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What is a Growth Mindset? Fostering Resilience in Children

Success is often defined by the presence of external factors that somehow demonstrate that we are worthy. A certificate, award, our job titles or perhaps material possessions and the attribution of wealth. Despite the attainment of all of these things, one could still lead an unhappy life.

Our mindset forms the lens in which we see the world. This mindset is shaped by both our biology and experiences, but it can be moulded and changed too. Neuroplasticity allows our brains to form and strength new connections whilst shedding the neurological connections that feed unhelpful thinking styles. Practicing a new skill and the internal stories we are telling ourselves in doing so form part of the picture painted by the idea of a growth mindset.

The term ‘growth mindset’ by termed by Carol Dweck to define a process of thinking that is flexible, works with challenges, persists and have an internal driving force that seeks to learn.

Someone with a growth mindset is able to sit with the discomfort of being incorrect or something not working out the way they had envisioned. Alternatively, someone with a fixed mindset may present with avoidance behaviours around challenges which can manifest as anxiety.

A growth mindset allows someone to embrace challenge with the knowing that any difficulties are a reflection of ability in that given moment, not a reflection of them as a person. They are then able to process more deeply, ask questions and truly understand.

This craving for knowledge has an intrinsic sense of hopefulness, in that someone may consider how they want to contribute to society, access creativity and innovation which gift someone with the ability to ebb and flow with the challenges of life.

The success or achievements of others are not perceived as a threat by those with a growth mindset. Alfie Kohn speaks of the importance of collaboration over competition. The measure of our worth should not be held against the amount of people we have beaten. We are born worthy.

“Don’t wait until you reach your goal to be proud
of yourself. Be proud of every step you take”
– Karen Salmanoha

As parents, home educators and teachers, there are many ways in which we can support growth mindsets within our children and students.

  • We may need to evaluate our own mindset and how this is influencing our responses to our children.
  • We can acknowledge children’s  efforts instead of using rewards and punishments. For example, “you did it!” or “you found that difficult and you persevered”
  • Child led learning that follows a childs’ interests and passions is a successful way of supporting growth mindsets. It provides opportunity for external reinforcement by us, but also the internal willingness to preserve despite challenges because of this passion, provides reinforcement and builds resilience and self confidence too.

How do you support growth mindsets in your home or classroom? I would love to hear your strategies and tips so that these can be shared with our community.

We have a range of products and resources that support emotional growth and development – find them here

Hannah x

 

How to have a less wasteful party

I’ve titled this “less wasteful” as this shouldn’t feel daunting. Even adopting a few of these ideas will make a difference.

Here are my top tips for having a less wasteful party.

D E C O R A T I O N S

I know kids love balloons. My 3 year old adores balloons (it kills me). But I have attended many parties without them.. and guess what? No one noticed. These were preschool age parties and so I understand that older children will have more requests and set ideas on decor. So here are my two suggestions.

1- talk to your child about why balloons are not ideal for our environment and how they pose a risk to birdlife etc and see if this brings them around. Have other cool suggestions on hand like bunting or lanterns

2- buy compostable balloons and keep them indoors and well secured to reduce the risk of them getting into the environment. Then cut them up and compost at home. I’ve not actually tried this myself, but I suspect they will take some time to break down even in a compost bin, which is why we still need to ensure they don’t get into the environment where birds mistake them for food.

Great alternatives are fabric or paper bunting. Anything you can reuse such as lights, paper lanterns and chalkboard signs. Consider hiring, borrowing or purchasing second hand what you can.

F O O D

Some really simple ideas if you’re short on time are a sausage sizzle or pizza. You can get a bunch of sausages and bread from you butcher and baker with your own containers/ bags. Order in pizzas and compost the boxes.

If you can make the time, head to the bulk bin store with your jars and stock up on snacks like pretzels, dried fruit, popcorn kernals, sweets and nuts. Using your own produce bags for fruit and vege means you can create platters or kebabs without waste. If you’re a little more ambitious then baking and cooking yourself with a little help from Pinterest will certainly reduce your waste. Finger foods help reduce the need for cutlery and too many plates. Use platters that will fit in your dishwasher or create a grazing platter on a roll of paper you can compost after. At my sons last party I dampened down some flannels and popped them on the table during cake eating as parents will automatically grab wet wipes for sticky fingers and faces.

