Saturday, August 3, 2013

Your baby and child don't need toys

Your baby and child don't need toys:
By Naomi Aldort
Author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves

Our babies are best off with human connection and with nature and the arts. Everything else seems to me like a substitute and less than the best, so I examine it carefully. Is this toy developing the baby’s intelligence? How can you know? You don’t. You know they want to sell it to you and that’s the real motivation behind marketing of toys and most products. This is all you can know. Your baby or child may master that toy and it looks complicated and requires brain power. But what it does to the total development you cannot know. You can use things; I only suggest not to believe in their value. 

Your baby does not need toys. Your child does not need toys. Toys did not exist until recent history. I grew up with one stuffed monkey that was repaired a couple of times, a couple of board games, a ball (for a limited time) and a rope. I did have a piano and attended classical music concerts. My best childhood memories are of pretend games with my brother, outdoor games with neighborhood kids with sticks, ball, acting, running and imagination, singing and dancing. These things are nature/God’s brain developing plan. Can we top it with substitutes? I doubt it.

The industry wants to sell their products. More rooms (one for each child which is more furniture, toys etc), more gadgets, more things and even artificial experiences. Many of these make children more addicted and dependent on external stimulation and less self-reliant.

I invite you to go “raw” with parenting. Raise your own child directly, with eye contact, talking, reflecting, singing, listening to music, dancing, acting, touching the earth, smelling its aroma, sitting in a puddle getting messy, gazing at a butterfly and laughing together for no reason at all. 

Notice that the most joyous moments of your life are when you are with those you love; connected and surrendering to the moment.

You want your child to know so much. Why? So he will be happy! But he is already happy. Be with his happiness so he can keep this joy alive and familiar. Why train the baby out of her natural inclination for being exuberant and thriving on human connection? We don’t need anything. Nature didn’t goof nor missed anything. It gives us for free the greatest joy of all in every moment.

Sure, use gadgets and modern comforts as much as you want. But when you remember that you don’t really need any of it for you to be happy, you are free to enjoy life in the moment. Don’t believe anything! And, empower your children not to believe anything. 

Without believing that your baby and child need toys or other stimulation, you save money and you spend more time relaxing and enjoying your child.
(You don’t need to spend time to earn as much money; you spend less time on shopping and on cleaning; more time with your child.) 

If your child could be an adult for a minute and reflect back to you about her own childhood, she would say, “I wish you spent more time with me.” No need to feel guilty for any kind of substitute you do use; only to cherish the moments that you do have with your child and know: YOU are the best and most educational “toy” your baby and child have.

©Copyright Naomi Aldort

Thursday, July 18, 2013

When Your Child is Bored

When Your Child is Bored
By Naomi Aldort

I have often pointed out that boredom is good for your child; a great learning tool. It forces the child (and adult) to be in the now and generate presence which is always exciting and expanding. It is what propels true learning, self-awareness and inner connection.

What I have not focussed on is the reason a child would even see herself or himself as “bored.” What does this concept mean? Without being taught other concepts, it would not occur to a human mind to be “bored.”

“Bored” implies something missing. What is that something? What is missing? Only a mind that assumes that something outside of the experienceof “being” has to happen, will conceive of anything ever missing in the moment.

A mind can only learn from human made experience that one must be constantly busy and stimulated or entertained. Only a mind addicted to such over stimulation would see itself as “missing” something when being with no external engagement. In other words, we are teaching children today to be addicted to distraction from the here and now. We teach the child to “need” the next “dose” of “something” to stimulate her/him.

To undo some of this trend, find times for yourself and your child to enjoy being in the moment with nothing to distract the nature of being.When your child says “I am bored,” respond with, “Good. Enjoy.” Depending on the child’s age you can add things like, “Enjoy being quiet with yourself.” Or, “Yes, that is a wonderful chance to just notice things... feel your breath, marvel nature...” etc.

My children and I used to (and still do) stand without uttering a sound in the dark of the night in the forest and “listen” to the silence... feeling presence... hearing the heart beat, breath, wind, oneness.

Be a model of not rushing to fill your time with activities, computer, even reading and talking. Demonstrate the value of stillness, being present, and of not seeking distraction from who we are. Include family meditation, or a silent walk in nature, in your daily living. Model valuing presence, stillness and a space of nothingness which allows our true being to shine in the moment.

©Copyright Naomi Aldort