Lorena Seidel is a Montessori teacher, a Social Emotional Learning consultant, a Positive Discipline educator, and a mother of three. She helps moms create parent-child connection and harmony- that last.

478: Relisten: Create An Optimal Home Environment (196) 

Lorena Seidel

Did you know that by making simple changes in your home, young children can feel empowered to perform everyday tasks with little or no help?

Making changes to optimize your home environment can help develop social, emotional, and life skills and pay dividends down the road.

This episode’s expert, Lorena Seidel, Montessori teacher, a Social Emotional Learning consultant, a Positive Discipline educator, and a mother of three—identifies ways to improve your home!

Relisten: Create An Optimal Home Environment - Lorena Seidel (196) [478]

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Hunter: Hey there, it's Hunter, and welcome to Throwback Thursday. Most Thursdays, we are going to re release one of my favorite episodes from the archives. So unless you're a long time listener of the show, there's a good chance you haven't heard this one yet. And even if you had, chances are that you are going to get something new listening to it this time around.

[00:00:23] Lorena Seidel: When we do take on the consideration their needs and we look around, there's a lot of And find ways to help create this environment that works for them and shows them that they are important, that they fit in, that they belong, that they have a place and a family, gives them that sense of love. So they already feel better.

And when we feel better, we do better.

[00:00:46] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode 196. Today, we're talking about how to create an optimal home environment with Lorena Seidel.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Parenting, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years. I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, and I'm the author of the international bestseller, Raising Good Humans, and now Raising Good Humans Every Day, 50 Simple Ways to Press Pause, Stay Present, and Connect with Your Kids. Welcome. Back to the podcast, my friend.

I am so pumped that you are here. I am excited to introduce you to a friend of mine, Lorena Seidel, who is a Montessori teacher, a social emotional learning consultant, and a positive discipline educator. And she's a mom of three, and she helps moms create parent child connection and harmony that last. And she is going to be talking to us today.

about your home environment, which I think is so kind of appropriate, right? As we approach the holidays, this, I want to give you this inspiration to maybe take it a little simple. So, you know, do you know that by making really simple everyday changes in your home, young children can really feel empowered to perform everyday tasks with little or no help.

So in this episode, we're going to talk about changes you can make to optimize your home So that, you know, your child can develop social, emotional, and life skills that are gonna pay dividends down the road, I promise. And you're gonna hear how we can avoid lots of struggles and negative behavior, and how all of us, including children, want love and power, that this is what drives us, and, you know, about our unconscious messages to our young children.

And so this is going to be. A powerful episode, and I know you are going to really enjoy it, and Lorena, so join me at the table as I talk to Lorena Seidel.

Lorena, thanks so much for coming on the Mindful Mama podcast. Oh, thank you so much for having me. This is such a pleasure to, to be here and be able to talk to you and your audience. Um, I was, I'm excited to talk to you cause I love talking about Montessori. Um, you know, as you might know, like I have a, my girls are in a public Montessori school.

They started out in this local private Montessori school and I had learned about Montessori Uh, when I was in graduate school and thinking, Oh, you know, I had, I was in graduate school for educate, for art education and, um. I was learning about all these different forms of education and I had, I remember I had been so frustrated with my own education.

So I was looking at like unschooling and homeschooling and thinking about that. And I was like, what if people don't want to do that? You know, I'm not sure I really want to do that. So then I learned about Montessori and I was like, Oh, it's like the perfect, it's like perfectly in the middle. You know, it's, you know, that it follows the child's independence, this multi age thing.

I got very excited about it. So anyways, we have a. A long history of supporting Montessori in my family and me learning so much from Montessori, but it sounds like you, tell me about your path towards Montessori.

[00:04:37] Lorena Seidel: Sure. I always, I feel like my entire life I have been dedicated to I grew up in Brazil, and in Brazil, when you go to college, you have to choose right away what your major is going to be.

Um, so for the whole four years, you studied just that one thing, and I chose education and linguistics at the time. And then when I moved here, I went back to school and got a new degree here. So I had that background in education and just like you, I was learning all different methods of education, Walter, and all the, you know, the psychology behind all different methods, and we brushed over Montessori very briefly.

Um, but then I happened to. Move here and got my new degree here and then my master's here. And I was lucky enough to have a Montessori school, which is actually one of the, the, the first American Montessori schools. Uh, in my area and I was living really close to it. And at the time, many years ago, they were also in the process of becoming an international school with the international baccalaureate.