G I F T S

Be up front with your guests about your values. Don’t be afraid to tell them that your family is trying to be more conscious of the environment and to keep that in mind if they’d like to bring a gift. Make suggestions such as vouchers for experiences or a contribution to a big ticket item your child is saving for. Look up “fiver party” for a great idea regarding guests bringing monetary gifts.

T H E M E S

My biggest advice here is to make the cake the star of the theme. Two birds one stone. Consider what will happen to the themed items after the party and try your best to find alternatives if the only answer is landfill. Again look to hire, borrow, buy second hand and if you don’t want to keep the items then sell or gift on. Facebook community groups are great for this.

E N T E R T A I N M E N T

If you feel entertainment is required then again consider what you’ll be left with in terms of rubbish or plastic toys that will break easily and be chucked.

-Face painters or entertainers such as super hero’s or magicians can be cool if your budget allows. Don’t be afraid to discuss with them prior about your waste free status so they can sub out things like glitter, confetti and plastic wrapped sweets.

-Hire a bouncy castle.

-Put out sports equipment.

-Alter traditional games like the pass the parcel to be waste free by using fabric or newspaper and include prizes that are better quality such as wooden trinkets, homemade sweets, hair accessories, bouncy balls and colouring pencils/crayons.

-Sack races, egg and spoon races, dance competitions and statues are all hilarious and waste free.

-For smaller parties try a craft idea that kids can take home after.

D I S P O S A B L E T A B L E W A R E

There has been a shift towards using paper plates and cups because they’re seen as more “eco friendly”. Let me tell you why they’re no better than plastic. Generally they can’t be recycled. This is for two reasons, they’re too dirty (and if you were happy to wash and dry plates you wouldn’t be using disposable) and they’re often made from a mixture of plastic and paper (like coffee cups) which means they can’t be recycled.

I started social earthlings to combat this problem by offering a service hiring out tableware and even doing the washing up. Check out of anyone is offering this in your area. Another easy option is to borrow from friends and family if you don’t have enough or you could head to your local charity shop and buy extra tableware cheaply then re-donate afterwards if you don’t want to store it.

R U B B I S H S O R T I N G

For my sons last birthday I set up a small waste station with simple signage. There was a bin for recycling, for food waste and for compost. I put basic instructions under the compost bucket such as “paper napkins and kebab sticks”. This is mainly for the adults as most kids just leave things as they are but it’s a great conversation starter for all ages about what happens to our waste and how best to dispose of it. I have a bokashi system for food waste but it’s not suitable for paper products so hence the separate compost bin.

With a little thought and forward planning, it’s absolutely possible to reduce your waste when hosting celebrations and also a great opportunity to educate our guests on managing waste. Our actions have a ripple effect, so demonstrating to others that we are doing our small bit to reverse the dire situation our planet is facing will perhaps evoke a thought in others that they need to start making changes too.

Arohanui

Rachel

You can find Social Earthlings online on Instagram and Facebook or head to their website to find out more!

What is Holistic Education?

Self-reflective, creative, intrinsically motivated beings with a balanced world view is the ultimate goal of holistic education.

Holistic education models celebrate the child for who they are, here and now. Acknowledging and supporting their life experiences and barriers and adopting a solution focused mentality that works with the child to explore what works and what went well, instead of placing an emphasis on what isn’t working.

Holistic education does not prescribe itself to a specific methodology. Although philosophies such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia and Waldorf incorporate holistic education concepts through their emphasis on social and emotional learning.

Holistic education acknowledges that each child has their own learning style. ‘Success’ is measured independently, valuing a child’s own abilities; their passions, curiosities and personal goals, not against standardised testing and rigid curriculums.

Holistic education supports intellectual, emotional, physical, psychological, creative and spiritual growth. It is varied, flexible and its’ multiple layers mirror the complex nature of our very being.

