Tag Archives: environment

Losing Control without Losing it

Bec Carey

We have spoken about letting go, stepping back and allowing the children to explore  their own urges. We have encouraged you to promote more time outdoors, unstructured and in nature. We have advocated for  children’s right to play, to be free and be active decision makers. We have asked you to view children as capable independent beings. We have shared evidence and knowledge on the benefits of all of this…..we have told you that trust is an essential ingredient in Raw&UnearthedPLAY. But what about you?! While you stand there watching your child/ren swing through the trees and turn your lounge room into a shop/zoo/village and use everything in their reach that isn’t tied down to build their ahhhmazing triple deck pirate ship…..you feel overwhelmed and  I bet you can’t help but feel a case of the ‘whats’.

What if- someone spontaneously pops in for a visit and sees my messy house?

What will- parents/owners/visitors think of the messy preschool room?

What will- people think of my mud covered always dirty children?

What happens- when we need to attend something structured?

What if- people think i am just a lazy parent?

What will- the other Educators think of my practice?

What will- happen when they go to school?

What if What if What if!  

The only way to get rid of a case of the ‘whats’ is to stop caring what other people may think, and it may also help to stop comparing your parenting/early childhood practice to the heavily edited perfection that streams through your Facebook feed. It’s time to get real. Have fun. Enjoy life. Stop worrying what others may think. Just breathe and remember play is messy, children need space and time to test out ideas and  what others think doesn’t matter. If you aim to inspire others instead of conforming to societies ‘ideal perfection’ of perfectly behaved quiet children, you will find that you can lose control with out,  losing it.

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The ‘Perfect’ Family photo…

Let’s rewind a few years when I was at the pool with my then 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son. My 4 year old was having her weekly swimming lesson so naturally my 2 year old had to tag along. If you have met him, you will know he is a bundle of energy with a love of risky play. As we watched I couldn’t help but notice ALL the other 6 attending younger siblings were strapped in prams, glued to iPADs. I was absolutely gobsmacked! These babies we muted, unaware of their surroundings and unable to move. My own 2 year old was of course swimming in the shallows in his clothes, with a massive smile plastered on his face. While admittedly I was judging their choice of the ipad use, the early childhood teacher in me can’t help it, I can guarantee they were all judging and probably labeling me #badmum and my son #uncontrollable. Luckily for my son his happiness and development matters more to me than others’ judgments and I didn’t freak out and try to gain control, I went with it. At the forefront of my practice, I know the benefits of losing control and this enables me to not completely lose it in these type of situations.

 

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NOTE: ‘These types of situations’ like that time I lost my 6 year old…..can you see her?           Hint: Red Pole. 

While I understand the juggling act of parenting- lets keep it real, I didn’t even have spare clothes with me that day at the pool. I just cannot fathom the benefit of providing a baby with an iPad. They are missing ALL the fun- say clothed swims and nudie car rides home! Sadly, I have noticed more and more babies being offered ipads in prams in various places- it seems to have become the norm. Recently I was asked by a medical receptionist if I thought an iPad was a good Christmas present for her 2 year old grandson. Needless to say my answer was ‘No, buy him something that he can use outdoors!’  These scenarios led me to reflect the reasoning of using ipads for babies. The only thing I could come up with is that it is to keep them quiet, entertained and distracted so they don’t disturb others. Am I wrong?  I am wondering when society suddenly decided that children should be seen and not heard again? In some cases not even seen…yes cranky man who told me a cafe was no place for children, I am talking about you! (Insert heated discussion re:children’s rights here, wrong person to approach buddy!)

But what if we changed our case of the ‘whats’ to a case of the ‘ifs’…..

If- we all let go and stopped worrying about others’ opinions?

If- we let children be?

If- we let children experience boredom?

If- we stopped overstimulating our children?

If- we all started to be honest?

If- we all supported each other instead of judging?

