Heart Parenting
& Montessori

To Educate the
Heart and Mind
of the child





Parenting for the future of civilization...

Pointers For Parents

  Presented by Christine Maestri


1.   Pretend summer is over, and think of the things that you wished you had done with your children, but didn't. Make a list of them. Now you are in the wonderful position of being able to complete that list, it's just August!

And a helpful guideline for choosing what to do with your children is ..... will this give my child a skill or understanding. Remember, a simple definition for self esteem is the ability to say "I can". Each time a child can say this she knows she can do this, and intuitively it gives her a feeling of confidence. This confidence affects how she feels about herself and how she feels about the world.

So look at the list and see which items would let your child say "I can.....". 'I can identify a brown nursery spider' (you had been meaning to buy an insect guide book, identify the insects in your area, and make a chart of them with your child). 'I can swim' 'I can dive' (somehow those lessons have not fit into the family schedule), 'I can run a lemonade stand.' One can see how the list begins to grow.

Also include on the list items that will give your entire family a feeling of self esteem. In this regard, it is usually the family doing something together for someone else. So what about cleaning up the area by the bus stop, what about weeding and putting in a rock garden there? A little sign - 'Donated by the ...... family.' Or organizing a block party, a street garage sale with a pot luck at your house afterwards.

Make your list, and maybe August will be the best month of the summer!

2.   Children love crowns and particularly in the summer they love to have crowns of flowers. Anyone who has sat and slit dandelion or daisy stems with their finger nail, woven flowers in, tried to tie the stems into a knot, and then given it to a child to see it fall apart a short time later, will love this idea. Make a crown by braiding raffia or twine. One could add a ribbon to each braid and leave streamers for a more festive look. This will be a permanent base that is easy to braid, easy to knot and will last indefinitely. Then slip flowers in-between the braiding. The children can do this simple project. When the flowers wilt, slip them out and hang the crown to be used again. The crown will then hold all the memories of different play adventures with friends.

3.   This is the time of year it is easy to gather flowers or grasses for drying. Always gather at noon for the flowers are driest at this time. Straw grass, fox tails, Queen Anne's lace, tansy, yarrow and baby's breath are good choices. And a clever way to dry and display the dried finery is to tie it with a ribbon and hang the bouquet on a door knob. Use a slip knot so the weight of the flowers will keep the knot tight. It is a simple way to dry them and a door knob is a handy place as well. Each time one sees the flowers, they are a pleasant reminder of the sunny day they were picked.

4.   It's August and it's time for a lemonade stand – a child’s selling project. Children love the fun of selling, interacting with customers, making signs and setting up the display, and, of course, planning what to do with their earnings. Although the lemonade stand is the classic, one might want to consider a watermelon stand. Selling slices of watermelon for 10 cents is easy, nutritious, and is just as refreshing. Older children may enjoy doing a face painting stand. One may invest in professional face paints, but non toxic temperas work just as well. The success secret here is to have a menu of designs that the children who want their face painted can choose from. This gives your children the opportunity to practice painting those designs and eliminates the overly complicated requests. One might also want to experiment with painting flower bracelets. Paint a flower bracelet on the wrist or ankle.....four red flowers with a twisting green vine between. What a fun way to spend the day, selling watermelon and painting ankles!

5.   The treasure circle is a wonderful solution for all the little treasures that are given to a parent or caregiver on a day at the beach or outing in the woods. Our pockets fill up, our hands are already full, and yet, here is another beautiful pebble or interesting branch that become a token to be accepted by you. One always wants to be gracious and receive the 'giving' of a child. So draw a circle in the sand, and tell your child this is the treasure circle and that whatever treasures one finds can be put there. This frees you to read or think or find your own treasures. At the end of the outing, you and your child will have the fun of examining all the treasures in the treasure circle together. At this point you can decide which items truly qualify as treasures to be taken home. The treasure circle allows for the fun of discovery and conversation in the selection process. Choosing is as much fun as finding a treasure.

6.   Children love to imitate and one way to imitate art is to trace it. You may remember the tracing coloring books, for some reason, I always loved them. Purchase some onion skin paper or tracing paper and show your child how to use it. For younger children paper clip or use a clip board to hold the tracing paper in place. Let them trace something they love.... airplanes, animals, or ballerinas. The tracing provides excellent fine motor development, and the actual learning of the lines that will create those shapes. It's an indirect art lesson of sorts. After tracing, suggest that your child color the object with the art medium they prefer. Children will enjoy the success of this art work and the magic of a picture appearing on the paper.

Christine Maestri's monthly column has easy to implement ideas for gentle and effective parenting, and lots of fun projects that instruct.

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