“Holistic education is a philosophy of education based on the premise that each person finds identity, meaning and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace. Holistic education aims to call forth from people an intrinsic reverence for life and a passionate love of learning”  -Ron Miller

When growing a tree you would not attempt to fix a damaged or broken branch by taping in back together. Instead you would likely consider the ground in which is grows and nutrients in needs to flourish. Holistic education provides children with a space in which they can thrive while providing them with a freedom to be who they are meant to be in this world.

Some of the many benefits of this approach to learning includes:

Emotional Wellbeing and Resilience

How do we define success? The answer to this is often based on external factors such as wealth, material possession and career progression. However, someone could obtain all of these things and still lead an unhappy life. Our emotional wellbeing and ability to be resilient not only impact a child’s ability to learn in their schooling years, but their mental health more generally including the likelihood they will or will not develop depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns.

Our emotional wellbeing provides the tinted lense we wear in which we see our world.

Creativity to Drive Innovation

Creative thinking and the ability to be innovative is a skill widely rewarded and needed in adulthood. Some education systems discourage such thinking through rigid curriculums that place emphasis on defining what a child ‘needs’ to learn and how.

Allowing children to remain curious problem solvers supports the development of critical thinking while the very sense of curiosity drives learning as an intrinsic motivator. Learning occurs within the context of exploring and reflecting over the memorisation of facts.

Social Relationships and Community Connectedness

Alfie Kohn speaks of the importance of collaboration over competition. Contests, competitions, awards ceremonies, honour rolls and prizes for being the “best” all place an emphasis on excellence as winning. This sends a confusing message to children that, in order to do something well is to outdo others. The measure of our worth should not be held against the amount of people we have beaten. We are born worthy.

Connection and a sense of purpose can drive us. They ignite a light within that motivates us intrinsically, supports our emotional wellbeing and allows us to lead a life we love.

As human beings we thrive through connection. Seeing peers as collaborators and not obstacles serves to support human connection and actually increases the likelihood we are able to reach our own goals and attain new skills through the support and encouragement of community.

Social responsibility

It is now more widely accepted that our Earth is in need of help. We need to live more sustainably. Raising a generation of children who can support these changes cannot happen without first adopting a true appreciation and connection to our natural environments.

Holistic education supports environmental and humanitarian values such as compassion. We share this land with so many others and in some way we are all interconnected.

For example, gratitude can be fostered from deep understanding of what is involved in growing food when children are provided with a hands on learning experience to garden.

A child who feels connected to their environment is consequently more likely to treat it with the respect it deserves.


In providing and educational space that serves to meet the needs of the whole child, we are establishing foundations for them to lead a meaningful life. A life that gifts them with a freedom to be who they are meant to be, to follow their passions, to take awe in the natural world but also foster compassion to care for it and others.

Holistic education can be incorporated into mainstream schooling – but it something that needs to be advocated for in current systems. Change from the roots up is possible!

The Village: Why We Need it and How to Build it

There is a lovely African proverb: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ African culture recognises that parenting is a shared responsibility – a communal affair – not just the concern of parents or grandparents, but of the extended family. Uncles, aunts, cousins, neighbours and friends can all be involved, and all have a part to play.

In our society, over the last fifty years, family life has changed immensely. Geographical distance, family breakdown, multiple caring responsibilities, and the long-hours culture have all contributed to their being less connectedness between extended families. Isolation and loneliness are increasingly the hallmarks of our society – a century ago, if a young mum had a baby who wouldn’t sleep, if a newly-married couple had the row of a century, or a child needed advice with a school project, there would most likely have been a grandparent, an uncle, an aunt or a cousin just down the road who would be able to give much-needed reassurance, advice and support. But today many are parenting without family or even friends nearby, and we are the poorer for it.

I know that in some ways we have more communication possibilities at our disposal than ever, but I also know through my work at ShareAbode and as a solo mum that many parents feel incredibly isolated in their role of bringing up children. They also feel like they have to maintain a certain image because of the stereo-typical parents that do it all, have it all and not a smudge of dirt on their make-up faces. However, this reality is not the normal reality for most parents, its simply the one manufactured the most and the biggest injustice about it is that it doesn’t take just one parent juggling it all to get through this parenthood journey but instead it takes a village.

