The depth and wisdom of the Waldorf educational movement extends beyond our classrooms here at The Denver Waldorf School. In subtle yet impactful ways, families can integrate Waldorf philosophies into their home lives as well. But what does it mean to bring Waldorf into your home?

It isn’t just about playsilks, beeswax, beautiful wooden toys, a proper supply of woolies, paper stars hanging from the windows, or the absence of an always-on television (although we do love all these). Rather, it is about creating a thoughtful home-life around the values that we most cherish.

In doing so, we create a sense of purpose, familiarity, and joy for our children. By ensuring our home life and school life complement each other, our children have a sense of security in knowing what to expect.

Here are a few ways to bring Waldorf into your day-to-day home life:

  1. Rhythm. Rhythm and consistency calm our children’s, and our, nervous systems, in turn creating more peace and less stress in our homes. Just ask a kindergartener what day it is and you’ll likely get the answer “bread day” or “soup day.” Establishing a daily, weekly and seasonal rhythm in our home creates a sense of stability for our children, as they know what to expect.

    It isn’t a strict schedule to follow, where if we don’t stick to it we’ve failed. Instead, it’s a gentle way to guide us through our days. Just like when we breathe in and out, our days can reflect that same rhythm — the in-breath in which we embrace the quiet (for example, reading a story), followed by the out-breath in which we embrace the world around us (such as going for a walk around the block). Likewise, we can be intentional about doing the same thing on the same day of the week, such as laundry, going to the library, or other daily tasks which we can include our children.

    Living into the seasons by taking the time to notice what is going on around us in the natural world —the first springs of green grass or new birds chirping — reminds us where we are in the world. We can create a little place where we invite nature into our homes to connect us to the world we share – a few pinecones in winter or treasures collected on a walk.

    If you find you have no rhythm today, start with something very small — light a candle before dinner, take a walk around the block each morning, or sing the same song at bedtime.

  2. Simplicity. In a world that pushes us to fill our lives with more, we can find ourselves overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the day ahead of us. Embracing simplicity, however, reminds us that we do not have to do “all the things, all at once.” 

As parents we want the best for our children, and so understandably we feel an impulse to fill our children’s lives with ever-growing “enrichment” opportunities (be it music, sports, extra curriculars, and the list goes on and on). However, more is not always better; in fact, oftentimes, the practice of too-much-too-soon overwhelms our families and counteracts healthful growth and intellectual stimulation.

    Allowing ourselves to slow down, simplify our days, and invite our children into everyday life helps center them and gives them a place within the family. Young children are eager to help prepare meals, wash dishes, do laundry, sweep the floor and many other daily tasks. When we include them in the act of caring for our environment, and doing it with intention, we are planting the seeds of compassion and care for the world all around us.

  3. Free, unstructured play in nature. Children’s lives, and our lives as parents, are often scheduled from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed. In our busy lives, sometimes we need to remember the power and importance of downtime and how important healthy free play is. 

Play is the job of children, it is how they make sense of the world around them. All of the impressions our children take in during the day – whether is it from screens, a simple trip to the grocery store, or a day at school — must be processed, and the way children make sense of what they have seen and done is through free, unstructured play. Ensuring we incorporate free play in nature every day allows our children to make sense of the world around them and keeps them from becoming overwhelmed. Nature is the easiest, and best, reset when our children, or we as parents, become overwhelmed.

By taking a few conscious steps to bring rhythm, simplicity, and play into our days we can create a home life that reflects our values and which translates into less anxious children and adults — leaving room for growth and a love for the world all around us.