Learn how to make beautiful paper star lanterns. These are perfect for your winter nature tables, for a lantern walk, or to decorate your advent spirals. They are also an excellent way to use up watercolour paintings. You can even coat the paper in olive oil and let it dry before folding it into a lantern. The oiled paper creates a beautiful translucent effect when lit up.
Remember to never leave your candle unattended.
Things You'll Need
How to Make Your Lantern
Felted Artwork by Mimi Hirsch
The Meaning of Martinmas
Throughout the year, Waldorf education celebrates festivals to connect with the cycle of nature, establish a yearly rhythm for the children, and strengthen the community. The Festival of Compassion (Martinmas) is celebrated around November 11, between Michaelmas - the Festival of Courage's fiery out-breath and the winter holidays' deep in-breath. Universally, it honours St. Martin's story, patron saint of beggars and outcasts, who was known for his gentleness and his ability to bring warmth and light to those in need. He is best known for his act of kindness toward a poor beggar freezing outside in the cold. Martin used his sword to cut his cloak in two and gave one half to the beggar. This act of compassion, which gave the beggar warmth and hope, is why this festival is also called the Festival of Compassion. Waldorf education celebrates this festival by making lanterns with the children and gathering together for an evening Lantern Walk.
The essence of this festival is to acknowledge the light that shines forth from each of us. This light needs to be protected, just as the lights inside our lanterns do, so they don’t blow out.
Autumn is a time to reflect on our inner selves, to find the inner light that will carry us through this time of darkness. It can be an opportunity to know ourselves more deeply. Waldorf education marks this season of inner searching with three fall festivals to help guide us on this introspection path. In September, the Festival of Courage (Michaelmas) and St. Michael urges us to battle with courage to face and conquer our “dragons”. In early November, there is the Festival of Compassion (Martinmas), where we observe St. Martin’s compassion for others. In December, St. Nicholas brings the gifts of wisdom, reflection, and review upon the year's events. These three figures model strength in the qualities of willing, feeling and thinking.
As we journey into the darkest time of the year, it is increasingly important for each of us to kindle warmth and light in our hearts. The gently glowing lanterns of the Festival of Compassion will give way to the candles of the Festival of Wisdom (Advent Spiral) as we draw nearer to the Solstice, showing how our inner light must shine ever brighter against the cold. As nature sleeps, we must be wakeful!
How can you bring this festival to your homeschooling family?
You Could Tell Stories
You could make some lanterns:
There are many ways to make lanterns, all of them fun and easy. The simplest way is to take a glass jar and, using some white glue mixed with a bit of water and a paint brush, glue bits of coloured tissue paper to the outside of the jar. You can glue at random or make pictures and shapes with the tissue paper, whatever works for your family and your children's age level. Adding a handle can be done in various ways, from pipe cleaners to flexible wire; you can even add beads to the handle.
If you have access to beeswax, another way to spend an afternoon with your children is to make a beeswax lantern. You can melt beeswax in a double boiler and dip an inflated balloon halfway into the wax. Let the first layer dry and then dip again and repeat. You can add leaves between layers as well. Once finished, carefully pop the balloon add some sand to the lantern's bottom, then place a tea-light on top of the sand to stop the candle from melting the bottom of your lantern.
There are many other ways to make lanterns. Get creative and have fun!
You could plan a lantern walk:
With your family and perhaps with some other families, you could plan to meet in a park or at some local trails in the early evening when the sun is just setting. With your lanterns lit, you can take a quiet meditative walk while singing some lantern songs.
Here are some lantern songs which are short and easy to learn.
These are meant to be sung 4-8 times over before switching to the next lantern song.
The Sunlight Fast is Dwindling
The sunlight fast is dwindling.
My little lamp needs kindling.
It’s beam shines far in darkest night,
Dear lantern guard me with your light.
