeing’ activity, but I thought we could use this same idea in another way.
My oldest son this year gets to decide when his school work gets done. He has all his pencil-paper work for the week in a file folder, nice and organized. Previously, he would do it every morning which would take him about 30-45 minutes a day. We then do ‘together’ unit study activities in the afternoon. Now, he is able to decide when he does this work. Some days he opts to not do it at all – which I can assure you, he finds very freeing! This then means he needs to still get that work done by Friday. (Lots of learning about time management will be coming naturally as well!)
My younger son has a very similar set up, but is a bit more supported as he makes his decisions.
A second way we are trying to have our home exude the feeling of freedom is by keeping our rhythm on an elastic band. I mentioned this in my previous post, Creating a Rhythm. By allowing our rhythm to stretch as needed, we are able to give our children the freedom to pursue things they are very interested in or engaged with.
For example, when we are outside, I am very aware of my children’s level of engagement. If they are fully immersed in play and really engaged I let that elastic band stretch and we stay outside longer. Similarly, when the children are playing LEGO and creating these beautifully elaborate ships, I try to let that elastic band stretch again, allowing them the freedom to stay in their flow.
There are certainly a lot of limitations we are currently facing, and our children feel it just as much as we do. Finding small ways to ensure our children know that they are free beings is very healthy and needed.
I encourage you to have a look at your day and consider ways you might be able to help your children find their feeling of freedom.
I want to thank Oak Meadow for sponsoring this series on Nurturing Emotional Health. Oak Meadow has a curriculum that is nice and flexible – perfect for families who have rhythms on elastic bands.The resource, Healthy Living from the Start is a wonderful one which promotes health and well-being in children.