By village I don’t mean a group of houses, I mean a community within which individuals know one another well, share the joys, burdens, and sorrows of everyday life, nurturing one another in times of need, mind the well-being of each other’s always-roaming and exploring children and increasingly dependent elderly, and feel fed by their clearly essential contribution to the group that securely holds them.

I’m talking about the most natural environment for children and parents to grow up in. Yes, it is our growth too! And I’m specifically referring to
what we as humans are biologically wired for, but is nearly impossible to find in our developed nations and that is … The unmet need driving the frustration that most every village-less parent is feeling, daily. Because without a village, enormous pressure is put on parents as we try to make up for what entire communities used to provide. In out attempt to do this we
become confused, unclear and often feel failed by ourselves because of the
unmet conflicting needs that come at us at once.

To be without a village is to be forced to create our tribes during seasons of our life when we have the least time and energy to do so and we run around like crazy trying to make up for the interaction, stimulation and learning opportunities that come with parenting because we cannot solely get this from ourselves and our children. And because of this forced way of being we forget what “normal” looks and feels like, which leaves us feeling as if we’re not doing enough, or enough of the “right” things. With this, a door opens that contributes to our feeling disempowered by the many responsibilities and pressures we are trying so hard to keep up with.

Parenting is challenging and a parent without a village not only loses the ability for connection with others but can distort their own sense of self, causing us to feel that our inadequacies are to blame for our struggles, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth in fact is that we are doing plenty. We may feel inadequate, but that’s because we’re on the front lines of the journey, which means we’re the ones hardest hit. We absorb the impacts, feel the feels and carry on regardless.

But, starting within us and working our way out, we can create our own villages and we can contribute to our children’s natural way of being which is packs of children, communicating together, exploring the backyards, writing in the dirt with sticks – away from screens, walls of the house and of various ages and genders with each other and their imaginations. And here’s how you can:

  • Follow up with those people who have offered to support you, but you never took them up on it.
  • Join a new parent support group (google this or go to a facebook group and search)
  • Go to places where other parents will be. Library time, parks, local kid friendly events
  • Go for walks instead of driving, you never know who you will meet
  • Find some kid friendly cafes to visit, you’ll find other parents trying to get some me time in and the eye roll and knowing glance is enough to start a conversation
  • Be brave! It is challenging and scary at first to make contact, especially if your introverted but all relationships start with a nervous first interaction. I can bet that majority of the time, these other parents wish they had guts to say “HEY” too.
  • Take it upon yourself to text a few neighbours and friends when your going to do something, kid-less or not and ask if they want to join you at the farmers market or the playground.
  • Get to know your neighbours. Make contact, continue to maintain contact. A tea and a biscuit on the veranda can be the start of a lifelong relationship that’s really supportive for you and your kids
  • When people ask you over social media or email how you are, say, how about we get a coffee or go for a walk and chat in person. This
    takes things off screen into reality. When you make time in person for people, they make time in person for you.
  • Attempt to create some sort of monthly get together with neighbours, friends, workmates – whoever you really like and get them all interacting.
  • Help another mum or dad that you see struggling at the shops or in the park and break down the walls that way. Exchange numbers and text for a future playdate.
  • Offer to watch a friends kids when they feel stressed or overworked. Like attracts like and what’s a few hours of crazy with 4 kids anyways to help a fellow parent.

As 21st-century families, we have much to learn from the people of Africa. Even if we do not have extended family of our own on our doorstep, we can be ‘family’ to others in our community, giving and receiving mutual help and support.

Contribution by Wilhelmina Ford

Founder of ShareAbode – Connecting single parents for co-living so they can save on rent and expenses and gain friendship and support.

www.shareabode.com.au

www.instagram.com/ShareAbode

www.facebook.com/ShareAbode

Tips for Curating a Nature Table

A nature display is an enchanting way for children to engage with the environment around then and invite nature play and learning.

The display can be within a small tray or on a dedicated shelf or table. The idea is that the contents change with the seasons, thus serving to connect children with the rhythms of the natural world. When it is safe to do so, the contents of the nature display should be visible and accessible to children. This invites engagement with its contents and allows for child lead investigation and learning.

Displaying pieces found in nature also serve as a way to evoke imaginary play through the provision of loose parts. Such pieces can be removed from the display and used to create art or within small world play. The nature display itself can be set up in such a way that it is a small world in and of itself, which of course invites its presence to be a continuously evolving and interactive space.