Glimmer, Lantern, Glimmer
Glimmer lantern glimmer, little stars a-shimmer
Over meadow, moor and dale
Flitter-flutter, elfin veil
Pee-wit, pee-wit, tic a tic a tic, roo-coo, roo-coo
Glimmer lantern glimmer, little stars a-shimmer
Over rock and stock and stone
Wander tripping little gnome
Pee-wit, pee-wit, tic a tic a tic, roo-coo, roo-coo
I Go with My Bright Little Lantern
I go with my bright little lantern
My lantern is going with me
In heaven the stars are shining
On Earth shines my lantern with me
My light shines bright, through darkest night
La bimba, la bamba, la bim (repeat last 2 lines)
Bring Forth Your Light
Bring forth you gentle spark
Illuminate the dark
Those trembling in the night
Receive your shining light
You could donate to the Food Bank:
As this festival is about compassion, you could follow St. Martin's footsteps and make a donation to the food bank or think of some other way to bring warmth and hope to others.
In this time of turning inward, may you find your light shining brightly and remember that even the tiniest flame can dispel the darkness.
As parents and teachers, we are always looking for ways to understand our children, to interpret their behaviours, and to be able to support them more fully in their development. In Waldorf Schools around the world, it is very common for teachers to use the Four Temperaments Model, as a foundation for understanding their students.
This is one of the oldest personality type systems in the world. The origins of this typology belong to Graeco-Arabic medicine, where it was successfully used to treat illnesses. In fact, it is still used today by practitioners of traditional medicine around the world.
Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 460 – c. 370 BC) described the four temperaments as part of the ancient medical concept of humourism, that four bodily fluids affect human personality traits and behaviours. He believed that certain human moods, emotions, and behaviours were caused by an excess or lack of body fluids (called "humours"), which he classified as blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. The Four Temperaments are sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic and were coined by the Greek physician Aelius Galenus to describe the effect of these humours on human behaviour.
Modern medical science does not define a fixed relationship between internal secretions and personality, although some psychological personality type systems use categories similar to the Greek temperaments.
It is interesting to note that traditional Chinese medicine sees that body constitution can vary from person to person, some are strong, some are weak, some tend to be hot, and some tend to be cold. According to the China Association for Traditional Chinese Medicine (CACM), body constitution can be divided into nine types, named as neutral, qi deficiency, yang deficiency, yin deficiency, blood stasis, phlegm & dampness, damp-heat, qi stagnation and special constitution. Generally, the classification of body constitution is based on physical outlook, personality, common health problems, and adaptation to external environment.
As well, Ayurveda, ancient Indian medicine refers to three main body types, or doshas: vata, pitta, kapha. Our doshas affect all aspects of us, including our psychology, emotional responses, choice of careers, foods we crave, the music we enjoy, how fast we talk, our energy levels, the colour of our eyes, the smoothness of our skin and the way we deal with stress.
In a homeschool setting, it is useful to be aware of the four temperaments as a tool for building a deeper understanding and connection with your child. By observing your child’s personality and body type, you can gain information that can often help make sense of certain behaviours. One of the four temperaments is often more dominant during elementary school years; however the goal is that through nurturing and holistic education, we help the child to come into more of a balance between the four temperaments.
Waldorf Publication, article Temperaments in a Waldorf School August 18, 2015
The choleric is a person who is fulfilled by deeds. This temperament tends to be fiery with a keen interest in all things, a high level of engagement in all they do, and quickness to action. They are natural leaders and get a lot done in group work. Teachers do well to give them many difficult tasks, make clear rules, and stick to them with the fulfillment of any promised consequences. If the teacher fails to gain a choleric’s respect, trouble will ensue! Cholerics have a good sense of judgment and can usually be trusted to divide things evenly from a firm sense of fairness and equity. They are first to want to go out for recess, and they are impatient with those who are slow or weak. Red is the favorite color most often, and typically division is the favorite arithmetic function. Cholerics can be difficult because of their intensity and quick judgments; however, without cholerics, little gets done in a crowd. They tend to be heroic and commanding in a natural way and are loyal defenders of friends, family, and community when necessary.