And I was trained as an IB teacher as well. So they hired me really fresh out of college. I was 21 and, and then I didn't really know too much about it, but they sent me to training and then I became a certified Montessori teacher. Way back then and worked with the school, which they, they were the school in which the American Montessori society started.

So they were like the very first, and I felt really lucky that I got to learn from, you know, one of the best, you know, groups of teachers. And it was really a great experience. And I did that for several years before I had. My Own Children, and then I took a break from it.

[00:06:33] Hunter: So can you tell us like really briefly, like for someone who's not familiar with Montessori, although if you're a listener of this podcast, I'm probably like harped on it so much.

So I apologize if this is repetitive, but can you tell for the, for the listener who doesn't know what, what makes Montessori different? Why is it different from other forms of education? 

[00:06:53] Lorena Seidel: Well, it's not the traditional. It's more of a independent, more of a progressive education. So a few of the biggest differences are the multi age groups.

So the classes are grouped with three age groups. So three to six. 9 to 12, uh, so you have three grades within a classroom, and the teachers will stay with those students for a three year period, so they have this cycle, um, and it's really great because the younger students, they get to learn what Dr.

Maria Montessori talks about, like this three fold of learning. So, you learn the instructions from a teacher, then you get a chance to practice and master it on your own by doing it hands on, and then you get to teach someone how to do it, and with this three year, the children have the chance to do that, so they will learn, and then they practice, and then as they They're, they are the elders in the classroom.

They get to be the ones who teach and help the younger students. So, and now with the latest brain research and everything sort of points it to that model of learning being the one that's really effective and uses both sides of the brain and the things that it's like, like a recipe I can. Tell you what the recipe is.

And that's great. Then you actually go there and you do it yourself and you bake that cake and you'll learn by doing and you master it. And then you actually teach someone else how to do it. And then it's really solidified and you, you know. are more likely to remember it forever and becomes sort of ingraining you.

So that's one big difference. And then also the way that the materials are presented and laid out. So, uh, some people think that it's really free, but it's really freedom within a preselection and a very particular, you know, set of materials, um, with a curriculum that's really, uh, well thought out. It is all out in the environment and then the children are able to choose.

the work that they want to do it, and they're able to do it on their own at their own pace. And because there are not many works of the same kind, so there's one of a kind sort of work, then nobody's really doing the same thing at the same time. So it discourages that competition and trying to be better or finish first because everybody's doing something different at their own pace and nobody even notices where each other really is in their academic process, which is really nice.

And then they have areas of the classroom that are a little different than the traditional model. They have the Radical life, for example, where children are really learning to take care of themselves and take care of the environment. They are making their own snacks, cleaning. They are doing things with their hands.

They're being contributors of that community. 

[00:09:46] Hunter: Oh my God, my husband and I joke with our kids all the time, like, about pouring skills. Mikey, you are Montessori kids, you should be able to not smell a drop of that water.

[00:09:59] Lorena Seidel: It's not glamorous, but they do so much of that, a lot of the pouring. And I see, because I'm actually now again in the Montessori environment working with a school on this long term.

Consulting with them, even though I'm consulting social emotional learning, which is what I tend to do more now, I get to watch them, they're in action and I work with the students from, you know, primary all the way through upper elementary. And. You see that progression and how they take care of themselves, how they take the compost out, they empty the dishwasher and load the dishwasher and run it, and they bring the laundry home.

So my three girls go to the school now, and every so often I have a big bag of laundry that they actually do the entire thing themselves. They run it, they fold, they switch, they do it, and they bring back to the school. But it's really nice to see how everyone is really in charge of that. And they're all working together and as they grow older, their responsibilities grow with them.

So I think that those are like the biggest, if I were to just name, you know, three, four things that are very different, I would say that those are the differences.

[00:11:16] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

Yeah, it's interesting. It's because the, you know, When kids are little, they really want to be doing the things adults are doing. Like, they want to be given all these things to do, right? And that's when we don't generally, I think in society, we tend to like not give them things because they're going to drop things and break things and whatever, because they're two years old or three years old or four years old.

But that's exactly when we can kind of seize this moment of inspiration and what I personally love about. The Montessori system is, uh, that is, uh, a system that, it develops, continues to develop kids intrinsic motivation, right? Because, because of that, uh, that choice ability, like, I mean, I remember. Being a kid and just having to do this thing at this time with everybody in the class and doing these worksheets and being so either bored out of my mind or not really understand or whatever, and just.

