Creating healthy living spaces at home

“The physical environment must be understood in the widest sense imaginable. It includes not just what happens around the children in the material sense, but everything that occurs in their environment, everything that can be perceived by their senses, that can work on the inner powers of the children from the surrounding physical space.”

Rudolf Steiner, The Education of the Child.

The early years of childhood (0 to 7 years) lays the foundation for a healthy development of the child. Apart from warmth from parents, a child also requires a physical environment/ living space that is nourishing, warm, secured and aesthetically pleasing.

There are various aspects that play a role in providing a nourishing environment for the child – the toys a child plays with, the choice of colours, a warm cozy corner, cleanliness of the place to name a few.

Part of a healthy living space

Mindful Toys – Handmade Waldorf dolls

When a parent mindfully selects toys for a child, it sets the path for creative, imaginative and healthy play for a child. Toys like handmade dolls become a true friend of a child, with whom the child shares her/his dreams, adventures and feelings.

There are toys collected by the child during a nature walk, so stones, feathers, seed pods, sticks, tree barks, pine cones are natural toys ‘fallen from heaven’ that the child can innately connect with, and it takes various forms in their free play. Such natural materials have a warmer feeling to it than a plastic or a synthetic toy, for example.

A Warm cozy corner

Creating a small, cozy corner for the child at home can make the child feel secured and safe. If you have space, then select a room or a corner in the house where the child can feel free to express himself/herself and engage in creative, imaginative play.

Even if there is less space, you can use your plain cotton saris, cotton dupattas or simple bedsheets – that are not jarring, gaudy or with block prints – as those can be overwhelming for a young child.

Simple pastel colours like baby pink, peach, or shades of pink gives the warmth and cozy feeling to the child. You may put a small mat or mattress (if available) and neatly place the dolls and observe how comfortable the child is playing in that space.

Aesthetically pleasing

“In order to become true educators, we must be able to see the truly aesthetic element in the work, to bring an artistic quality into our tasks. … If we bring this aesthetic element, then we begin to come closer to what the child wills out his own nature.”

Rudolf Steiner, A Modern Art of Education

A young child till the age of 7 is ‘wholly a sense organ’ – which means that the child absorbs everything present in his/her environment. Everything the young child sees, hears, and touches has an effect on the well-being of the child.

Making sure that each and every item has its place and purpose, ensures that our living space stays simple, neat and tidy. This, combined with a mindful selection of colours, toys, plants at home, makes the space aesthetically pleasing.

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