The sanguine is the most social of the temperaments. A party with no sanguines will tend to be fairly dull. Sanguine children have trouble concentrating because their attention flits a bit. Their color is yellow, and they delight in quick changes and varied ideas. They love people and discussions. The favorite in arithmetic is multiplication. These children know all the news in any classroom and can trace activities from the beginning to the end. If a teacher wants to know what happened, s/he need only ask a sanguine. Seating sanguines together holds the promise that they all might get weary of how much talking is going on and talk a little less themselves. Jumping rope, skipping, and running are all favorites of the sanguine elementary school student.
The phlegmatic is a complacent soul who would rather be left to his or her own devices than to be stirred to great action. Phlegmatics love food and mealtimes and look forward to these with a particular interest. They tend to like water and swimming (or, better yet, floating) and they are particularly unflappable. They have a knack at being cheerful and they tend to avoid describing any situation in terms of being a crisis. Finding the things that genuinely motivate these students is the task of the teacher because; left to their own devices they might do very little on their own. Upsetting a phlegmatic, or making him or her move too frequently can cause the phlegmatic to behave like a choleric. The anger of a phlegmatic is infrequent but intense. Addition is a favorite of the phlegmatic. Green is often their favorite color. When phlegmatics are seated together they help each other to realize that very little happens in their group and they are stirred to break the inactivity and take the initiative of their own.
The melancholic is a deep thinker, poetic in tendency. Melancholics tend to feel many things personally. Tasks can easily feel insurmountable to them and they tend to consider many situations in the most difficult light. They would, for example, most often consider the glass, “half empty.” In history lessons, these students view the misfortunes of mankind most compassionately. They often offer insights into people’s motivation from an understanding of the deep feeling life possible in human beings. Blue is often a favorite color of melancholic children. Of the four arithmetic processes, subtraction tends to be their favorite. Teachers must sympathize deeply with melancholics in order to ensure that they feel understood.
In a Waldorf school, teachers observe their students, and use this model to help support the children. It is not a hard and fast rule, and it is not advised that we label children or get stuck too strongly in one view. However, knowing the dominant temperament of a child can help us know how to proceed in a variety of situations. When a child is under stress, each temperament meets this stress differently. Each temperament approaches a new challenge, a new project, or a social situation uniquely. There are certainly common patterns and traits for each temperament and proceeding with this awareness can make a huge difference in meeting the child’s needs.
When recognizing a temperament in a child, we take a homeopathic approach, which is to say, we try to offer doses of these characteristics and traits, to help our child to be saturated in these qualities. The theory is that a child who feels held and seen in their temperament, can more easily move beyond it, into more balance as they grow up. For example, a melancholic child, who feels the “weight of the world”, and takes things in very deeply, should not be told to “get over it” or “it’s not that bad”, or “just let it go and smile”. Instead, they respond best to a loving adult who acknowledges their pain or misery and does not try to fix it.
Tips for Working with your Child's Temperament
If your child is sanguine, they are most inspired by your love and your love and attention awakens magic in them. When it comes to life, they can be easily distractible. They often change their mind and find it hard to settle down and commit to one thing. As a parent, you can encourage them to stick with what they started. You can insist that they finish the activity or sport they chose before trying a new one. During school lessons, you can help them to choose a project that really excites them and help them stay on task. Reading a book together, or looking at a picture, and having the child really take the time to look at the details, can be very helpful.
If your child is choleric it is important to help them to notice and appreciate the needs of others. Choleric children want to have deep respect for the adults in their lives. Show them some of your talents and skills. Give them challenges to work through, and make sure they get plenty of exercise. Give your choleric child situations where they can take on a leadership role.
If your child is phlegmatic they are most inspired by other children, and need support to have a social life, with varied friends to learn from and admire. At home, they require a stable, predictable environment with steady routine and rhythm. Make sure you allow space in the morning for a slow start. Your phlegmatic child is easygoing and sweet natured until they are NOT! This means that if you push them too hard, and too fast, they will get angry.
