In our new Spring 2021 issue, our resident parenting expert Anna Cole wrote about the inherent imaginative capacity that children possess … and how we can meet them in the realm of dreams. Read on to enjoy a sneak peek!
We were enthralled by a beautifully simple, yet deeply profound concept that our gardening expert Hans Wieland put forward in our Spring 2020 issue: there should be a garden in every school. Hans passionately expressed what an empowering initiative this would be for children all over the country, helping them to learn more about where their food comes from, whilst cultivating a deeper connection with the Earth. Read his amazing article below!
In this sneak peek of the Positive Parenting article from our Spring issue, Anna Cole compassionately addresses the issue of parental guilt: an all-too-common emotion to those who always strive to do their best for the children in their care. You can read the full article by picking up a copy of the Spring issue, or subscribing to have it delivered straight to your door.
By Anna Cole
‘Guilty feet have got no rhythm.’
The longer I work with parents, and the longer I am a parent, the more I realise that we all feel truck-loads of guilt. We instinctively don’t want our children to get hurt. Ever. We ardently wish we could make a perfect life for them. But, unfortunately, we don’t have the power to protect our children from all the hurts we wish we could: the loss of a beloved family member that knocked you, and them, for six; the move you did for work and the dislocation on your child’s schooling; or perhaps you stayed put, but the class bully picked on your child; maybe you got sick and haven’t been able to be there as much as you’d like; perhaps violence or impoverishment in your neighbourhood has affected your child, or perhaps, like many of us, you’ve been through separation or divorce and worry about the impact of that on your child. You will be able to add to this list, I am sure.
So here’s the headline: it’s not possible to make our child’s life perfect. And the good news is: it’s also not necessary. Children come with a simple, elegant way of recovering from hurt, which I will discuss in our next issue. Right now I want to focus on what we as parents can do to help ourselves so we can best help our kids.
The first thing you need to know is that you have done your best. It’s not your fault things got hard, but it is your responsibility to do something about it. Take your regret to your Listening Partner (for more information on Listening Partnerships and how to find one, see the link in ‘resources’ below). In your Listening Partnership you can cry, tremble, shout and rage about the things you regret. Shed those tears. They are the rain that falls and makes the flowers so sweet in the spring. Share the dark thoughts you have, then leave them behind, and when you start feeling bad again, go back and have another Listening Partnership. You have the right to be pleased with yourself, and that’s what your child wants for you. They don’t want you feeling awful. They want you to play. They want you to be there with them, present and relaxed.
By Anna Cole
My sister and her nine-year-old son have just been staying with us. They have left Australia to live in Sweden in order to support her brother-in-law whose wife died tragically. So while we were delighted to spend time together, in the background was this profound loss and the tensions felt by the grown-ups about how to make sense of this too-early death. On our last night of their long weekend visit with us we decided to all play ‘Beetle’. It’s a silly, no-skill, dice game, perfect we thought for all ages. As it turned out, my ten-year-old son’s luck was out. When it was his go, he rolled and rolled the dice but his numbers just wouldn’t come up. After a quite a few rounds of this losing streak my son began to moan: “How come I’m always last?” His big sister is very often leagues ahead of him at school and in most other activities so, for him, it’s a familiar feeling. His moans turned into a bigger upset, and he eventually ran off from the game, crying.
I’ve practised the Hand in Hand Listening Tools for nearly ten years, and have experienced over and again the positive effects of a compassionately listened to emotional release in children. That didn’t stop me from silently wishing, that he’d ‘keep it together’. Especially with emotions running high just under the surface for all the adults in the room. In these situations, it can be so easy to slip up and give the frankly sexist message that “big boys don’t cry”, or shame the child with a careless “hey, don’t be such a sore loser”. Nor does a flippant ‘we win some, we lose some’ fit the bill. Instead we must really listen. It’s never the easy thing to do, but with lots of practice, it does become easier. Calmly, I acknowledged his dice hadn’t come up, that he didn’t like losing, and I listened closely and warmly while he cried. After around five minutes or so he was done, the rainstorm of tears was gone, and he was back in good spirits for the rest of the evening.
