WHEN children go to school, everyone else in the family gets caught up with a web of concerns; from sending them off and taking them home, to cooking their meals, down to their homeworks and their grades. Often times, the little things that may help so much in the children’s learning and schooling are missed out. When we observe that our child is not performing well in school, parents would get alarmed and we ask where we went wrong or we strain our child with more pressure.
There are little things though that can really help our children as they learn, here are some:
1. Sleep. Our children need 8 to 12 hours of sleep daily – afternoon naps do not count, so instead of allowing them screen time, it is best to send them to sleep early at night. When the children are in bed, be sure to keep cellphones away from the room as they cause sleep disruption. According to Anthroposophic doctor Moon Maglana, parents have to consider that their children’s bodies are not yet strong enough to process radiation and this will harm their organs that are still developing.
2. Nutrition. Instead of loading your child with carbohydrates and other energy boosters that now come in the media with so much hype, feed your child with more fruits and vegetables. “But my bunso won’t eat veggies… What to do?” Start by eating vegetables yourself first, show them that you like your greens and fruits a lot. As children are beings of imitation, we have to strive to be worthy of emulation – and yes, that includes our attitude toward our food.
I have a student whose parents are so fond of okra, on the day when we would serve law-uy with okra, this child would ask for second or third serving. In my experience, the moment I stopped talking about how vegetables help the body and started eating in front of my children like I was really having the best meal in the world, my little girls picked up my psyche and are now vegetables and fruits fan. This also leads to addressing the next tip.
3. Daily Bowel Movement. In my few months of being a teacher, I noticed how children who are not able to poop in the morning are restless. I initially learned about this from a lecture by Teacher Bella Tan, the Manila Waldorf pre-school teacher for twelve years. At first, it seemed irrelevant but over time, and after discussion with parents, this almost unnoticed factor really helps children concentrate and listen more. To achieve this, it is best to feed your children with high fiber fruits like Papaya and Mangoes.
Of course, as adults, we know how terrible it is on days when we’re unable to dump. How much more for our children who are not yet totally aware of themselves but have to deal with their bodily activities already.
4. Rhythm. Our children need to understand that there is time for everything. There is time for outdoor play, time for indoor play, time to wash themselves, time to study, time to work, and of course, time to rest. As much as life has rhythms, and we clearly see this in our breathing in and breathing out, establishing rhythms in our homes after school will help them deal with life’s ebb and flow.
This also means that, as parents, we are responsible for our children’s breathing in and breathing out activities. We cannot make them “study hard” all the time and deprive them of the joy of play. We now know the essential need of play to a child, just as toiling is essential to adults.
5. Gadget Regulation. Loads of research about the harmful effects of gadgets and its radiations can be found on the internet. Ideally, a child from age 0-7 should have no exposures to these gadgets. It’s interesting to note that people in Silicon Valley, especially those in the executive posts if technological companies do not allow their children to touch the gadgets their companies made and are sending their children to Steiner-Waldorf Schools children are prohibited from using gadgets until they reach a certain age.
Personally, I have seen how these gadgets have hampered the learning processes of children. Those who go through frequent media exposures have a hard time imagining things for themselves. All they could do is copy the things that were fed to them by the media. On the other hand, children who have very limited exposure are able to hold out to their play imaginatively and this also appears in their artworks and their stories.
6. You. It is difficult to think through the needs of our children, even moreso, changing our lifestyles for them. But at this point, I’ll say this truth that we, parents, have been avoiding. If we want to raise our children well, then we should also raise ourselves better. Being gifted with children requires not just providing them things but to actually think through about their growth as human beings. If we want to teach them something then we must learn to be that lesson first. We cannot tell our children, “Do as I say but do not copy what I do.” Children learn by heart and we ought to respect this process in order for us to grow inside too.