If your child is melancholic, they will benefit from focusing on the needs of others. It is easy for a melancholic child to get wrapped up in their own suffering. Melancholic children respond very well when the adult takes time to offer them compassion when they are hurt. Take time to ask a melancholic some challenging questions, and also set aside time for them to discuss a topic of their own interest.
Here are some links to Four Temperament Assessments:
Daily Wonder lesson plans provide the daily, monthly and yearly rhythm of your school year. The educational planning is done, and there is minimal preparation awaiting you, the parent. We all know how hectic the school year can get with all the things that need to happen in one day. The Wonder Squad highly recommends taking the time now to look into your prep needs. You will be so grateful down the road for taking the time now to get organized. Lazy summer days offer leisurely ways to check things off the "back to homeschool to-do list".
Here are our suggestions:
Whether you're new to Daily Wonder or are continuing on to the next grade, we are so excited for you to benefit from all our hard won lessons and experience. Your success is our success.
We're not exactly psychic, but we can predict that your children will complain that they are bored and bicker with their siblings (if they have some) at least ten times during the summer. So we are here to highlight the amazing work that is taking place behind these annoying scenes.
Long summer days can offer so many wonderful opportunities for family time and activities that we forget to honour the downtime. Children hardly get unstructured time these days. When they do, it can be met with complaints and loud, uncomfortable noises. As parents, our first inclination is to stop that noise however we can. When we remember that boredom is the doorway to creativity, we give ourselves permission to sit back and wait for the magic to happen.
Things that can come out of boredom...
This summer, encourage collaboration through connection with other kids and family members. For example, you could let your kids:
Social Awareness & Responsibility
Summer fun means visiting new places and going on adventures. When your daily experiences include social awareness & responsibility, your children naturally learn how to make choices that positively impact the world. Every little positive step will help to create a big change. Here are some summer activities that highlight these competencies:
What is Creative Thinking anyways? Good news! It's happening all the time, especially during play. The gift of boredom is one of the best ways to generate new ideas. People who think creatively are curious and open-minded and have a sense of wonder and joy in learning.
This summer, encourage creative thinking through hands-on, creative activities such as:
So enjoy these long summer days, and rest assured your child is learning many valuable lessons along the way.
More and more parents understand the importance of free, unstructured play for children. However, in our highly structured and driven society, they are working against the grain, in a way. These families have to work extra hard to maintain their values and navigate away from the overuse of screens and electronic toys that take away all the wonder.
At first, if your child is not used to free, unstructured play, it can be difficult for them to sink into something joyful and absorbing. In some ways, it requires a “detox” from the toys and distractions of our modern world. Many popular toys for children today involve electronics: these toys beep, buzz, flash, and talk. On the surface, they seem very exciting and engaging, but one quickly realizes that they lack deeply nourishing engagement with wonder and creativity. Furthermore, they become a source of frustration because they easily break, or the batteries die quickly. They can also be quite disturbing to the nervous system of the child. These toys can overload the senses with sounds and visuals. And let’s not forget the disturbance to the nervous systems of those in the room (like stressed out moms)!
Free play should involve simplicity in order to reap the most rewards. Our recommendation is to simplify the play space and prepare it for maximum wonder.
Children get overwhelmed with too many choices. It is best to leave out five creative toy sets, like building blocks, train sets, Lego, animal figurines, and barnyard playsets, and have them organized into easy-to-access storage containers. You can rotate other toys into the mix every few months and take some out.
Bringing a toy into the mix they haven’t seen for a while; is like receiving a new toy.
Once you create the beautiful, organized, simple play space, and you’re ready to have your child sink into some unstructured, free play, set the bar low if they aren’t used to playing alone—plan for 30-45min for your child to settle into the space. Then, you can be nearby doing your own work but not engaging or playing with your child.
Once your children see that you are happily engaged in your work nearby, they will begin to settle. If they are used to calling for you, you can respond with clear and straightforward boundaries like, “Right now, I’m over here doing my work.” If they wish for a toy that is no longer available, you can respond simply with, “These are the toys you have today.”
