Browsing Category

TV and Media

Childhood, Parenting, TV and Media, Waldorf Education

Weekend Reading

Well, September 1 has come and gone. It was the date I had hoped to get the new and improved Bella Luna Toys website live. I didn’t make my original goal, but I am determined to open its doors to you before the month is over.

Plugging away around-the-clock, as I am—editing product descriptions, uploading photos, and adding scores of new natural Waldorf toys—has left me with very little time to do much writing. (Even though I have dozens of ideas percolating!)

In the meantime, I thought I’d leave you with some interesting reading for the long weekend. Here are a few of my favorite blog posts from the past week on the themes of childhood and parenting.

Did you know that spanking is illegal in Sweden?

spanking Sweden

Photo by Linda Aslund

Today on her blog Not Just Cute, Amanda Morgan writes about Sweden’s anti-spanking laws, and offers gentle suggestions for positive discipline (that won’t require calling in law enforcement officials!).

No Spanking in Sweden

Watch What You Say! Young Children Affected by “Racy Talk.”

One of my favorite sites focused on children and media (and my favorite guide for learning what movies may not be appropriate for children and teens) is Common Sense Media. This week, Caroline Knorr addresses a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics that determined that “racy talk” and suggestive innuendo doesn’t go over young children’s heads. (Another pet peeve of mine when it comes to Disney movies.)

Racy Talk: Kids Are Listening (and Learning)

Are Our Fears Making Us Crazy?

Another of my favorite bloggers, Lenore Skenazy at Free Range Kids writes about the insane ways in which we behave, propelled by our fears of the all the possible dangers that are waiting to befall our children. On a lighter note, she addresses the absurd comment of a produce distributor that watermelon seeds could pose a choking hazard.

Kids! Watch Out! It’s — God Help Us — a Watermelon Seed!

And more seriously, she recounts a young man’s experience of being harshly and unfairly disciplined in high school for carrying a pocket knife. In his native Switzerland, it was customary for children to carry pocket knives to school. What, I wonder, would public school officials think about the many Waldorf early childhood teachers I know who give a pocket knife to each of their students on his or her sixth birthday? Call the spanking police, no doubt!

The Most Insane Zero Tolerance Story Yet

There you have it. Now I need to batten down the hatches in preparation for Tropical Storm Earl, which is scheduled to hit the coast of Maine this evening. I hope the weather is better where you are, and that your Labor Day weekend is full of play!

What blog posts have intrigued or inspired you this week? Please share your links!

You Might Also Like

Childhood, Parenting, TV and Media, Waldorf Education

Toy Story 3: Great Fun, but Is It for Young Children?

Last month, my younger son William and I saw Toy Story 3 in New York City in 3D. I loved it! Yes, you read that right. Miss Sarah, the anti-media-for-young-children Waldorf teacher, absolutely loved Toy Story 3.

Those of you who’ve seen it know that the ending is a tearjerker, but I nearly melted in a puddle of my own tears, thoroughly embarrassing my 15-year-old son. The movie was especially heart-rending for me because my older son Harper is the same age as Andy, the boy to whom the toys belong.

Harper was about four years old when the original Toy Story was released. At the time, we lived in Hollywood, my husband was working in the entertainment industry, and we were invited to the premiere. As perks, we were given full-size Woody and Buzz Lightyear toys, which Harper played with for years.

In Toy Story 3, things have progressed in real time. Andy has grown up and is getting ready to head off to college. And guess what? Harper is 18 now and leaving for college in a few short weeks. Like Andy, he is in the process of saying goodbye to his toys, his childhood, and his parents, so the poignant ending of Toy Story 3 left me crumpled in a sea of wet tissues.

Not only did Toy Story 3 have personal relevance for me, but I also appreciated its compelling story, great dialogue, engaging characters, and its technological sophistication. It’s the first movie I’ve ever seen in 3-D, and it really was a marvel, perhaps one of the best animated movies ever made.

But in spite of my enthusiasm for the movie, I would not recommend it for children under nine. Bracing myself for the backlash, I can already hear the cries of protest: “But it’s rated G!” “We took our four-year-old to see it and he LOVED it!” “Come on, it’s Disney. It’s wholesome family fun.”

Let me explain my thoughts . . .

Continue Reading

You Might Also Like

Giveaway, Homemaking, Parenting, Play, TV and Media, Waldorf Books, Waldorf Education

Making a Family Home by Shannon Honeybloom. Interview and Free Giveaway!

I became a fan of Shannon Honeybloom as soon as I first laid eyes on her beautiful book, Making a Family Home. Not only was I thrilled with its beautiful photographs and ideas on how families of young children can create a more beautiful, nurturing and rhythmic home life, but I was also amazed to learn how much Shannon and I have in common!

Not only do Shannon and I share backgrounds as actors, but we also have both authored books, gone to NYU, lived in Brooklyn, and received an M.S. in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Sunbridge College in Spring Valley, NY. What are the chances? Though we have never met in person, Shannon feels like a soul sister to me (albeit a younger sister!).

Over the course of the past year, we’ve enjoyed a series of lovely e-mail exchanges. I told Shannon how much I wish her book had been available while I was teaching Waldorf Parent/Child classes. I would have liked to put a copy in the hands of every parent in my class. So naturally I was thrilled when Shannon offered a copy Making a Family Home as a giveaway to readers of Moon Child. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce you to Shannon and get to know her a little better.

