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  • Heidi Fiedler 4:00 pm on 2019/06/20 Permalink
    Tags: , montessori philosophy, montessori schools, parenting books, simone davies, the montessori toddler   

    15 Easy, Reassuring Montessori Practices FromThe Montessori Toddler You Can Try at Home 


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    Simone Davies is a Montessori educator based in Amsterdam. She works with toddlers every day and has come to appreciate their energy, curiosity, and delight, but she’s mindful that not all parents feel quite the same way about this age. Her new book, The Montessori Toddler, is designed to empower parents who might be drawn to the idea of Montessori while also feeling intimidated by trying to implement the philosophy at home. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the book offers ways to set up the house to make the space more child-friendly, but the focus is on mindset, creating a calm environment, and understanding how toddlers see the world. Below are some easy ways you bring Montessori into your home, whether your kids attend a Montessori school or not. Hopefully you’ll find these practices as enjoyable as they will!

    1. Use the acronym SHOW when teaching children something new. It’s a reminder to use Slow Hands and Omit Words. When we’re talking and pointing out details, toddlers can get confused about whether they should listen or watch, so it helps to keep any demonstrations simple and quiet.
    2. Approach daily life as a chance to build practical skills. Pouring water, carrying dirty clothes to the hamper, taking off socks, nose blowing, and cleaning windows are all activities that engage young children’s senses and test their skills.
    3. Find ways to make each room accessible. In the bathroom, this might mean adding a low step, so your toddler can reach the sink. Or try adding an extender to the light switch.
    4. Make time to go outside every day. Try bringing indoor activities outside when the weather is nice.
    5. Grow a garden. It’s ok to start small! Welcome questions and digging in the dirt.
    6. Set up a cozy place for reading. Place books face-out on a bookshelf or in a basket. Let your toddler choose the books. Add a beanbag or cushion to encourage lounging.
    7. Step back and observe your child every day. Notice how they grasp objects. Watch what they eat. Observe preferences and interests. Listen as they communicate. Avoid judging or analyzing. Notice your own reactions. Use these to make small changes that can make daily life easier and more engaging for your family.
    8. Give your child a sense of belonging by trying to see the world from their perspective and avoiding labels like “the naughty one” or “the athletic one” and offering neutral feedback instead of praise.
    9. After you ask your child to do something, silently count to 10 before asking again or doing something else. That’s about how long it takes for toddlers to process a request.
    10. Acknowledge feelings even if they’re difficult feelings like being mean or hurt. Use phrases like “It looks like you…” or “I’m guessing you might feel…” Know that in a tantrum, the first thing you must do is help them calm down. Offer a cuddle if they’re receptive. Attempt to reason or explain only once the storm has passed.
    11. Try singing to add a bit of lightness to tough transitions or unpopular moments like brushing teeth or changing diapers.
    12. Let your child take the lead to see what activities they choose. It builds independence and can help you get to know your child better.
    13. Use positive language. Let your child know what to do, rather than saying what not to do. Try “We are gentle with the baby,” instead of “Don’t touch the baby!”
    14. Teach your child to share by taking turns. Give them the words if they need support. Toddlers can learn to say “My turn. It will be your turn soon.”
    15. Celebrate wherever you are. Trust that whatever your family looks like, it’s enough and you’re doing your best. Remember you’re a human. You might never stop learning or growing, but you can still enjoy who you are today. The same goes for your perfectly imperfect toddler too!

    The Montessori Toddler is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post 15 Easy, Reassuring Montessori Practices From<i>The Montessori Toddler</i> You Can Try at Home appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Heidi Fiedler 4:00 pm on 2019/05/28 Permalink
    Tags: daily rituals: wormen at work, mason currey, , ,   

    Let Legendary Writers Inspire Your Daily Routine 


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    Daily Rituals: Women at Work reveals the routines of writers, artists, scholars, and more. The sheer variety in the book makes it clear there’s more than one way to be successful. But if you’re like Edith Wharton, who once noted in a letter that “the slightest interruption in the household routine completely derails me,” you may find it helpful to tinker with your daily routine and add some structure. Because whether you’re writing or just looking to lead a more creative life, routine can help you minimize decision fatigue and make room for spontaneous moments and original thoughts. Below are a few ways you might get started.

