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Raising Peaceful Children: The Home! Fun 4 Kids! Freedom 4 Parents!


 


The holidays bring with them extra things to do. It’s always a wonderful idea to include the children whenever possible.  At the same time, it’s nice to have the option of having time to yourself and yet knowing your children are happy and contented.

 

Some years back I came up with the term “YES” Environments

“YES” Environments are spaces for children which are age-appropriate and allow for educational, fun and independent play. 


These give freedom to both child and parent.

 

I’ve found that when the play environment is inviting, and age- appropriate it allows for the child/ren to play independently of the parents.  This can create a most rewarding result, which is Fun 4 Kids and Freedom 4 Parents!  
 
THESE ENVIRONMENTS WORK BEST
WHEN YOU HAVE GIVEN SUFFICIENT ONE-ON-ONE TIME
TO YOUR CHILD 
OVER THE COURSE OF TIME!

(this will be the topic of a future blog post)

As I’ve reflected on the days when my children were little, I realized that I was a parent who needed some time to myself each day.  What I would do is set up environments where my children could be free, happy and independent. Then I could enjoy their joy and delight as I observed them at play.  They were always in my eye’s view, but I could be doing something independently. Such environments decrease children having to be dependent on the adult for every little thing.  In addition, such an environment allows children to be self-reliable and somewhat independent. 

              
               Characteristics of "YES"
                      Environments
 

A “YES” Environment allows a child to be engaged in fun age-appropriate independent activities. Thus, their behavior, for the most part, is accepted and agreeable to those around.  They here YES” much more than they hear “NO”!

 A “YES” environment allows a child to learn through trial and error, exploring his/her capabilities and to discover what s/he is able to do, without fear of rejection or ridicule.  This keeps him/her interested, contented and happy.

A “YES” environment allows the adult to be a “watchful observer”, sitting back, observing the child/ren and yet they are not the center of the child’s world during this time.  This gives freedom to both child and parent.

A “YES” environment develops a child’s self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem, because their actions are allowed, appreciated and respected. 
 

        Setting up a “YES” Environment for Children

            A “YES” environment can be created in a variety of places in your home. Actually each and every room can be a “YES” environment in some way.  My first child had cerebral palsy and was not  mobile for many years.  Because I would often move him from room to room with me, I wanted to always have a place for him to play and enjoy himself.       Thus I made every room in our home a “YES” space.  In this way he was always able to have freedom wherever we were in our home. 





OBSERVE your children and see what their play choices are in your home. 

 

ASK yourself these questions as you observe your children at play:



 

1.     Which rooms do they most often play in?

2.    What are the activities they most enjoy?

3.    Do they need to ask you for help often?

4.    What are the challenges they have during play time?

5.    Is it possible to set the room/s up in a way that allows for them to be more independent?  More self-reliant?

6.    Does the present environment work for them?

7.    Does the play environment allow for them to be creative?

8.    Does the play environment bring on boredom quickly?
 

RECORD your observations and your ideas.  Putting your ideas on paper makes them tangible.  You can refer to these in the future without having to rethink all that you observed.



 

The most workable rooms for such an  environment might be the child’s  bedroom, the family room and/or living room.  Wherever it is that your family hangs out most of the time is a good place for a “YES” environment.

Children love being with Mom and Dad, Grandma or Grandpa, so developing a play and work-space nearby is the best solution for all in most cases. 
 

CREATING THE YES ENVIRONMENT FOR YOUR CHILDREN:  

1.     Review the information you gained from your observation & think of how you could create an independent and fun space for your family. 

2.     Hold a Family Meeting with your children and talk about creating such a play space for them.  Ask them what they’d like to have in it.  Make suggestions too, based on your observations. 

3.     Consider the following possible ideas for your YES Environment, when talking to your children. 

 

·        Library of books

·        Desk space / table space / sized to fit your child

·        Pens/ papers/ art supplies / All easily accessible

·        Games/ easy to reach
*        Puppet stage/ puppets

·        Building blocks, Lego sets

·        Cards games

·        Various art supplies to create with

 
(If you take the time to teach your child/ren how to play with various materials /games over a period of time, they will honor the guidelines in most cases)
 
When children have activities that are of interest to them, set up in a way that allows for their creativity and independence, they feel empowered to express and enjoy themselves.

“YES” Environments do give children and adults the freedom to be their unique, individualistic self!
 