Kate from The Masenhelders shared this beautifully curated winter seasonal table.

Here are some ideas for what can be included:

  • Items found in nature such as rocks, pinecones,
    flowers, leaves and shells
  • Live pot plants
  • Seasonal pieces and toys
  • Candles
  • Play silks
  • Artworks
  • Seasonal books

What do you have on your nature display table?

Hannah x

Nature Play in Winter: 20 Simple Ideas

When children spend time outside, they have an increased appreciation for living things, and understanding of the earth’s processes and the relationships between flora and fauna. Nature play builds childhood resilience by providing children with an environment that allows for adventure, exploration and experimentation. These are the foundations for natural, child led learning! If you would like to read more about the benefits and evidence base for nature play, check out this blog post.

Getting outside during winter supports this natural learning but also serves to connect children to seasonal changes – whether that be the temperature, weather, the observation of new growth or the disappearance of leaves,
or perhaps the emergence of some creatures and the absence of those taking shelter.

“there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” -Sir Randulph Fiennes

I of course suggest weather appropriate clothing. Layers are great as once you are active outside, you will likely feel the need to de-layer after the initial cold of stepping outside subsides.

Here are some simple ideas can be used at home or at your local or national park. On some winter days time outside may be limited to 20 minutes, some days it may be hours. The important take away from this is that it is possible to find time, everyday to get outside!

  • Go outside with umbrellas and experience rain or snow
  • Make boats from sticks and float them in streams or in puddles
  • Visit the beach after a storm and see what you can find
  • Hunt for mushrooms and fungi
  • Wrap yarn around the base of a tree or on a stick to invite colour back to your surrounds
  • Go on a winter scavenger hunt – get our free printable here
  • Take art supplies outdoors and document what you can see and find
  • Search for tadpoles in a local creek or pond
  • Build a track in the dirt for trucks and cars
  • Create a bird feeder – place peanut butter and bird seed onto recycled cardboard roll and hang this from a tree
  • Create bark rubbings – place paper onto tree trunks and colour with crayons
  • Make frozen sun catchers – here are some easy to follow instructions
  • Go foraging and create a seasonal table. If you live in Australia, consider joining our nature exchange
  • Add abundant seasonal produce like sliced lemons or limes to your mud kitchens
  • Jump in puddles!
  • Build a tee pee with sticks
  • Use a magnifying glass to search for insects
  • Read books outside in the warmth of the sun
  • Search for the footprints or tracks left by animals. The slimy trail left by a snail can easily be found after a day of rain!
  • Make obstacle courses outdoors – move your bodies to keep warm!

What are your ideas for nature play in winter? Head to our Instagram post and comment there – that way you can share your tips with our
community!

We stock a range of toys and resources that support nature play, from baskets for foraging to scoops and strainers for mud kitchen play. Check out the range here.

Hannah x

Nature Play for Babies: Simple Ideas for Exploring Together

Babies may not yet be talking, but they are communicating with their world already through exploration. Getting outside and immersed in nature is beneficial for people of all ages, including babies!

The sensory experience that is being outdoors can be grounding and soothing for babies, exposure to sunshine assists with melatonin levels and sleep and they learn so much through sensory rich experiences.

Here are some simple ways you can start exploring nature
with your baby:

  • Lay your baby on a blanket outside, allowing them to watch the swaying of tree branches and listen to the sound of birds.
  • Walk with baby in a carrier or pram at your local or national park. Talk to your baby about the sights and sounds.
  • Introduce your baby to the textures of sand, dirt, bark and grass.
  • Allow baby to explore seed pods, leaves or bark and experience the texture and form of these in their hands.
  • Explore the developmental idea of object permanence by burying a shell under the sand then finding it again
  • Provide a space for older babies to experience mixing together dirt and water
  • Observe wildlife together, whether it be birds, caterpillars or snails

On the days that getting outside is difficult, perhaps because of illness, there are also simple ways of inviting nature play into your homes:

  • Create a mobile using items foraged in nature
  • Provide your baby with a space that includes items made from natural materials such as wood and felt
  • Bring seed pods and items foraged for in nature inside and add these to a basket for supervised exploration

How do you explore nature with your baby? We would love to hear your ideas and experiences. Remember to share this blog post with any other Mama’s to babies.