Making a Family Home

Shannon Honeybloom, Author of Making a Family Home

SARAH: You know that I am a big fan of your book Making a Family Home. Can you tell us what led you to write it?

SHANNON: When my first child was born, it was a really crazy time for me.  As any new parent knows, one’s world is instantly transformed when baby arrives! I was thrilled to be a mother, but I really had no idea about what it meant to be a mother and to raise children. I started to think about motherhood, caring for a family, and making a family home.  I realized that a happy, healthy home is so important for children, and gives them a strong foundation for their future success and happiness.

Those thoughts and concerns, that early confusion, and also exploring early childhood education and homemaking in a graduate program setting, all provided the spark for Making a Family Home.

SARAH: Can you tell us a little bit about your family and the rhythm of your days?

SHANNON: I have three children–two sons, ages 7 and 9, and a 4-year-old daughter.    They are all in school now, so that provides the big daily rhythm for us, and we tuck in other routines around it.

We wake in the mornings, and to make things easy and smooth, we have already picked out their clothes the night before.  After breakfast (something like pancakes, or on busier days, cereal with toast and fruit) we head off for school.

After school we try to keep extra activities to a minimum and really allow the children to play. Childhood is fleeting and the most important thing children can do is play freely.  Of course, we do have some scheduled activities. My older son loves to play golf, so we have a golf lesson, or a game now and then; and we have swimming lessons in the warmer months.

After dinner, the children get ready for bed.  Our bedtime routine is well established–we light a candle, read a book, say a verse, sing a lullaby, and lights out.  When days are busy and crazy, I treasure that quiet moment in the evening with my children.

SARAH: What effect do you think a child’s environment has on her behavior and sense of well-being?

SHANNON: Everything affects all of us, but children’s senses are especially sensitive to their environment.  Noise, temperature, color, texture, light, and smell all affect us in some way.  Creating a nurturing space for children is about paying attention to how the senses are affected in each moment.  If the television is blaring, if the colors and shapes are hard and garish, if the temperature is frigid, then all those things make us feel and act in certain ways.

If, on the other hand, a room is comfortable, relaxed, and quiet; if the light is gentle, the colors harmonious, and the furniture soft; then that affects us in a certain way, too.  We can bring consciousness to our homemaking in order to create a healthy environment for our children.

If we feel comfortable in our bodies, if our senses are nourished, if we are filled with a sense of well-being, then we are free to pursue our life’s work, whatever that may be!

SARAH: I’ve met many parents who express a desire to transform their home from a place of disorganized chaos to a more nurturing, rhythmic and peaceful environment. The task can seem daunting and overwhelming, and parents often don’t know where to begin. Are there three simple actions you can recommend to take as first steps?

  • Declutter/Simplify. Release stuff from your life and from your schedule, too.  Making a nurturing home is ultimately about nurturing the relationships in the home, it’s not about all the stuff you can buy.  Focus on the people in the home and not on the stuff.
  • Simplifying life goes hand-in-hand with de-cluttering. Try to simplify things just a little bit.  It’s hard these days–there is so much to do!  Try and cut back a little, and instead of always being on the run; stop, slow down and spend time with the people you love.
  • Unplug. Resisting the constant temptation of email, the computer, and cell phone is definitely a challenge for me, but the constant chatter of all these machines is not helpful if one is trying to live in the moment.  I try to find time to really unplug from these gadgets and simply be in the moment with the people I love.  Being with someone–a child or an adult–and showing interest in him or her, is a way to demonstrate your love. But if your interest and attention are always being pulled away by electronic gadgetry, then that is a loss.
  • Love. Which brings me to my last tip, love.  Making a nurturing home for your family is one way to express your love for them.

SARAH: What are you doing with your life right now? (Besides the important job of parenting!) Are you finding time to pursue acting?

SHANNON: I try to find time to write and act.  I have some really exciting acting projects right now; one is an independent film that is shooting in July.  What I do artistically nourishes me, and in turn, helps me to nourish my family.

SARAH: How do you juggle your various activities and keep balance in your life?

SHANNON: It’s not always easy, but I try.  I think just being aware of the importance of balance is a great start.  When things get crazy and hectic, I try to step back and slow down.  Right now I am enjoying yoga and that helps me to breathe and find a moment of peace amid life’s chaos.

SARAH: Is there anything new you’re working on? What is the best way for readers to keep abreast of your work?

SHANNON: I have some writing projects that I am working on in addition to the film project that I mentioned earlier.

SARAH: Thank you so much, Shannon, for sharing your time with us and for the wonderful gift of creating Making a Family Home!

Shannon Honeybloom

Win a Free Copy of Making a Family Home!

For a chance to win a free copy of Making a Family Home, simply leave a comment before Monday, July 12 at 8 a.m. EST, at which time I will close the comments and select a winner at random from all the entries received.

For a multiple chances to win, please spread the word about this giveaway! Blog about it, Tweet about it, or share it on Facebook. Leave additional comments noting each action taken.

The Giveaway is open to all, but a winner outside of the continental U.S will be responsible for shipping charges.

Lots of luck!

You Might Also Like