Yeah, and then learning the math. There's so much about this that that we could go on to but um, but what's. really what I wanted to talk to you about and what's, you know, I think it's, there's a great takeaway. It's like when I saw these things for my kids, Oh, look what they can do. You know, when, um, one of the big things they talk about is the prepared environment, like, and like, look what you can do when you prepare the environment for somebody who is only like maybe 36 inches tall.

I mean, or whatever. I mean, are, it's really interesting to, uh, I mean, we know that most preschools, of course, you go into them and they're set up with little chairs and things like that, but the, the monastery, the way they, they really encourage that with almost all the things. So you, you saw this in this work you were doing, and then you.

We got pregnant with your own first child, imagine, I, you know, I imagine you write about this in, in your book and how you decided that you were going to take this into your own home, right? So tell us a little bit about your, you know, what your thinking was. I mean, cause for me, I was like, yes, like I don't, I'm putting these little, I'm putting These little hooks down low on my, on, on the stairwell so you can hang up your jacket because I don't want to, I don't want to be your slave.

Like, hey, pull your jacket.

[00:13:46] Lorena Seidel: It was really interesting because when I was in the classroom, I would see children And I think I mentioned one in my book. I would see this, you know, many of them and I, you know, mentioned this one little girl and she would clip flowers and put them in vases. She would then move on and take a banana and slice it and then go around serving to friends.

She would, you know, You know, polish a little penny with some salt and vinegar. Like you would see her like doing all those things for herself. And she was so capable and independent and doing, just thriving in that environment. But the second that many of the students would be picked up, they're Child, you know, their caregiver, their parents, or babysitters would hold their bag for them, carry their jackets, and you could see that it was a different, it was a very different dynamic that they experienced at home.

And I started noticing that and, I just wanted to have that continuity. I've always wanted to find ways to bridge that gap between the home and the school, so the work that's done in the school can be carried out into the home. And when I had my own, I was I was so fired up by this Montessori thing that I looked at every way I could bring it into the house.

So there was already many, um, you know, research and bloggers and people out there doing that. So I read all about it and I decided I was going to implement everything. So we did the floor bed. We always just had the wooden toys and we were very particular about how we laid them out and we didn't have too many, and we.

Placed it in a way that would be easy for the children to choose what they want without overwhelming them. And then they could do the activities, but also managed to put away because it wasn't a huge amount of things to clean up at the end. Um, so we, we did all that. And as they grew, so when they're very little, there's not too much of a difference other than we did the floor bed, but we also, you know, had them with us for a long time.

[00:15:56] Hunter: Let's break it down. So like, you're bringing this into the home and the, the I, the purpose is right to make it so that the, not for the child to be like adapted to the adult environment, but you're trying to adapt the environment so the child can do as much as they can for themselves. And I just want to break down a couple things you said there because, um, You know, the, it's this idea, what you're mentioning is this, we, I can picture it because I've been in so many Montessori classrooms, but for the listener who can't, in a Montessori classroom, there's like shelves of work and what you might consider toys, but like, or activities, right, that are down low so the child can reach them, but they're spaced around the shelf.

So, you know, it's, this is not like a toy room with like bins of things piled up in. What you're describing is really like. From the normal American kid environment, it's radically simplified. So maybe you could give us, like, you know, a few of the ways that you, you brought into the home for like a first, uh, a really young child, like you mentioned the floor bed.

Tell me about that.

[00:17:09] Lorena Seidel: So the floor bed idea was just that you want, you want to foster the independence, you want to foster self regulation, you want to foster, um, confidence in the child. So the idea of a floor bed is so the child can regulate. So if they wake up, they're Uh, they don't have to just look at the ceiling or look through bars.

They can actually see the entire room. And then of course the entire room has to be child safe and proofed. So it becomes, and then they put a gate at the door. So the whole thing is a big playpen and it's like a yes environment. Sort of what, you know, the, um, Our, um, REI approach also talks about like creating this yes environment.

And, and then when the child starts moving and crawling out and walking out of bed, they are actually able to also wake up and go grab a little book or. A toy that they have nearby and they can entertain themselves without having to cry for mom, right, because they're stuck in a crib. And then they could also be playing in the bedroom and when they are tired, they can just crawl to bed and put themselves to sleep.

So that's the idea. So that was one thing that I did very early on, but then as they grow older, you start changing throughout the entire house. 

[00:18:26] Hunter: Um, so I, can I ask you about the floor bed? Did it work out that way? Like, uh, you know, I imagine Melissa was saying that's really ideal, but I can't put myself, like, putting my child putting.