Hannah x

 


We have a range of natural materials and resources in our store to support nature play at all ages and stages. 

Explore our nature play range

Transitioning to an Intentional Play Space

Are you overwhelmed by the idea of transitioning to natural and wooden toys? By removing the plastic and opting for ethical play pieces?

Our play space didn’t start out this way, it has been an intentional transition over the past three years. When Ark was younger I frequently made impulse purchases that consisted of plastic toys, usually ones that made noises or played music and I knew would give me ten minutes in that day to sit down and finish a coffee. As I started to read, learn and grow I discovered the magic of open ended toys. I learnt that the initial outlay of wooden toys would replenish themselves through their multitude of uses – meaning more finished cups of coffee for me too!

Before this transition, I was in survival mode, now I am intentional. A play space is like a curation that can be delicately presented in a way that encourages deeper imaginative play and curious exploration.

If you too are overwhelmed like I once was, I encourage you to start small. Declutter what you can and make purchases only when finances allow it. Birthdays and Christmas make a great excuse and I encourage you give your family and friends guidance with their gifts. Second hand purchases are your friend and always shop a good sale!

One of my concerns was, “will Ark like the wooden toys I purchase?”, “will he still ask for plastic toys?”. The answers, yes to both. We still allow our children to select toys they would like, and yes, sometimes this includes plastic toys. We also still purchase these plastic toys on occasion, such as when Ark has longed for it for a period of time or wishes to contribute pocket money towards the purchase. We love plastic animals for messy, sensory play too! However, 99% of the time, these plastic toys are played with intermittently over a series of days and then forgotten about. When the time is right, I invite Ark to be a part of the decluttering process and encourage gifting his toys to others who may need it.

When I started this transition process, I made a list of the play pieces I felt we needed.

Here is a rough framework for starting a holistic play space:

– Wooden blocks

– Gender neutral doll

– Characters (such as animals and peg dolls)

– Balls – for movement play and pretend play!

– Scarves or play silks

– Books!

– Sensory play materials – such as playdough, rainbow rice or simply outside in the mud!

– Something for gross motor skill development – this could be a bike or it could be a mattress on the floor!

I hope this blog as served as encouragement on your journey to a holistic play space. I am only an email or Instagram message away and would love to hear how this journey looks for you and your family.

Hannah x

The Daily Benefits of Grounding/Earthing

Guest blog post by Honestly Natural

Have you ever noticed when you’re walking barefoot outside on the grass
or at the beach you feel different? Children act differently when barefoot.
They seem happier, calm, more explorative and in tune with nature.

This rewarding feeling isn’t just a coincidence, but is because there isa constant flow of energy between your body and the earth. This strange phenomenon is known as grounding and is also known as earthing.

The earth has an enormous negative charge which is rich with powerful free-electrons that are free-radical busting and supply an abundant source of antioxidants. A free electron is “any electron that is not attached to an ion, atom, or molecule and is free to move under the influence of an applied electric or magnetic field.” (1) Our bodies are capable of absorbing these free-electrons when we have direct skin contact with the ground, such as walking barefoot. This is due to the high amount of electrolytes that we have in the fluid of our bodies such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium.

Grounding is a technique that our ancestors did every day – they slept on the ground and didn’t wear any shoes, so they were able to get the full benefits daily.

Research suggests that humans now have a significant lack of direct physical contact with the earth’s supply of electrons. This can, unfortunately, lead to health issues. Allowing ourselves time for “reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being” (1) .

So, how do we ground ourselves?

We obviously don’t live in caves or out in nature anymore and we generally wear shoes. There are also other options to just getting your shoes off so don’t worry if that’s not your thing!

