Families now come in all shapes and sizes, such as households led by single or same-sex parents. While this diversity is a welcome change, one thing that isn’t is how the modern British family now spends time with one another. The Banbury Guardian reports that the average family only gets 3 hours of quality time together each day, and have around 150 rows a year — 96 of which will be because of the telly.
With children spending less time with their parents and more with their favourite cartoon programmes, opportunity for parenting is scarce, and a 2019 study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly explains that this can negatively impact childhood development. It’s no wonder, then, that more parents are turning to natural parenting methods.
Natural parenting celebrates, quite literally, a natural development in children. It combines many popular techniques, including sustainable living, holistic health practices, and home-schooling. Plus, given natural parenting’s broad scope, it can provide your family with a host of benefits. Here are some of them.
It lets children develop at their own pace
Instead of pressuring children to keep up with competitive, traditional schooling, natural parenting encourages them to learn independently. Parents need to be more hands-on, and indirectly educate their children without any actual ‘teaching’. Through everyday activities and at-home schooling, children can ask critical questions and develop practical skills based on what they want to learn, all in their own time. Gardening, for example, may make them curious about plant life cycles, and wounds from playing can teach them about how the body heals.
It helps your family bond more
With parents spending more time with their children, natural parenting draws the family closer together and brings out the best in each child. Bonding improves how your child learns and increases their self-esteem, setting them up for professional success in the future. Fortunately, there are many activities to choose from, and even the busiest parents can fit them into their schedules. For example, simply eating meals and doing chores together can foster a sense of closeness. Once in a while, however, consider heading outdoors. You can either stay in the garden or visit the local park.
It encourages a more sustainable lifestyle
Living sustainably is a major aspect of natural parenting. From birth, mothers use cloth nappies and keep breastfeeding for as long as possible. Meanwhile, as discussed in a previous article titled ’10 Ways to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle with Kids’, other lifestyle changes include buying local and second-hand, reducing consumption and waste, spending more time outdoors, and even introducing new family traditions like Meatless Mondays. These efforts will teach your children to be more environmentally conscious.
It promotes a holistic approach to health
Natural parenting involves using natural alternatives, like herbal medicines and chiropractic care, wherever possible. When medical intervention is needed, natural parenting encourages making well researched, informed decisions.
Natural parenting’s holistic approach places importance on your child’s mental health. According to Verywell Mind, consistently treating your children with the love and respect they deserve strengthens your emotional bond with them and helps them feel safe with you. This will increase your child’s ability to self-regulate stress and express empathy and trust.
Tools that can help
With its emphasis on instinctive learning and sustainable living, natural parenting doesn’t require much for you to get started. A minimalist approach to baby gear requires only the barest necessities. For instance, prams that are designed to be durable and future-proof can go a long way, especially on prolonged outdoor trips. The single pushchairs from iCandy can literally grow along with your family, and even convert to serve as a double pram or car seat. This multi-functionality not only helps save money but reduces the number of baby items you’ll need over time.
Meanwhile, instead of buying a crib or sprucing up a separate nursery, parents can have their children sleep with them in their beds until they express a desire to have their own room. And during the day, equally durable and future-proof organic baby carriers, like the LILLEBaby Complete, can be a lifesaver around the house or on less intensive outdoor adventures. Baby-wearing can positively impact your child’s mood, stabilise their heartbeat, as well as improve attachment and bonding, all while allowing you to multitask.
Indeed, it’s time to question why certain parenting styles are considered normal. Instead of conforming to what’s in vogue, natural parenting helps you follow your instincts. After all, it involves being in-tune to a child’s wants or needs without using discipline or tracking development milestones.
Author: Reese Jones