As I observe families in various settings, I see that in many homes, the children are extremely dependent on the parents; dependent for paper, crayons, tape, etc. (even at 7, 8 and 9 years of age)

  WHY might this happen?  Do the parents “want” such dependence, so they feel needed?  Perhaps they don’t know it could be another way. Or, perhaps they have not given sufficient one-on-one time to their children at other times. If a child does not have enough attention from the parent, the child will get it however he/she can. 
 
If you find you need support in creating such environments, please contact me.  I so enjoy supporting parenting in creating a wonderful home environment that works for everyone.

Happy creating,

Sharon




9 Comments to Raising Peaceful Children: The Home! Fun 4 Kids! Freedom 4 Parents! :

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Kim Shea on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 2:18 PM
One of my favorite Yes places to create was for reading. I loved to put pillows, blankets and library books in a corner of the landing on the stairs because it created a cozy spot to read or just look at the pictures. For another child, I made a little spot int the kitchen with loose leaf chai tea and a wooden mortar and pestle. It smelled so good as he pounded away lost in his own imagination.
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sharon on Monday, November 30, 2015 11:04 PM
Kim, I wanted to add a comment here about your special kitchen set up with the chai tea, wooden mortar and pestle where your son could pound away. This is so creative. Children do need such places where they can get lost in their own thoughts. So important. Thank you for sharing your special experiences!


Sharon on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 3:18 PM
Thanks Kim for your great example of a "YES" environment. The cozy reading place you created sounds wonderful! As does the chai tea retreat in the kitchen. It's so important to think of the child and their likes when setting up such a space. One of my remembrances was when I pulled one end of the sofa away from the wall in the family room and created this cozy area for my 2 year-old daughter's kitchen set. (her small stove, refrigerator and sink.) Your posting also brought to mind a wonderful poem called "Read". I will post it in a blog. Thanks Kim so much for your response.
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Alison McLean, The Sovereign Woman on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 7:30 PM
What a great concept, Sharon! I wish you were around when my step children were younger! So often, as a woman and step mom, I forget where I end and others begin. What a creative way to empower children and have some much needed alone time. I imagine children who are encouraged to be creative and explore on their own develop a healthy independence and sense of self esteem.
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sharon on Monday, November 30, 2015 11:12 PM
Thank you Allison for your comments here. I do believe that when children have enough one-on-one time with their parents, then having a safe and creative place for them to "be" and enjoy themselves can be very empowering. I do think it's a fine line for parents... and actually anyone, to know where our boundaries are;where we end and others begin. Sometimes, if I feel that my energy has strayed off, I'll actually reach my hands out and visualize putting my energy back to myself. Our minds are SO powerful! Thank you so much for sharing!


Pernilla Lilarose on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 11:48 PM
I Love how you honor the natural unfolding of each child and the importance for parents to support that unfolding. So often we have been molded into what our parents wanted us to be, maybe because they didn't get to Be that themselves and than it takes us a lifetime and thousands of hours of therapy and $$ :) to find back to our own mold. Lucky parents who get to read this blogpost and start applying it. My YES environment was always outside. I used to ride horses and work on farms. That's when I felt most Home ... and still do when I garden and work with the Earth.
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sharon on Monday, November 30, 2015 11:19 PM
It is so true Pernilla that often children are molded into what their parents weren't able to be! I remember a father of a 5 year old, already had his son in tennis lessons! You are so right, it often takes much effort to find our way home. And yet that journey, is a great lesson in itself. How wonderful you found your place in the outside world, as a child and continue that interest today. Recently, I've been looking at "who" I was as a child and have recognized some amazing things. 7 of my top interests/qualities today, I actually had in place at the age of 10! Thank you so much for your posting here.


Lesa on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 6:29 PM
Your "yes" environment reminds me of my experience in kindergarten, When we had time to play, we were free to play with anything in the room or outside in our fenced play area (separate from the playground of the older kids). This freedom was so profound that it has stayed with me my whole life.
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sharon ann wikoff on Thursday, December 24, 2015 4:33 PM
Lesa... your kindergarten sounds so special...and has given you such fond memories. That is wonderful! I do believe that allowing children to have "freedom within boundaries" is such an amazing experience. I do believe that we can give our self such freedom too. I play this game with myself... In my mind's eye, I draw a circle with nothing in it. THEN, I think of various aspects of my life...and bring into the circle only the things I 'really want to keep'. And a release the rest. Once when I was involved in TOOOOO many activities..this was SO healing. I let go of all the things I really didn't want to keep on keeping on with. That is so neat Lesa that you still remember you kindergarten experience! I wish you a holiday of much freedom!! Thanks so much for sharing!!
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