Being clear on what your goals are for your child can help you maintain the firm boundaries this transition time will require. If your child once relied on electronic toys and video games to provide wonder and creativity without any work on the child’s part, your child may experience some discomfort as they shift to a new kind of play. This is ok! It is to be expected. We agree that reclaiming a childhood rich with wonder and full of imagination is what the world needs most and is well worth the struggle to get there.
It will be so much more enjoyable for everyone in the long run!
Children learn new routines by repetition. Therefore, it is best to set aside the same amount of time each day for a month, and you will see a difference in your child’s ability to enjoy the wonder and creativity of free play.
Spring is such a time of renewal and comes with a burst of energy. Seasonal celebrations give you a point of focus when choosing stories, crafts and activities to do as a family. Celebrations such as Easter offer a beautiful annual rhythm, something that your child looks forward to re-engaging with each year. It's a special experience to choose activities that become family traditions.
This poem by Kate L. Brown, is one of our favourites. We've used it as a verse and a dramatization where children act it out, pretending they are the seed.
In the heart of a seed,
Buried deep, so deep,
A dear little plant
Lay fast asleep.
'Wake,' said the sun,
'And creep to the light.'
'Wake,' said the voice
Of the raindrops bright.
The little plant heard,
And it rose to see
What the wonderful
Outside world might be.
The Easter Bunny
A charming, simple story about how the Easter Bunny learned how to deliver eggs can be found here. This website has really great resources on further ways to celebrate the seasons, ways to bring Waldorf into the home, etc.
The Little Brown Bulb
Here is an example of a sweet little puppet show that's perfect for Spring!
Little Brown Bulb
For this game, the child curls up on a ball and you cover them with a blanket (a nice, heavy one that blocks light really gives an idea of what it is like to be underground! Then you say:
A Little Brown Bulb lay asleep in the ground (hands resting on child's back)
And there she slept very sound (caress the back)
While Old King Winter raged and roared overhead (walk fingers like spiders over the child's back)
The Little Brown Bulb did not stir in her bed (rest hands)
Then came Lady Spring tip toeing over the lea (tip toe fingers)
Fingers to lips as quiet as can be (whisper)
The Little Brown Bulb lifted her head (child lifts head)
She slipped off her nightie and jumped out of bed! (child lifts the blanket and jumps up!)
This song can be played while lying down on the floor/ grass/etc. As the song indicates, once you wake up you hop about!
See the little bunnies sleeping until noon
Shall I wake them with a merry tune?
Oh so still.....are they ill?...
Wake up little bunnies, hop hop hop!
Wake up little bunnies, hop hop hop!
Natural dyed eggs are usually a 2 day project. To prepare, collect leaves and flowers, and secure them to the eggs using panty hose or cheese cloth (they work best when freshly picked, as maleable and moist sticks best to the eggs). After they have sat in the dye, the wrapping is removed revealing the beautiful stamp of the chosen flower or leaf.
If you're not so keen on the chemicals in store-bought Easter egg dye, try these nine all-natural options. Each features a colouring agent — a vegetable, fruit juice, or spice — that gives colour to hard-boiled eggs.
Spring is a time to observe growth and life, and what better way to pass the days than seeing a baby bean grow right before your eyes? Here is a really easy, visual way to teach children about root systems.
Five year olds might also like to hear the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Paper Seed Bombs
This is another multi step craft that is easy to execute and very rewarding. If you have any old seeds handy, this is the perfect way to use them! Perhaps you can plant to make them as gifts for friends and family, as a way of looking forward to seeing your loved ones again. Turn old paper into some super cool seed balls! This easy science activity and craft are perfect for Earth Day or a unit on gardening or plants and seeds!
With thanks and credit to Lucia Perez from the Comox Valley Waldorf School.
The pentatonic flute is named so after the five-note pentatonic scale. Rudolf Steiner said this scale harkens back to our ancient ancestors' days and the music they felt from the spirit world. As human consciousness evolved, so did our understanding and connection to music.