[00:18:36] Lorena Seidel: I know, and my sound really, yeah, it does sound a bit crazy. Uh, well for us it did really work really well. We would have several occasions where we would just walk by the bedroom and we would see that they were playing. And then a few minutes later we would walk by again and they were sleeping. They put themselves to sleep.

Um, And we did it with all three of them. So we've never owned a crib. We've always did that. Um, and it worked out for us. Uh, it was really nice. Um, I think that it was also good for me because I was able to just lie down with them. I got one big mattress at the time because it was our like guest bedroom mattress.

So I was able to always lie down a nurse in the middle of the night. So it was easy for me to also get in there. Um, so you would, of course they would cry for us, you know, they would still, as they grew older, you know, instead of. Getting up on the crib and crying. They would go to the door at the gate and cry, but they were a lot more likely to just entertain themselves and they were able to wake up and not, and find something to do it and get engaged.

They were able to go to bed, but of course there's still, you know, the bedtime battles can, can still happen. That all can happen. But we really have very great slippers. They all sleep really well and we. We don't have to really spend a lot of time putting them to bed. It was always really easy, bedtime routine.

It was just. Enjoyed like they were, it was never a negative. There was nothing. There was ever a negative experience associated with the bedtime. It was always something that they liked and enjoyed doing. And they, I mean, we were all wired to want to sleep.

[00:20:24] Hunter: Yeah.

[00:20:24] Lorena Seidel: Something that children have a hard time going to bed because they have a hard time separating because they have a hard time being confined.

But we really are all, we all love to sleep.

[00:20:35] Hunter: So, so how young was what I was wanting to ask? Like how, how, starting at what age did you do the floor pad? Like an infant?

[00:20:43] Lorena Seidel: Uh, well they stayed with me on a little bassinet next to my bed for several months or so, I would think. Say maybe six months on, uh, that's when they started to sleep a lot.

[00:20:54] Hunter: And that's so cool. I never heard that. I love, I love that idea. So what, what were a few other ways that you've found that are more

[00:21:03] Lorena Seidel: for, for people who may not be as simply just. Putting their, hanging their clothes on a lower bar in their closet. So they can just reach, uh, not having too many things for them to choose from.

It's also a great idea. So you, you really are trying to minimize the, the choices for them because you want to minimize the battles for you. So if you don't have a lot out, then it's easier for them to choose what they need and do it themselves. But it could just be having, you know, the, a stool for them to, to step in and reach their drawers, um, if you don't have it in the bedroom.

Um, other things like throughout the kitchen that you can just, just having a little low cabinet for them in the kitchen where they can get their plates and cups and bowls, and they can set the table themselves or move their snacks to the lower drawers or shelf in the refrigerator so they can reach themselves.

Um, Finding ways to help them prepare their own meals, even just, you know, even if they're just going to drink or, you know, have milk and cereal in the morning, you can set it up in a way that sets them up for success. So, instead of having a whole big box of cereal that they have to manipulate and that they, It might be awkward for them and hard for them, and then they will probably spill.

Uh, you can just put a little bit of syrup in a bowl, um, with a scoop for them to, to scoop out of it. So that way, if there is a mess, if there is a mishap and then they spill something, it's a, it's a small amount that's, that they have to clean up.

[00:22:41] Hunter: And then you would involve them in the cleanup too, right?

Because, uh, that's part of it.

[00:22:46] Lorena Seidel: Exactly. And then you have a small little pitcher of milk that they can pour instead of trying to manipulate a whole gallon of milk. They have a small pitcher that they can actually succeed at pouring. So you're just trying to set them up for success. But I feel like even like before we get to all those things that you would change in the house, I think it's important for parents to know why they would do it.

The real reason behind all this is that we're all All of us, right, we're wired to want belonging and significance, and that's sort of the work of Alfred Adler, and then Rudolf Dreikurs, and then later on, Jane Austen and Lynn Lott created the Positive Discipline, and we have this need, and Maria Montessori already talked about that.

The children want to be purposeful. And that's why I call the book, The Purposeful Child. We all want to be meaningful. We want to be helpful. We want to feel that we are useful. And we all also want to belong. We want to fit in. We want to be accepted and loved. So these are the two big things that we really want.

And you can boil it down sometimes to make it simpler. Uh, you can think of in terms of love and power. We all are wired to want love and power. If you think of the history of humanity, everything that we've done, everything that even wars or conquering, it was all driven by this need for power and love.