    Experiment with Time Blocking

    Doing the same type of tasks each day can help your brain transition into work more easily. Virginia Woolf was both wildly creative and very regimented in her routine. Mornings were for writing. Afternoons were for revising. She had tea, then took time to write in her diary or keep up with correspondence. Evenings were for decidedly non-writing activities. Rinse and repeat.

    Read Every Day

    Nikki Giovanni’s routine includes puttering around the house until she’s ready to make her way to the computer. She writes only when she’s inspired. But she reads every day, even if it’s just the comics section of the newspaper, saying “I think it’s way more important to read something than it is to write.” We might be biased, but we agree completely.

    Enhance Your Experience

    Colette first wrote when her husband locked her in a room and demanded she complete a daily quota of pages. If you’re not keen on imprisonment, perhaps take a cue from Colette’s later years, when she wrote blanketed on a divan. There she took a more languid approach to the writing process. Much better, non?

    Travel

    Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God while researching voodoo culture on a Guggenheim Fellowship. Experiencing Jamaican and Haitian life helped her understand American’s race, class, and gender issues in deeper ways. But you don’t need an official grant to see the world with fresh eyes. ­­Take a road trip, book a ticket to a foreign country, or just eat lunch at a place you’ve never been to before. Making travel a part of your routine can enhance every part of life—especially mealtimes!

    Scribble Hard

    If you haven’t found the right daily routine, perhaps it’s time to think on a larger scale. If you find yourself writing like crazy every few weeks, go with it. Louisa May Alcott burned bright and fast when she wrote, skipping meals and neglecting sleep. She also wore a “scribbling suit,” made of a black apron and hat. The look was designed to say “Do not disturb. Very serious writing business is happening here.” It may been a touch overly dramatic, but it did keep family away while she worked.

    Block the Internet

    Zadie Smith credits much of her success to resisting the modern requirement to own a smart phone, avoiding social media, and turning off the internet with the help of apps. She doesn’t force herself to write, but she doesn’t let herself get distracted either. Speaking of which…isn’t there somewhere else you should be? Maybe your local B&N, perchance?

    The post Let Legendary Writers Inspire Your Daily Routine appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Heidi Fiedler 2:00 pm on 2019/05/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    10 Ways to Fight Burnout and the Patriarchy at the Same Time 


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    If you’ve ever worried you’re not doing enough while yet feeling stretched way too thin all at the same time, you are a human. If you’ve ever felt those contradictory symptoms of burnout and also felt forbidden to acknowledge it, you’re probably a woman. What makes Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle such a standout is the way the authors clearly identify the underlying cause of burnout. Our capitalist, patriarchal society is hard on everyone, especially women who are expected to give, give, give, never asking for a break or acknowledgement, all while wearing a smile and remaining calm in the face of impossible standards. (Just typing that sentence was dispiriting and exhausting!) The issue is worse for women of color and other minorities who live with a whole other set of impossible expectations and rules, along with being judged as women. The good news is that when we fight burnout, we fight the patriarchy. It goes beyond the idea that self care is radical and revolutionary. It’s a mindset shift that changes the way we see ourselves and the world. And perhaps one day it will change the way the world sees us. Below are 10 ways to get started.