In ancient days, the familiar seven-note diatonic scale "do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do" was not developed yet. The most familiar diatonic scale is C Major- C D E F G A B C. The pentatonic scale does not use the C or the F notes, just as music from our ancient past was played with just these five notes; D E G A B. These are the notes that your sweet, little, dreamy child feels most connected to. Your young child feels the pentatonic scale's notes in their soul and delights in these tunes. They are the perfect songs to sing and play when your child is between birth and around eight years old. These are the notes that connect us to our ancient ancestors who walked and sang closer to the spirit world than we do today.
The flute is a beautiful instrument to begin with, as your child will become aware of their breath and learn how to regulate their breathing to produce a beautiful tone. Simultaneously, the flute's fingering requires the development of finger dexterity and fine motor movement, which can be challenging. So your child is also developing the ability to persevere through difficult circumstances. The ability to lift one finger or several fingers simultaneously is a marvellous brain/body activity. Finally, and most importantly, creating beautiful music is inspiring and enlivening. When your child knows a song and can sing it by heart, and then they are learning to play that song on the flute, well, that is a most exciting day to behold!!
So, the pentatonic flute is the ideal beginner instrument for your Grade One child. It speaks to the whole child: body, soul and spirit! And music is a great creative force that brings people together.
Daily Wonder highly recommends purchasing the Waldorf Teachers' Companion to the Pentatonic Flute, by John Miles.
Daily Wonder's YouTube playlist has everything you need to teach your child how to play the Pentatonic Flute. Jennifer has recorded Lessons for introducing all seven notes:
Each Daily Wonder unit comes complete with three weeks of guided daily curriculum and a 4th week called a Flex Week. Parents can rest assured that the curriculum is covered as planned for each unit during the first three weeks. If parents choose to continue the daily routine with Flex Week, they will continue to cover the curriculum and expand on that with design thinking as well.
The Flex Week project for the Grade 2, Month 7, The Wonder of Reading unit is the completion of a Kindness Quilt. The theme of kindness runs through the stories told during this unit. Stories of kindness are a perfect backdrop for the level of reflection appropriate for the 7 or 8-year-old. It is more developmentally appropriate for a child this age to feel how they feel rather than to think about how they feel. This means it is easier for them to read about kindness and feel how that care feels than for them to bring this into their thinking for analysis.
What is a Kindness Quilt?
The Kindness Quilt is a celebration of kindness. It is a nine-panel mini quilt about 12” square. You could encourage your child to think of a different person in their life that they would like to share kindness with as they work on each square. When completed, you can use it as a table centrepiece, a doll blanket, a resting place for special things, or a seat cover. Materials are listed below. Skills required are the ability to thread a needle, sew a decent running stitch, tie off, and cut with scissors. In addition, doing a blanket stitch would offer a good option for finishing off.
Here is a YouTube video on hand sewing the squares together. It will show you how to pin the edges together which can be tricky. Here is another video on how to make a quilt that will show you the entire process but using a sewing machine. The second video will show you how to fold over the backing edge to finish the quilt. We simplified by skipping the binding edge but the hemming and folding still applies.
Day 1: Gather materials, decide on the layout of quilt squares, pin edges together by laying them face to face, then pinning the edge with one or two pins. Pin in rows of three squares to end up with three pinned and separate rows of squares.
Day 2: Thread your needle with embroidery thread. Knot the thread at the beginning and end of the sewn section and sew all six lines of joined edges.
Day 3: Finish any sewing of edges. Pin two rows together by laying them face to face and pinning edges with 3-5 pins. Begin sewing this long edge.
Day 4: Add the final row to the sewn double row. Lay face to face with row, pin, sew. You should have the quilt side complete; hurray! Lay this on the backing fabric. Create hem on backing fabric by folding over about ½ cm/quarter inch. Fold the edge of backing fabric over the edge of the quilt, being sure to maintain the hem fold. Pin as needed.
Day 5: Sew backing fabric to the four sides of your quilt side. Use blanket stitch if desired. Place a French Knot in the centre of each square on the quilt side to finish off.