Later that night at bedtime, my nephew, who had been stoical but a bit tense all weekend about the big changes in his life, got upset about having to relocate from Australia for the year and start a new life in Sweden. My sister stayed and listened, and when she needed a break, I sat close to him on the bed and acknowledged it felt hard right now, but I knew he’d get through it. My son who was sharing his bedroom with him listened too and, when his cousin had stopped crying, warmly talked with him of the snow he could look forward to in Sweden and the new friends he’d make. A couple of days after they’d left my sister rang to say her son had gone off to his new school in great shape, with a bounce in his step and an eagerness to get started. She did say he’d had another couple of upsets about it in the run-up to his first day of a new school and that she’d listened. She said it was like: “he got it all out so he could look forward to it when it happened.” That’s what we at Hand in Hand Parenting call Staylistening. Try it yourself! Next time one of your children gets upset, move close, make warm gentle contact and listen with your heart open. You might be surprised at how your child shines afterwards.
STAYLISTENING – The Hows and Whys:
- During Staylistening you want to be doing at least 75% listening with just a bit of talking here and there. A child who is crying or having a tantrum is not in their ‘thinking, verbal’ pre-frontal cortex.
- The basic message you offer is simply: “I care.” “You are safe.”
- If your child has been scared: “I’m right here, I won’t go away.”
It’s worth remembering that the prefrontal cortex, the seat of verbal reasoning, takes around 21 to 25 years to fully develop in a human, whereas the limbic brain comes ‘on-line’ when your child is still in utero. Emotional responses reside in the limbic brain, which sits behind the pre-frontal cortex. While your child is growing and developing he or she will respond more to your non-verbal signals of warmth and care than to lectures, no matter how well thought out they may be. Open your heart and your mind to the tears as much as to the smiles and see how that warms your relationship with your child.
Anna Cole, Phd is a researcher, writer and parent educator with Hand in Hand Parenting. www.handinhandparenting.org. find her on Facebook (Hand in Hand Parenting with Anna Cole) to find out about her in-person and online classes. Anna is planning a Hand in Hand Parenting workshop in Ireland in the Spring.
A Gardening Project for Schools
By Vilma Matuleviciute, Msc (President of IRH)
The Herb Patch started with the idea of bringing green spaces into urban schools that had none. It soon became clear that the garden was a valuable resource that children everywhere should benefit from and it was expanded to include rural schools.
The aim of this project is to give children an opportunity to develop a relationship with plants and an interest in the natural world. A familiarity with how to use herbs to maintain health is a valuable asset for us all and will benefit these children as they grow into adulthood.
Herbs and green spaces are great for children in many other ways – they encourage them to spend more time outside in the fresh air engaging in physical activity and they nurture in the young a sense of stewardship for our planet. They also help children to connect with healthy eating and they love learning about how to use herbs in cooking.
Gardening is great skill for children to cultivate as they discover more about plants and how easy it is to grow them. Even if there are only windows sills or window ledges available, it is still possible to grow a few plants and experience the excitement of watching them develop and learning how to nurture them. Children love growing plants especially ones they can taste and eat!
As parents, you can choose from many different children’s activities, so why would you choose yoga? In my experience, because it’s one of best to develop healthy bodies and minds. Yoga is fun, engaging and helps kids focus and calm down – while infusing self-worth. Physical poses grow strength, fl exibility and confi dence while yoga also teaches valuable lessons about being mindful and present.
What happens in kids’ yoga class? Children playfully explore through breath, stretching, jumping, twisting, bending, balancing, focussing, singing, being upside-down and relaxing. Whether children arrive tired or overactive, yoga helps to bring balance with vitality. It differs from a lot of other options in that it’s non-competitive, children don’t need to do more, better, faster. Practising poses develops awareness so they can access strengths and areas to improve but without self-judgment or comparison. Yoga’s framework and ethos lends itself to positive transformation, without the pressure. It provides quiet, perspective and rest – something that is as welcome to many children as it is to adults – and yoga stimulates the calming parasympathetic nervous system.
Introducing or offering the possibility to your child you may want to let them know a few things. Our classes often begin with bells or breathing, and include yoga poses and songs – many of which are theme-based – fun and empowering themes like jungle or courage! Relaxation includes visualisation techniques like imagining walking on a beach meditation or even a foot massage. We also include games, art or a chance to teach their friends.
…From our autumn issue. Pick up a copy of our winter issue free in one of our stockists, or subscribe for a year and just pay postage and packaging.
By Erika Doolan
Over the last six months there’s been a noticeable surge of people part taking in 3–5 day juice detoxes and lots of new juice companies sprouting up everywhere. But why has the world gone mad for juice? Every health authority recommends consuming five to eight portions of fruit and vegetables each day yet it can be tricky to incorporate a variety of them into our daily diets. Strapped for time, and often money too, most of us take the easy route and could take more consideration of the live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants that our bodies require to thrive. Juicing offers a way to do this.