Right? So this is what drives us to behave and to do what we do. And When we look at our environment, or we look at our children, and we focus on their needs, and we modify our environment to meet their needs, to accommodate them, gives them that sense that, oh, someone actually took some time to think about what I needed, and to make this environment work for me as well, because it has to work for us, of course, but But it also has to work for the children for us to have this harmony, for us to be able to avoid a lot of the struggles and the negative behavior that we see in our children.

So when we do take into consideration their needs and we look around. And find ways to help create this environment that works for them and then shows them that they are important, that they fit in, that they belong, that they have a place in a family, gives them that sense of love. So they already feel better.

And when we feel better, we do better. So it's simple as that, as we want to think of ways, how do I make my child feel better because they will do better when they feel better. And then on the power side of feeling helpful is. You also are creating an environment that helps your child engage, helps your child feel useful, help them feel purposeful and powerful and autonomous and independent.

It's all part of this power, uh, that we need. So, because they have opportunities throughout the day to do it for themselves, to be in charge of their lives in small ways, for them to help us, They don't need to get power in negative ways. Then they're not going to be seeking power in negative ways. And because they feel they are loved enough to have this place, you know, modified for them, they also don't need to seek the attention and the love with those negative attention seeking behaviors.

So, um, When I explain this to parents, I really say that it is a disciplined tool more than anything. It's really something that we do because it makes our lives easier. And it seems like it would make our lives so harder because now you have to prepare this environment. Now you have to keep things set up.

And now it does take more time for you to actually teach the child how to. Pour the milk and scoop the cereal and then clean up when the mess happens. So it does take a little bit more work at first, but

[00:26:36] Hunter: then it pays off in the long run. Enormously. That's right.

[00:26:40] Lorena Seidel: Enormously. Yeah. So I always explain it that way.

And also because children, as you know, and you've talked to so many experts, we and children, right, all of us, we are always. Making decisions about ourselves, others, and the world. And from the second we're born, right? So children are always asking, Am I good? Am I bad? Am I capable? Am I not capable? Am I loved or not?

So they're asking about themselves. And then they're also asking questions about us. So is mom helpful or not? Is she on my side or not? Does she love me or not? Can I trust her or not? And then they're also asking questions and assessing their, their environment. And I, when I say environment, if you're a parent of a young child, it really is your home, right?

And that's the environment that you really have control over. Cause even though there are so many other environments they may be on, um, they, they may engage with, the home is what you can control. So they are also assessing the home. Is this home? A place where I feel good. Can I be myself? Do I have to behave in a way that, you know, to make them, make other people happy?

Can I just be me? Uh, is this place made for me? Do I feel like I can, I have access to things that I can function in here, right? So they're doing those assessments. Of course, it's subconscious and unconsciously they are doing that. And based upon what they decide, what they Figure it out by assessing these three things, they decide if they will thrive or survive.

So I find that this interesting because we are always sending messages to our children. Every interaction, everything that we do or say or don't do or don't say actually sends a message. And I always tell parents, there is no way not to communicate. So if, and usually the message that young children get from the first few years, I would say right in the first three years, often can be very negative, even without us intending to send those negative messages.

But for example, if the two year old puts their shoes on by themselves, and then we say, Oh honey, that's on the wrong foot, what message will they get? I can't do it. I can't do it. I didn't do it right. It wasn't good enough. I didn't meet her expectations. Here fell short again. Like they get that message.

[00:29:07] Hunter: But what if the shoe is on the wrong foot? You're worried that your kid is going to fall on the wrong foot.

[00:29:15] Lorena Seidel: Yes. And so that is the difference in the Montessori environment or in this approach. That's a more positive approach to the discipline. You would say something like. Wow, you did it yourself. And then you may, and you notice that they didn't do it right.

Right. So you can say, I'm going to show you how I do mine. And I look at my shoes and I see that, you know, they have this shape and it looks like the shape of my foot. And so you give them. feedback without having to say, or you say, you know, let me show you again, uh, how you can do it. Or you can let it go for a few minutes and then say, let me help you change this.

So you, you know, you don't have to say, oh, it's on the wrong foot, but you can, you can go around in a way that is less. It's, it's less of a negative. It's not positive. It's not negative. It's interesting

[00:30:10] Hunter: because that could take some training for, for ourselves because, you know, we are just so, you know, naturally human beings are wired to notice the negative more.