Grounding can be performed by walking barefoot for 20-30 minutes a day.
You could do this just hanging out the washing or walking around the block.
Another way to ground is by touching the earth with our hands, gardening is a good way or lying on the grass with your bare hands or body touching the ground. If there is no time for those you can try connecting to conductive systems that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body. These conductive systems can include special sheets on the bed or a pad to place on your chair at work. These need to be connected to a power point which needs to be grounded. Grounding barefoot however is probably the easiest and cheapest way to do it and my favourite. When I’m sick with a cold I walk barefoot outside and I can literally feel the energy go through my whole body, I kid you not. I only feel this when sick which just blows my mind.

What does Earthing do for your body?

Earthing or grounding can give you a feeling of well-being, you feel more centered and balanced with less tension or stress. It is one of the most
potent antioxidants that we know of and is a very simple yet effective technique that can support our nervous systems and overall health. Unfortunately these days, many people who live in developed countries are rarely grounded anymore.

Studies have shown that grounding/earthing our bodies can help:

  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce inflammation in the body
  • Normalise the day–night cortisol rhythm
  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce stress
  • Make us feel happier
  • Keep you upright in old age
  • Increase heart rate variability
  • Speed wound healing
  • Reduce blood viscosity

Those benefits are perfect for young and old!

Some extra tips when you choose barefoot grounding

Water can increase the conductivity so try strolling through the grass on a dewy morning, in the humid rain or through a stream. Get your shoes off at
the beach, the park or in your backyard. As long as you are on a natural
surface such as dirt, rocks or grass and you’re good to go! Barefoot walking
has an extra bonus! I have been told by a medical practitioner that I should
walk barefoot not only for the grounding effects but also the pressure points in our feet. So get yourself some free reflexology and some electrons at the same time.

Stay connected

When it comes to living a more natural lifestyle there are endless, books, articles and resource available and it can be overwhelming to explore. Our blog at Honestly Natural has been designed to be all things natural; from Tips and Tricks, DIY ideas, Healthy Recipes and useful Information to help you on your Natural Lifestyle Journey.

Becoming a Low-Waste Parent

Guest Post by Sarah from Fully Nourished Health and Wellness Coaching

Looking after our planet is crucial because it’s the only home we have – and it’s in trouble.

If we don’t step up and cut down on personal waste, and make choices that reduce industrial waste, this trend will only continue, and get worse. As parents, we have the responsibility not only to be more mindful of our waste so that our children can have a more sustainable future, but we also have the responsibility of raising the next generation to be more connected to the earth so they can continue this throughout their life, for the generations to come.

Here are nine ways you too can get started on becoming a low waste parent and encourage your children along the way:

REUSABLE CLOTH WIPES AND NAPPIES

Whilst changing nappies has become more convenient with the introduction to disposable nappies and wipes in the last few decades, the landfill problem is increasing. Did you know a staggering 3.75 million disposable nappies are used each day in Australia and New Zealand, with conventional disposable nappies estimated to take up to 150 years to break down?*. That’s not to mention the harmful chemicals used in a lot of these products, that end up in our waterways. Cloth nappies have come a long way in the last decade. There are now modern cloth nappy options available, which makes nappy changing easier with not needing to fold a nappy square. They can last across multiple children and will cost about half as much as the disposable nappy/wipe route, albeit a bigger cost upfront. Buying as local as possible and ensuring your washing methods are also sustainable (cold washing and line drying is best) are also important.

BIODEGRADABLE LUNCH BOXES AND TABLEWARE

When choosing tableware and lunchboxes, although most of it is usually reusable, it is important to choose things that are biodegradable or recyclable so that when they are at the end of their lifespan, they can easily breakdown or be repurposed and not contribute to landfill. Look out for products which are natural, renewable, non-toxic and biodegradable. Also, keep in mind what disposable items you use at kids birthday parties. Avoid plastic plates and cups and look for biodegradable options, which are made from plant waste materials.

DITCH THE PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS

Keep reusable shopping bags in your car. You can also find ones that tuck up small into a little pouch that you can keep into your purse. This is an easy way to cut down on excess waste. Also, your reusable bag will be sturdier and cuter than any bag you’re handed at a store! Make this fun with your kids and pick out matching bags you can sport to the market on the weekend.