5 Reasons To Juice – The Delicious Cycle
- Introducing your body to a whole new world of delicious nutrients can be fun. They say change is as good as a holiday and this is like a holiday for your body. It offers an alternative way to consume the vegetables you don’t love the taste of but know are good for you and remains one of the easiest ways to ensure that you are consuming your daily quota of nutrients, micro nutrients, vitamins and naturally occurring enzymes. On top of that, natural, raw fruit juices are easy to digest, meaning you’ll actually imbibe more goodness than if you merely munched on an apple or an orange.
- Great juices flood your bloodstream with a high dose of loads of good stuff and you’ll find this will give you a boost in all sorts of ways. I always feel brand new afterwards; cleaner, leaner, lighter, glowing skin, shiny hair and my energy levels soar. Juicing advocates also report fewer sleepless nights. All of this makes it easier to make more good decisions; a delicious cycle rather than a vicious cycle.
- If you haven’t been very healthy over the last few months or years juicing is a fantastic way to detox and nourish your body to give it a kick start. It gives your body a chance to heal itself; eliminating toxins and making the most of the valuable vitamins and nutrients at its disposal at the same time.
- Raw fruit and veg contain high levels of plant chemicals known as phytonutrients, which have been shown to improve and maintain heart health and help with inflammation. Naturally occurring plant compounds called flavonoids and anthocyanins are also in abundance and help our bodies defend against oxidative cellular damage.
- Some foods, such as meat, wheat and processed foods can cause your body to produce acid, meaning your body may need to work a bit harder to keep the the pH levels of your blood balanced, alkaline diets and juicing give your body a bit of a stress relief from constantly working to keep your pH level as they should be.
What to Expect
Days 1 and 2: If it’s your first time doing it, Day 1 can be easy but it’s Day 2 that separates the men from the boys! Toxins start leaving your body, withdrawal symptoms kick in and you may feel slightly hungry.
Day 3: You will already start to feel the benefits and will likely be hooked and want to continue to day 5! I lost 6lbs over 3 days and felt leaner, lighter and my mind was clear. My tummy felt flatter and I began craving healthy foods. Continue your light exercises each day; the best surprise is how much energy you have.
You will suffer side affects associated with the detox taking place in your system and this can include headaches, nausea, skin breakout, colds and flus. These are most likely a sign that it’s working and to forge on through, but if you’re concerned, do of course get medical advice.
Pro Tips for Juicing
If it’s your first time on a juice programme, add in fruit like apples or pineapples but going forward, juice lots of veggies.
My favourite juicer is GreenValu.ie’s masticating juicer, it provides the best quality juice at a reasonable cost.
Juicing involves substituting meals for raw, organic fruit and vegetable juices but you should also drink lots of water, herbal teas, and broths, made with fresh vegetables, herbs and spices.
A super-juice with concentrated benefits is hemp juice; rich in carotenoids, mineral nutrients and chlorophyll and believed to act as a great anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotectant, it’s often used as a therapeutic nutritional supplement.
Another great green is wheatgrass. It contains the full spectrum of B vitamins, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium. It’s also a source of protein, supplying all of the essential amino acids but in a form that your body can use really efficiently in the blood stream and tissues.
A huge number of advocates purchase pre-made, nutritionally-balanced juices. This saves on time but also ensures that your program contains the right balance of vitamins and nutrients.
After a juice programme, continue with a ‘maintenance plan’ to continue having high fruit and veg intake after.
The Best of the Benefits
- Better energy
- Improved skin, hair and nails
- Aids healthy, long-term weight loss plans
- Cleanses your system
- Break old habits
Juices to Choose
The Juice Factory: Erika’s Juice Factory supply 3–7 day cleanses that are not only nutritionally balanced but also some of tastiest going. They’re available in 55 cafes, restaurants and shops nationwide off the shelf too so they’re easy to get your hands on. thejuicefactory.ie
The Punnet Health Store & Punnet Food Emporium: James and Darragh have taken the initiative to getting Ireland cleansed and encouraging healthier, more fulfilling lifestyles. thepunnethealthstore.com
Cornucopia: Erika has been working with restaurant owner Deirdre McCafferty and have come up with mighty plans for bringing juicing to a another level in the coming months. Keep your eyes peeled. cornucopiajuices.ie
Western Green: A Clonakilty based company selling juicers, water filters and accessories and even a nifty little manual juicer. westerngreen.ie
GreenValu: Another great supplier of juicers as well as products and accessories for sprouting and even offering juicing and sprouting workshops greeenvalu.ie
Stillorgan Orchard: A juice programme doesn’t mean you have to stay home. If you’re heading out for breakfast pop along to the Stillorgan Orchard for a juice treat. stillorganorchard.com
Juice 2 Go: They offer a range of different packages and deliver all over Ireland. Choose from a 5 day, 3 day or Kickstarter Cleanse to get you going. Juice2go.ie
- Young children should avoid juice cleanses but juices and soups are still a great way to get loads of greens into their diet.