So we, it's just, it's in us, right, that we notice the negative more. And so that takes a lot of practice and restraint to practice this sort of another way, another approach of saying, You know, and it's interesting actually, that was one of the most important things I learned in my life. I learned from art critiques, and then art critiques, they teach you just to first PQP, praise, question, polish.

And just what you're saying, like, you did it yourself, like, oh, look, you put your shoes on. Okay. And then, Hmm. They're on the right feet, you know, and maybe, you know, if that's appropriate, but, but the, that idea of kind of approaching with a positive first, that can take some, some practice for us and, and we may not always succeed.

[00:31:13] Lorena Seidel: All this work is ultimately for, for the children, but it's really all about us. It's all about the parents and the adult and, and yes, what the, the, the easiest way for parents to remember this, if they just think of. Connect before correct.

[00:31:27] Lorena Seidel: Yeah, that's a great. So if they can just think, okay, I'm going to connect before I correct.

So we can, it takes only a couple of seconds to say, wow, you did it on your own and let me show you how you could do this, or I wonder if it's on the wrong, on the right foot, would you check? Can you make sure? So you say that when you connected first and then you correct, but often if we do approach with an, in a negative way, we sometimes create.

A battle that will take longer for us to actually solve where then our children are now upset now that they were taking their foot in your shoe, their shoes off and trying to put it again and, you know, and then we make them feel badly. But there are so many other messages we send all the time. So, for example, if we're baking cookies with them.

And we go around fixing the cookies to make them look prettier. What are, what message are they getting? Again, it wasn't good enough. So it is, again, like you said, a lot of restraint on us. It's a lot of letting go of what we expect, of needing to be perfect, of the cooks having to look, you know, right. So it is a lot of that.

Uh, but we do this often with, you know, if children want to clear the table and we. Say no, no, no, because we want to save the dishes from breaking. But then we crush their confidence, right? Their independence. And, and then there's other messages that we send to them too about themselves. If they are having a fight with a sibling and we say, that's not nice.

That was so mean. Or you're a bad boy. You're a bad girl. They are getting those messages about themselves. And then if. We are saying those things, they're getting messages about us. Maybe mom is not on my side. Maybe she prefers my brother. Um, she doesn't think that what I do is good or things like that.

Or maybe the environment is sending messages that they are not capable because every time they need water, they have to ask us for water. They can't even reach and get their own glass of water. 

[00:33:27] Hunter: Oh my gosh, that was happening to me last week. I was with my family and with my niece and she's. She's a big, capable kid and she can do a lot of things, but we were just at my parents house and there's no way for her to get the glasses that are way up high.

So a lot of what you're talking about, thinking about the shoes, thinking about all these different things in these messages we're sending, the environment can help. You just like you said, like avoid a lot of these struggles. So if we have, and this kind of goes back to sort of these choices, like I'm trying to think about, you know, so thinking about this idea of, you know, if minimizing the choices, making the shoes, only the shoes that are easy to put on and which then in some ways these are challenging in some ways, because because I'm imagining you learning it, like.

Like many of us must have gotten floods of clothes, right? Like, like either from your family, like presents, or maybe you got like, like I did literally enormous, like three garbage bags of hand me downs from the people in the neighborhood who are trying to be helpful. And it is really helpful, but then you have, um, drawers packed with clothes.

So part of, part of this is. Being really intentional and very, very intentional about what you're wanting for your child, and not just kind of taking everything, but actually being very, Serious about, um, getting, uh, decluttering, getting rid of this, being kind of maybe even ruthless about getting rid of stuff that you, you're not wanting in this environment.


tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

[00:35:17] Lorena Seidel: Yes. I think that that's a huge part. It's really the intentionality that you mentioned. And again, I like to go back to the word of, you know, purpose, like really doing this in a purposeful way. Often we're mindlessly. We're doing, going through the motions or we just don't know better. And I've made, I made so many of these mistakes of having too much.

And then you sort of learn as you go, but you can avoid so much of this trial and error and going through the struggles. If you just really take a look and just really ask yourself, like, am I setting them up for success? Am I setting myself up, myself up for success? Because we often lose our cool. We parent in a way that can be negative or we disconnect from them.

And it really, it's. We create it. We create those situations. We put ourselves in those positions where then we fail and we fall off the wagon because We have too much, or we were not careful about the purchases we made, or of what we let come in, or how we set things up. So, I always tell parents, just ask yourself if you're setting yourself up for success, if you're self setting your children up.

