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Pagan Parenting for the Under 5’s


Happy New Year!

Some of you celebrate the New Year on Jan. 1 and some of you don’t but even if it’s not the beginning of your seasonal year, it’s still a new digit in our year. 2008 is now 2009. Can you believe it? I remember when we brought in the year 2000. I was thinking about what life would be like in 2010. In 2000 I was 17 so I had no idea what was ahead of me. So am I happy with where I am? Yes. Things could always be better but I have a husband who loves me, and two beautiful children. I’m happy.

So how much does a 5 year old understand about the New Year? I don’t know. My children aren’t 5 yet but I’ve worked with 5 year olds and they seem to understand it signifies the change of the calendar year. They may have heard adults talk about resolutions but may not fully understand what they are. Do you make resolutions for the New Year? I do, but I make sure to stay away from goals related to weight loss. Controlling your weight is difficult and you may not fulfill your goal, through no fault of your own. Stick to simpler goals but don’t be too broad.

For example, I plan to keep my house cleaner is too broad. I plan to sweep and mop once a week is better. I plan to write a novel is too complicated (who writes a novel in one year?) I plan to come up with a plot outline and get started on the first chapter is better.

Why are resolutions important? Goal setting in particular is different and there is just something about the New Year that makes us want to do better. What does this all have to do with children? Lots!

I want my children to see the importance of goal setting, including not just the setting of goals but also the follow through. Making the goal is just the first step. If you ignore your goals for the rest of the year only to make new goals (or the same goals) again the next year, you aren’t modelling the importance of goal setting to your children.

Even children as young as 2 ½ can understand about doing better in the new year. Perhaps they want to learn to use the potty or how to tie their shoes. The trick is though, not to pick something YOU want them to learn and tell them it’s their goal. They need to come up with it themselves, something THEY want to learn or do better. If your child can’t come up with anything, even with you suggesting some things, than just leave it. Wait till next year but keep up with your goals and keep modelling goal setting.

Imbolc

Moving on, Imbolc is coming up Feb. 2. As next month’s ezine will be too late to plan for Imbolc, I want to touch on it here.

Imbolc of course, is a celebration of light as winter is ending and spring is on its way. It’s not here yet (that would be Ostara) but each day has more and more light. Deity-wise, it is the time that the Goddess recuperates after giving birth to the God.

So what can you do with your little ones to celebrate Imbolc?

* Light candles and watch them burn. Your child is too young to be making candles but with your help they can light candles and watch them from a safe distance. This is a good time to teach fire safety. NEVER leave your child alone with a candle.
* Look for signs of spring. Are there any shoots on the trees yet? Perhaps there is less snow? Or a bird tweet? It all depends on where you live as to how much of spring you will see at the beginning of February.
* Have a purification bath. Either bathe with your child or bathe your child, whichever works best for you. Bless the water before you and/or your child get in and perhaps say something about the deity (deities) of your choice blessing and purifying you and your child.
* A child 3-5 might be able to make a Brighid’s Cross out of pipe cleaners, with help. Just bend them in half and put them together as you would straw.
* Have a very simple ritual. I think many Pagans underestimate their ability to make their own ritual. Ritual does not have to be long and complicated with lots of actions and speaking parts. You wouldn’t want this with a child under 5 anyways. Perhaps turn off all the lights in the house (during the day so it’s not too dark) and hold hands. Then say something about spring being on it’s way and light coming back to the earth. Then go around the house and turn on all the lights. Then hold hands again and say Welcome. Turn off unnecessary lights after 30 minutes or so to save energy.

I hope I’ve given you some good ideas. I’m sure you can think up some more on your own. Ask your child what he/she thinks you should do to call spring back. They just might have some great ideas.

All right that’s it for this month, I hope you’ve found something helpful. As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me at [email protected] I always welcome comments here too of course; it’s great to know my article is being read.