If we did all this, we would all be able to let go of our need to control all situations and allow the children to be, without judgment. When I am out and about and I see a child testing out ideas and advocating for their right to play, (sometimes puddles just scream to be jumped in!) There is usually a nervous stressed parent nearby and I love sparking a conversation with them, easing their qualms. Of course it helps that my own children have usually dived head first into the puddle alongside their child. These conversations will spread the word and allow us to not feel judged or lose it when our children push the (tight) boundaries society has created for them. It’s time to loosen those boundaries, let the fun begin!

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Trolley rides on the street in Pyjamas……why not?!

So here you are standing watching your child/ren swing through the trees and turn your lounge room into a shop/zoo/village and use everything in their reach that isn’t tied down to build their ahhhmazing triple deck pirate ship……you take a deep breath in and smile knowing your child is becoming strong, creative, independent and that their imagination is well and truly alive. You feel satisfied that they will continue to grow and become stronger and be equipped to take on life challenges they are faced with. As you breathe out you relax, you have let go of the need to over control without losing it because you don’t care what others may think. You know childhood is such a small moment of time in the bigger picture. It may take time to adjust, to feel comfortable to fully let go of trying to control. During this time I recommend coffee. Lots of coffee. There isn’t much a double shot espresso can’t fix.

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This is what losing control without Losing it looks like! So much fun play for the child and a calm, satisfied parent nearby. Trusting relationships, understanding and living life to the fullest! 

Organically Connected

Bec Carey

Becoming connected with nature is more than just spending time outdoors,  climbing trees and rolling through the mud. Although, that is a great first step not to mention loads of fun! Connection to nature can go deeper. It can spread all the way into your house, at your kitchen table, onto your shopping lists and into your rubbish bins. It takes time to evolve wholeheartedly as it slowly becomes part of who you are, not just something you do.

By taking that first step to reconnect, you begin to appreciate the natural world. It is from here that your connection can become more, it can go deeper, grow beyond and, you can make a difference.

 How can we make a difference and promote a deeper organic connection to nature?

  • Start a plan of action to share nature with others, get them outdoors too. Invite them for bush walks, go on a picnic, even google earth your local community to find hidden pockets of nature.
  • Research what’s happening in your local community, attend local events, join a Bush Care group, or  a Community Environment Network Group.
  • If you’re not feeling very social that’s ok, you can still make a difference in your own home by making a few changes to your routine. Reflect on your day to day habits and embed sustainability into your household, the perfect place to explore sustainable practice.

Do your current habits portray how much you really appreciate and care for the world we live in? The world that we share with others and the future generations to come. As far as I know NASA has not discovered a spare Earth hidden in a cupboard in a galaxy far far away, so we need to protect and preserve the one we have or tomorrow will never come.

As we drove down our street the other day, my 6 year old daughter asked me why the red rubbish bins on our street were smaller than the yellow recycling ones. Being the Early Childhood Teacher that I am, rather than providing a direct answer, I prompted her to think critically about her query to see what she could come up with.

Her thoughts:

“Maybe it’s because people have to recycle more and don’t have too much rubbish because it’s rubbish and you can’t recycle it. Like we recycle everything and we don’t buy stuff like packages. Our stuff goes in the recycling and sometimes I use it to make stuff too, like for art. And Mummy we do the compost too so our family only needs a little red bin, so that’s good.”   

I had to chuckle at her next comment as we continued to drive down the street….

“Mummy, look everyone’s red bins are really full. I think they have too much stuff”

I felt proud of her analogy and prouder to tell her that our family only fills up half of the red bin each week (I only discovered this last week when I went to bring my bin in only to discover the garbage collectors were apparently on strike) This realisation was comforting as we  mindfully buy minimum packaging, recycle, reuse and compost too, so it was nice to see the positive impact our household has on minimising landfill. I watched as her face unfolded from serious to a smirk as she exclaimed, “We are good at rubbish, aren’t we!” 

Well I am not sure ‘being good at rubbish’ earns you any sort of credit, but it certainly got me thinking. I reflected on my own values, practices and growth and noted how overtime I have changed, emerged and adjusted my skills, practices and outlook on life. I feel more connected to the natural world. I feel like I am making a difference, and if anything it feels empowering to notice the change within myself and the effect you can have on others, especially your own children or children in your care.