And that sort of filters a lot when you're making decisions. So, If you need to get out of the house in the morning, then what are the steps that you need to do to set yourself up for success in your children? So that's when, you know, preparing this environment and I talk about creating this optimum environment, but it's not just the physical environment.

It's really taking a look at the social, emotional, Physical, intellectual, and spiritual pieces of the environment. So you want to look at the whole thing. And some of these things we talked about are easier to do because they are the physical things. It's easier to just put some, you know, declutter some things and move things around, and that's the sort of the easy part of the work.

And then there is also, like you mentioned, like working on yourself to really be able to restrain from. Saying certain things or jumping in to rescue them right away, to jumping into referring fights all the time. Uh, all of that, that's another part of the environment. It's the psychological climate that we create.

So we are, we want to sort of keep all those things in mind. And I like that, um, since we were talking about Montessori, Maria Montessori also talked about this, uh, learning triangle, and I like to think of it as repealers. So she talked about those three. Um, area. So there's the child, there's the adult, and there's the environment.

And you need those three things so learning can happen, essentially, you know, so the children can try, but we can, um, thrive, but I like to think of pillars. So you have your pillar, so the adult pillar, and then there's the child pillar, and then there's, there's the environment, the home pillar, and you want to have those three pillars really, really firm and balanced.

If one of them is a little wobbly, if one of them is breaking down, you will have parenting breakdown. And for, as an example, we've all experienced this, where we take good care of, let's say, the child pillar, and we are attentive, we're patient, we are meeting their needs. We're doing a great job. And then we are also taking good care of the environment.

We're keeping up with things with the laundry. Maybe we cooked a meal from scratch and we're feeling good about the environment. At the end of the day, we are resenting that we're the only ones doing everything. Nobody's helping. Now we're yelling at them because we didn't take care of us. Right. The adult pillar, we let go of that.

And now we're experiencing parenting breakdown. Or we take good care of ourselves and we go take our yoga class. We meet a friend for lunch, or we work on our passion and work projects. And then we also good care of the children. But then we let go of the environment. So now it's 5. 30, we're shopping for food at Trader Joe's and the kids are having a meltdown, everybody's tired and hungry, and we're having a parenting breakdown because we let go of that environment pillar.

Or we take care of the environment, we take care of ourselves. But to do all that, we sort of had to neglect the kids a little bit. So we put them in front of the TV. We say, just one more minute, one more minute. Mom was just finishing this one thing, not now. And then all of a sudden. They start to pick a fight or they are whiny.

They are attention seeking because we sort of let go of the child pillar and now we're experiencing parenting breakdowns and we're having to deal with that. So of course it's easier said than done. We need to keep those three things balanced, but it's, it's nice and there is a whole strategy for addressing those and just keeping that in your forefront.

[00:40:14] Hunter: Sounds like that's a good framework, right? Like, not to say, like, I guarantee that's gonna happen. Like, you're going to be a traitor. Like, well, all of it, one of these things is, you know, that's what balance is, is wobbling. But, like, can we then step back for a minute and say, Oh, God, my kids have been incredibly whiny and clingy lately.

Let me just take a step back and say, What, what needs some attention? You know, do I, do I need to give some more attention to my child, to my communication, to my environment? You know, is it me, am I like freaking out and overstressed? You know, do I need to give myself some more attention? Yeah, so just kind of looking at that, you know, not taking these as judgments of, oh, I'm a bad parent because I'm letting go of the, you know, You know, my child's watching TV or I'm, you know, my environment is messy in this, in this day, but saying, okay, like this is a way of, of, you know, this is a place where I can maybe make things a little, a little better, you know, with that.

I always like to

[00:41:21] Lorena Seidel: say that it's. It's really not about the, the perfection, of course, right? It's about the improvement, but also that there is no way that we can keep all this balance all the time. But it's not even about that. That shouldn't ever be the goal. The goal is to really, all that I always tell parents that I teach them how to create the connections.

So creating connection, parent child connection and harmony, but not just creating, right, but then sustaining it because often we, we all know how to do things and be patient and calm and meet their needs and we can, we can do all those things. It's just really hard for us to sustain that. Um, and I, I work with parents who deeply believe in peaceful parenting and all of those progressive approach to parenting or education.