We hope you enjoy this Flex Week project and if you feel like sharing pictures of your kindness quilt, we'd love to see!
Kind Hearts (A poem to match the unit theme of kindness)
To do to others as I should
That they would do to me.
To make me good, and kind, and strong
As children ought to be.
Kind hearts they are the garden.
Kind thoughts they are the roots.
Kind words they are the blossom,
Kind deeds they are the fruit.
Children thrive in a predictable rhythm and routine. We see their anxiety lessen when they know what to expect. When meals and bedtime happen regularly , it anchors their day. Once established, it is helpful to find other aspects of the day that you can commit to making happen regularly. Homeschool is, of course, a source of rhythm for your child. Although these days, school can be somewhat unpredictable as well, giving us even more reasons to fill moments in your child’s day with heartfelt connection and a sense of calm.
Children are like sponges, absorbing the energy around them. It is important as the parent to be aware of the energy you are allowing into the home space. For example, if you listen to the news, know that even if it looks like your child is quietly playing in the other room, they are still absorbing the energy of the stories. Low-grade anxiety can seep into their being. As much as I did my best to protect my children from the onslaught of doomsday news when they were little, I knew I couldn’t stop it entirely. It became essential for me to hold consistent space for them each day, which instilled the values I wanted them to have. I found that the evening ritual was my best time to hold this space.
Children take in a lot of information and many experiences throughout their day that they can’t easily process. At night, when they are lying in bed, winding down, things often come to the surface. They can then share a painful experience they had in their day, a moment of confusion, or a story that happened. Setting aside this evening time for your child means that you are not in a rush to get somewhere. Your child feels your entire presence with them, and you can continue fostering a heartfelt connection. As a mother, I find that as my days are busy and I get pulled in many directions, I know that I can still give my children my attention and focus in the evenings. Whether it is for 5 minutes or 25 minutes, the point is that they have my undivided attention and can feel this and settle into it.
When my children were young, I decided to offer them an evening verse, a verse I would say with them every evening to instill my values and build a foundation for them of spiritual knowing and trust in the unseen world that I feel is around us. I chose to refer to God because this word speaks to me of the unknown spiritual wonder around us, regardless of any one religion. I decided to use the word angel because it speaks to me of the unseen spiritual support I feel we are graced by. I made up this simple verse:
Thank you, God, for making my day,
Thank you, angels, for guiding my way.
I began saying it with my children when they were 2 and 3 years old, and today they are 14 and 15 years old, and I still say it with them each night. It brings me a sense of peace that I have offered my children a feeling of wonder for the world in a gentle and consistent way. As teenagers, out in the world, they are exposed to all kinds of contradictory views about the world. Yet, the words they hear and feel right before falling asleep are words that align with what I want them to feel about this wonderful earthly experience.
I encourage you to consider your values and whether you have a spiritual view, you want to share with your children. What kinds of words would you like to have your child hear and feel each night while they live under your roof? Perhaps you feel comfortable writing your own verse to recite with them. Below I offer three evening verses I wrote for families with young children. Please use any of these, including the one above that I have used with my children for many years.
Settling down in my cozy bed
Thoughts are quiet in my head
The sun has set
The stars are bright
It's time to sleep now for the night
Settling down in my cozy bed
Thoughts are quiet in my head
Throughout the day
I did my best
to shine my heart
from east to west
The sun has set
The stars are bright
It's time to sleep now for the night
The ducklings snuggle into their nests
The kittens purr so softly
The puppies lay so close together
The cubs so tired yawn
And I, with my heart so full of love
Sleep now from dusk to dawn
Thank you for the gifts of the day
May they shine brighter and be
remembered more often
Sleep comes to me
my body settles
my spirit soars
with the stars
Night and Day
Sleep and Wake
In and Out
Moon and Sun
I close my eyes
and trust the rhythm
Closing the day, each evening, with your heartfelt presence and an evening verse, is a way to show up for your child consistently and to instill a sense of wonder and trust in a world that may be lacking both.
- Jennifer Ross
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