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Click here for more fun comics!

A few years ago, overwhelmed and frustrated by mass production, I began a mission to try and buy mainly from local businesses. My new journey led me to discover local organic produce, simple whole food ingredients and quality handmade items from markets. I also became a bit of an army general when it came to reducing waste and reusing in our household, just ask my partner he loves my smelly compost pile.

 

Admittedly I began this journey due to health reasons (I’m Coeliac and my own children become crazy, monstrous versions of themselves when they eat sugar laden, preservative food). With self-research, I built on my knowledge of healthy cooking and sustainable practices. I have always been a bit of a self proclaimed ‘health nut’ but with a few tweaks and new ideas, I managed to simplify, think ahead and plan effectively. Naturally my whole family are part of the journey, although not always willing participants to share their load in taking out the compost, they are always ready to share the values and learn about the purpose behind my actions. Values and actions that they will in turn be able to share with others throughout their life. Little Eco Footprints  is a great blog to follow for sustainable ideas and how to live better with less. It is a journey I am still on, learning new ideas and building on practices every day. Did you know it’s so easy to make your own cleaning sprays, completely chemical free, environmentally friendly and they smell delicious!

Along with my #foodie overhaul, my new journey grew organically and led me out of the kitchen and into every other room of my house. I watched as my children’s belongings grew overtime with gifts. Although we are so grateful for those that gift to our children, possessions quickly  overtook the storage space we had. I knew there had to be a better way, a more ethical, sustainable and thoughtful practice to explore. I tried, ‘One gift per child’ strategy, ‘Local & Handmade Christmases’, ‘Donating to others in need’, ‘Experiences not objects’  and even a, ‘No toys please’ rule. While some of these approaches were more successful than others, each of my moments of advocacy planted the seed of awareness, they made people think. As we know, it is awareness that we need to create the change that we desire. As a family we aim to be more sustainable in our own gift giving, even gift wrapping. Did you know fabric squares, newspaper comics and who gives a crap  toilet paper packaging make excellent sustainable gift wrap?

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FUN!

 Whether it’s reconnecting with neighbours to share garden produce, buying from local businesses to support your own community, visiting markets to purchase handmade gifts and delicious homemade goodies or becoming the Christmas Grinch and requesting one present per child from others, you can be a part of the change. You can be part of something bigger, connecting people not only to each other but supporting them to make sustainable choices and reducing the impact we have on our environment and wonderful world.

Our children are living in the world we, as adults have created for them. Many are over stimulated, under nourished and disconnected to the impact we have on the natural world. As human beings, we are a part of the natural world, so lets really become a part of it. Get active and involved, get children involved!  Let them become responsible for nurturing and caring for produce gardens, teach them to cook from scratch, role model recycling, reusing and reducing waste. Become mindful of your actions and practice. Our actions and guidance now will influence the children not only of today but the children of tomorrow too.

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Source: Google images

If you are keen to jump aboard local businesses and are on the Central Coast, these are some of the local suppliers that I use. The best thing about them? (apart from their delicious produce of course), is that they ALL do home delivery! See, convenience  doesn’t have to come in a pre-packaged, sugar laden, excess salt, preservative packed treat! #winning

Organic produce:

https://nurtured-earth.com.au/

Organic butcher:

http://www.coastwidemeats.com.au/index.html

Local markets:

http://www.localmarketguide.com.au/735-markets-on-the-central-coast#.V1jOH5F96M8

Pure Deliciousness:

https://lovingearth.net/our-products.html

Toilet paper, tissues & paper towel (also available through Nurtured Earth)

https://au.whogivesacrap.org/

Other ideas to create change in your own home…

  • Start a compost
  • Grow your own herbs or vegetables
  • Use a keep cup for your take-away coffees
  • Pack a waste free lunchbox for school
  • Bake your own delicious treats
  • Reuse jars, containers and bottles
  • Participate in Plastic Free July
  • Be creative with left overs!

Remember any change no matter how small will make a difference. Together we’ve got this, tomorrow will be safe. Don’t forget to share your journey with us too.