    1. Resist the message that women need to “be nice, be strong, be polite” all the time and never have any feelings, by finding healthy ways to process your feelings. Exercise is the fastest way. (Picture yourself smashing the patriarchy for maximum effect.) Meditation, talking with friends, laughing, and cuddling with someone you trust also work. There’s power in being able to move fluidly between feeling unsafe or stressed, and then feeling calm again.
    2. Plan ahead. Anticipate problems, write lists, schedule, budget, anticipate, and execute. (You’re probably already doing this.) Now use those skills to manage the stress that comes from living with overwhelming and unrealistic expectations. Actually schedule time to process your feelings. (Go do it now!) It will help you be strong enough to keep going.
    3. Reframe challenges as being moments when you might grow and learn. It can help both in the moment and looking back. The idea is to redefine success on your own terms. Don’t let the man tell you whether you’re winning or not. Depending on your circumstances, this might be easier said than done. But the science says it truly works.
    4. Know you’re doing a hard thing makes it easier to keep going. It’s hard if everyone keeps telling you it’s no big deal. So at least give yourself the gift of acknowledging the rules are mindbendingly contradictory and expectations are impossibly high.
    5. Set specific, personal goals that are measurable, in your control, enjoyable, and you can achieve quickly. It helps you remember your own definition of success and ignore the expectations that can never be met.
    6. Recognize the moment when you swing between feeling like your goals are unattainable and being frustrated by the system. Then name it. The Nagoski sisters call it “foop.” It’s a silly word for those tricky thoughts like “I’m sure I can save this relationship, I just need to try harder. But no, it’s hopeless, they’ll never change, I’m not good enough at feelings to help them be a better person, but ugh, it’s not my job to change them! But ugh, I should change me!” (Can the Nagoskis see inside our heads???)
    7. Make the struggle meaningful by connecting it to something larger, whether that’s your legacy, spiritual calling, or connection to others. Finding your purpose or whatever it is that makes you feel like you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing is energizing and empowering. At the very least, it can be sustaining in the face of oppression.
    8. Fight helplessness by doing something—whatever you can. Scream. Walk. Dance. Turn your pain into art. Organize your bookshelves. Just prove to yourself that you are competent and capable.
    9. Reject the billion-dollar industry that constantly encourages us to diet in order to shrink ourselves, and to otherwise doubt our bodies. Just don’t. You are beautiful. Right. This. Very. Second.
    10. Connect with people who get you and the issues you face. That might mean a very loving husband, a true friend, or the Nagoski sisters. Their book is a welcoming place after a long day, and reading it feels like the perfect antidote to burnout and centuries of accumulated injustice.

    Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post 10 Ways to Fight Burnout and the Patriarchy at the Same Time appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Heidi Fiedler 2:00 pm on 2019/05/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    10 Ways to Fight Burnout and the Patriarchy at the Same Time 


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    If you’ve ever worried you’re not doing enough while yet feeling stretched way too thin all at the same time, you are a human. If you’ve ever felt those contradictory symptoms of burnout and also felt forbidden to acknowledge it, you’re probably a woman. What makes Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle such a standout is the way the authors clearly identify the underlying cause of burnout. Our capitalist, patriarchal society is hard on everyone, especially women who are expected to give, give, give, never asking for a break or acknowledgement, all while wearing a smile and remaining calm in the face of impossible standards. (Just typing that sentence was dispiriting and exhausting!) The issue is worse for women of color and other minorities who live with a whole other set of impossible expectations and rules, along with being judged as women. The good news is that when we fight burnout, we fight the patriarchy. It goes beyond the idea that self care is radical and revolutionary. It’s a mindset shift that changes the way we see ourselves and the world. And perhaps one day it will change the way the world sees us. Below are 10 ways to get started.

    1. Resist the message that women need to “be nice, be strong, be polite” all the time and never have any feelings, by finding healthy ways to process your feelings. Exercise is the fastest way. (Picture yourself smashing the patriarchy for maximum effect.) Meditation, talking with friends, laughing, and cuddling with someone you trust also work. There’s power in being able to move fluidly between feeling unsafe or stressed, and then feeling calm again.
    2. Plan ahead. Anticipate problems, write lists, schedule, budget, anticipate, and execute. (You’re probably already doing this.) Now use those skills to manage the stress that comes from living with overwhelming and unrealistic expectations. Actually schedule time to process your feelings. (Go do it now!) It will help you be strong enough to keep going.
    3. Reframe challenges as being moments when you might grow and learn. It can help both in the moment and looking back. The idea is to redefine success on your own terms. Don’t let the man tell you whether you’re winning or not. Depending on your circumstances, this might be easier said than done. But the science says it truly works.
    4. Know you’re doing a hard thing makes it easier to keep going. It’s hard if everyone keeps telling you it’s no big deal. So at least give yourself the gift of acknowledging the rules are mindbendingly contradictory and expectations are impossibly high.
    5. Set specific, personal goals that are measurable, in your control, enjoyable, and you can achieve quickly. It helps you remember your own definition of success and ignore the expectations that can never be met.
    6. Recognize the moment when you swing between feeling like your goals are unattainable and being frustrated by the system. Then name it. The Nagoski sisters call it “foop.” It’s a silly word for those tricky thoughts like “I’m sure I can save this relationship, I just need to try harder. But no, it’s hopeless, they’ll never change, I’m not good enough at feelings to help them be a better person, but ugh, it’s not my job to change them! But ugh, I should change me!” (Can the Nagoskis see inside our heads???)
    7. Make the struggle meaningful by connecting it to something larger, whether that’s your legacy, spiritual calling, or connection to others. Finding your purpose or whatever it is that makes you feel like you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing is energizing and empowering. At the very least, it can be sustaining in the face of oppression.
    8. Fight helplessness by doing something—whatever you can. Scream. Walk. Dance. Turn your pain into art. Organize your bookshelves. Just prove to yourself that you are competent and capable.
    9. Reject the billion-dollar industry that constantly encourages us to diet in order to shrink ourselves, and to otherwise doubt our bodies. Just don’t. You are beautiful. Right. This. Very. Second.
    10. Connect with people who get you and the issues you face. That might mean a very loving husband, a true friend, or the Nagoski sisters. Their book is a welcoming place after a long day, and reading it feels like the perfect antidote to burnout and centuries of accumulated injustice.

    Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post 10 Ways to Fight Burnout and the Patriarchy at the Same Time appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Heidi Fiedler 7:00 pm on 2019/04/30 Permalink
    Tags: , how to unplug   

    How to Have a Screen-Free Week with Your Family—And Love Every Minute of It 


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    If spring has you craving a refresh on your family time, Screen-Free Week comes at the perfect time. From April 29 through May 5, you can join families around the country as they commit to spending more time with the people they love and less time with screens that will never love them back. A week without screens may sound a little boring—or intimidating—but really it’s an invitation to daydream, reconnect, and explore. We’ve been brainstorming lots of ways to use the extra time, and share some of our favorites below. They’ll give new meaning to the word recharge.

    Exercise Your Curiosity

    Encourage kids’ natural curiosity with a new kit. Make some slime. Look at rocks under a microscope. Build a terrarium. Young scientists need time and space to observe the world, ask questions, and test their ideas. This is the week to let their curiosity go wild!

    Go Outside

    Go on a scavenger hunt, take a hike, or pack a picnic. Challenge your kids to find a favorite tree or collect specimens to research back at home (with a book, not an app!). A little green can feel so restful to our overtaxed eyes, and conversation flows more easily when everyone has a little nature in them. You might not want to go inside.

    Read to the Little Ones

    Daily reading might sound aspirational, but with a little extra time at the end of the day, it’s easy to pick up a book and share a story. Whether you’re reading a title you loved as a child or checking out a new series, you’ll be exploring the world of books together. (Bonus: Reading tends to inspire more cuddles than video games.)

    Start a Family Book Club

    You know how much fun it is to read the same book your friends are reading. So why not start a family book club? Choose a book everyone can read on their own. Then, at the end of the week, throw a mini party. Read your favorite parts aloud. Play games in character. Eat story-inspired snacks. The fun doesn’t have to stop after Screen-Free Week. Your “book club” can meet every month, and you can savor the knowledge that you’re raising a family of readers.

    Puzzle Over a Communal Puzzle

    If you’re looking for a communal activity that dials up the serene, pick out a new puzzle and invite everyone to help. Choose a scene that will get people talking, set up some snacks, and turn on a little music. Some kids may drift in and out, while others will pull up a chair and settle in for the evening. Celebrate the skills each family member brings to the puzzle process, encouraging people to swap chairs when they need a fresh start. Then enjoy the satisfaction that comes from working together.

    Play Board Games

    One night this week, get out all the board games. You might want to invite friends and families over so you can have a board game bonanza, or you might keep it chill with just you and the kids. Once you find a game everyone loves, you’ll forget about TV and tablets. Get your game face on, parents. Weeknights are about to get way sillier than they used to be.

    Get Crafty

    Grab some glitter, beads, markers, paint, and glue, and create a family crest, or something dramatic and abstract you can hang above the couch. Channel your inner artists together or on your own, creating a body of work, piece by piece. Whatever you decide to make, it’s not about the product, it’s about the process. This is the perfect week to get crafty, messy, and weird.

    Build Something

    Challenge your family to a LEGO competition or build something together. Get a nifty new set, or try something new like magnetic blocks. You’ll give your hands something to do other than push buttons or navigate a touchscreen, and you’ll have some impressive 3D proof that you spent the week screen-free. Build a TV out of LEGOS, and it might even be a good reminder to leave the screens dark next week, too.

    The post How to Have a Screen-Free Week with Your Family—And Love Every Minute of It appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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