- Anyone with candida and diabetes should consult their General Practitioner before juicing it up.
- Long term juicing is not recommended due to no protein or fibre intake so please juice wisely or add these in with your juices.
- It’s important to remember that juicing isn’t a substitute for medical treatment; if you are unwell, recovering from an illness or have any concerns, consult your doctor first.
Erika is an expert on juicing and the associated benefits as well as supplying fresh raw juices from her website. She’ll also be speaking at the Allergy Expo this coming October and will be speaking on or the ‘Benefits of Incorporating Raw Food and Juicing into your Daily Lifestyle’. erikadoolan.com
Children’s Cookery Class with Natasha’s Living Foods
In association with Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular
Sunday 27 July, 11 am
Join Natasha from Natasha’s Living Foods for a cookery class for kids at Cafe Joly in the National Library this Sunday the 27th of July. It’s the perfect way to get your kids excited about flavours, vegetable preparation and even kiddie knife skills! Safety first of course. At the end you’ll be presented with a meal cooked especially for you by your kids as well as the joy of seeing them getting enthusiastic about eating fun, health food.
To avail of our 10% off offer when booking on entertainment.ie (Book your tickets here), simply private message us through our Facebook page, direct message us on Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send our secret coupon code straight on to you. Tickets are limited to get in touch soon and book immediately to avoid any disappointed kiddies or having to cook your own dinner Sunday ;)
For children 6-8 years and must be accompanied by a parent of guardian.
More about Natasha and Raw and Living Foods
The Raw and Living foods movement is a diet based on naturally grown, wild or organically and sustainably raised fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains. Natasha’s range of foods are completely free of animal products, and chemically processed or pasteurised ingredients. She uses fair-traded ingredients wherever available, and opts for organic. The beauty of raw foods is that the ingredients are very simple. Because nothing is processed, everything comes in its raw, natural state.
Whizz Kids Hack Android!
By Laura Ivers
Ethiopian Children Astound the Pros
One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is an organization that oversees the creation of affordable educational devices for use in the developing world. They recently completed a bold experiment to see if illiterate children, with no previous exposure to written words, could learn how to read all by themselves, through experimenting with tablets preloaded with alphabet-training games, e-books, movies, cartoons, painting applications and other programs.
Motorola Xoom tablets, which use a solar charging system, were dropped off by OLPC workers to two remote Ethiopian villages. 40 children in total, who had previously never seen printed materials, road signs or even printed packaging, were chosen for the project and the tablets were delivered in closed boxes, taped shut that included no instructions.
OLPC’s founder, Nicholas Negroponte, speaking at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference said, “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android. Someone in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”
Ed McNierney, OLPC’s chief technology officer elaborated further, “The kids had completely customized the desktop—so every kids’ tablet looked different. We had installed software to prevent them from doing that. And the fact they worked around it was clearly the kind of creativity, the kind of inquiry, the kind of discovery that we think is essential to learning.”
The experiment was a response to the problem that over 100 million first-grade children worldwide have no access to schooling and results from early observations on the experiment have been highly encouraging, presenting exciting new possibilities for education and learning globally.
This is a sneak peek from one of our Positively Newsworthy stories from our Summer 2013 issue. Get yours here or in your local health food store.
Educate Together By Laura Ivers
Educate Together is an independent NGO that currently runs primary schools in Ireland that guarantee equality of access and esteem to children irrespective of their social, cultural or religious background, are learner-centred in their approach to education, and are run as participatory democracies, with respectful partnership between parents, pupils and teachers.
Educate Together operates on four core principles: being multi-denominational, co-educational, child-centred in its approach, and democratically run. Students follow an ethical curriculum, which includes learning about different religions and belief systems. The ethos provides a strong moral, ethical and spiritual framework for the whole school community, and informs all policies and practices in the daily life of the school.
Read the rest of the story in our Summer 2013 issue or check back for the full article here later in the summer.