CARRY A STAINLESS STEEL OR GLASS DRINK BOTTLE AND COFFEE CUP

There are many floating islands of pollution, predominantly plastic, in the oceans – one the size of Mexico was discovered in 2017*. This is because it takes 450 years for the environment to break down the plastic that is used in plastic bottles. A whopping 90% of plastic isn’t recycled, and instead ends up in landfills, discarded, and swept into our planet’s waters. Plastic water bottles are one of the most commonly used plastic items by everyday individuals – so do your part and stop carrying them around! If you have a stainless steel or glass option on hand, this will be an easy thing to do. If you have young kids, get them involved with choosing their own drink bottle they can carry to school.

DON’T BUY PREPACKAGED FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

Rather than falling into the convenience of buying store bought baby food pouches, you can buy some reusable pouches and make your own baby food. You can also give the glass jars (from your sauces or olives) another life and use these for storing foods in the fridge and taking them out with you when you leave the house. When doing your grocery shopping, stop putting everything in plastic. This is another easy way to cut down on your contribution to plastic reserves are on the planet. Not all produce needs to be in a bag. In fact, lettuces do better in cloth bags! There are many reusable ones on the market. Other produce will do fine just tossed into the crisper bin. For everything else, opt for paper bags instead of plastic.

RECYCLE

Get picky about your recycling and make sure you are recycling everything you can. Your local council can provide you with what you can and can’t recycle – you’ll likely be surprised to find out how much of the stuff you usually toss in the bin is recyclable! And it makes a big difference. For instance, recycling paper saves 70% of the energy that it takes to make new paper. Get your kids involved by setting up a recycle centre in your home. Use colorful storage bins and teach your kids which materials are recyclable and explain the importance to them. Fun fact: on average, 50% of the garbage in your bin could have been recycled – so why not start!

START COMPOSTING IF YOU HAVE A GARDEN

Composting is a great way to enhance your soil if you’re a keen gardener. Learning how to compost is challenging but fun! It will decrease the waste in your rubbish bin each week and will give your gardens soil some added nutrients and support. Get the kids involved by encouraging them to take the kitchen scraps out to the backyard compost regularly and show them the process of it breaking down overtime and then using it on the garden. If you don’t have the space to start a veggie garden, you could just start a small potted herb garden.

EAT MORE PLANTS AND GO ORGANIC

Conventional farming of livestock is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases. Focus on grass-fed meats if consuming animal proteins, and even better if you adopt more of a plant-based diet to reduce impact. Big industry produce-farming depletes water resources through irrigation practices. As mentioned above, grow your own produce if you can, even if that’s just herbs on your balcony. This cuts down on energy use for transporting the produce to the grocery store. Shopping at organic farmer’s markets where produce is coming from local areas is also a great way to reduce energy waste. Organic farming practices also cause less soil depletion. Getting your kids involved is easy, take them along with you to the markets and teach them why it’s best to support these practices. Have them interact with the farmers and get them asking questions about the produce. You can also encourage them to choose a new fruit or vegetable on each outing which they haven’t tried before. And also get them involved in the kitchen and teach them how to prepare healthy plant based meals, if age appropriate.

DECREASE PLASTIC USE WITH TOYS

As we know, kids learn best through play, particularly nature-play. Rather than following what society and mainstream advertising tells us about needing a house filled with large plastic toys, find more sustainable options which encourage creativity. Kids tend to feel overwhelmed when they have a large number of toys with flashing lights, noises and moving parts. Communicate this to your family and friends as a lot of toys are received as gifts. Say it often, be loud and proud.
“Buy experience gifts, wooden toys or books for my kids, please!”. If you are given plastic toys, when your child has outgrown them, ask which ones they would like to donate or pass on to family or friends. This is an empowering process and will also teach them about sharing and kindness. Although the initial outlay of buying wooden toys can be more, this is easily justified by their multitude of uses. They will encourage your child’s creativity as they curiously explore and come up with new ways to play with them, when means they will last longer.

To raise a generation more connected to the earth, we must lead by example. We have made the choice to raise our children how we see in alignment with our beliefs and it is important to be open with them on our journey as we learn and teach. This will raise inquisitive kids with open minds who will continue learning about how they can live a healthier, more sustainable life. Taking this journey will not only teach your child how to be more sustainable to the earth, but also foster other important life skills such as mindfulness, food preparation, sharing and kindness, to name a few.

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