But they struggle to make it work or to make it last. Yeah. So I find that it's important to create those, the connection and the harmony, but then learn to sustain and then learn to repair when it breaks down because a 100 percent guarantee it will. Um, so that is the, the, the, the goal is to look at these and assess.

from a perspective of just gathering information. So my child's behavior is just communicating. It's just telling me something. All the behavior is, is communication, right? My behavior is communication. If I am yelling, Wait, I need to take a second to see what is it that I need? Cause we can just meet the needs of the child, create the environment that works for the child.

And a lot of us sort of tend to do that cause we're, we're such dedicated, committed moms. And we want to get this right. And we take this job so seriously that we want to make sure we do it all right. Um, but it really has to work. for us as well. So the environment needs to work for you. If you have hundreds of toys and you're stepping over toys, it's not working for you.

If clean up takes more than five minutes, it's not working for you. If you have mountains of laundry and you can never be on top of it, then it's not working for you. So it's really thinking, you know, if you're doing everything and your children are not helping with the You know, getting a meal, get the table set and preparing the meal and helping out with cleaning up and all of that, then it's not working for you.

So I always say like, you want to look at the needs of the child and it's nice to accommodate their needs, to make this environment accessible to them and take under consideration their perspective. But if we don't take under consideration what we need, it won't work anyway. So it's really, um, looking at the whole.

Um, I can say to keep the focus on those three areas, sort of like all the time.

[00:44:12] Hunter: Yeah, yeah. And, and the environment can can affect all of, all of those, like, like you suggest you know, it's interesting thinking about those three pillars, you know, the, You suggest like a timeout space for like a chill out space for your child and but you also like we can also think about that for yourself, you know, like, uh, you know, if you don't maybe have a meditation space, but just a quiet corner for both you and your child for breathing might be a good idea.

Well, I think that, um, The listener is going to get, uh, hopefully a lot of different ideas from, from this. And I really appreciate you, you coming on and, and sharing this. And you can find more ideas in, in Lorena's book. So, The Purposeful Child. And so I want to thank you, Lorena, for, for coming on the Mindful Mama podcast.

For, you know, contributing to this work of helping Transform generations. And, and I know you have so much more to offer. Where can people find out more about the work you do?

[00:45:14] Lorena Seidel: They can look it up in my website, LorenaSidel. com and I have a five day free mini training that they can also sign up and I'll give you the, the link if you want

[00:45:25] Hunter: to, um, put that together.

Yeah. We'll put, we'll put that all in the, in the show notes, um, at MindfulMamaPodcast. com. So, yeah. So, I

[00:45:36] Lorena Seidel: like to end, I have this one quote, if you don't mind. Yeah, yeah, sure. It's a Heimgenacht quote, and I put it in my book, and it's one of the things that I really love to just, I have it as a, sort of like the North Star for me.

And I think it goes a little bit with what you were saying of, you know, a lot of this is for our children, but it really, we need to work on ourselves. A lot of the word in it says, I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It's my personal approach that creates the climate.

It's my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it's my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de escalated and a person is humanized or dehumanized.

If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they're capable of becoming. And I find that that's the beautiful, I have goosebumps. I love that. That's really the idea. It's just really Creating the best conditions. Like I always talk about the, like approaching the parenting from.

The perspective of the gardener or the carpenter that, you know, we're not making our children or carving them. And some people approach it that way. Like we're going to carve them. We have this vision, clear vision of what we want them to become. And we're trying to make that happen. Or we can just approach this from a gardener perspective.

We're just creating the conditions. We're taking the weeds out. We're trying to, you know, help them protect the frost or the snow. We are giving them everything that they need to flourish. But we also know that so much is out of our control, that there's the weather. There are so many other elements and forces that will impact our parenting and it will impact this end result or what our children are going to become.

Um, so really the, the, the book and everything that I do is just helping parents just create the conditions, the ideal, the optimum, that's why it's called the optimum home environment. Uh, but it's really. The physical, the emotional, the psychological environment and those optimum conditions. So you can flourish and the children can flourish.

[00:48:02] Hunter: Yeah. I love that metaphor too, because a good flower thrives, needs some compost too. Exactly. It needs some, some crap. It needs some old rotten old bananas. That's

[00:48:17] Lorena Seidel: true. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:48:18] Hunter: I love

[00:48:18] Lorena Seidel: that we can be easy on ourselves and it's really just trying to. Create the good condition.

[00:48:25] Hunter: Well, thank you so much, Lorena.

It was a pleasure to talk to you and I, I really appreciate you coming on. Yeah, thank you so much.

Thank you so much for listening. I love what Lorena has to say. She has so much wisdom and it's true. We can create so much independence with our optimal home environment. And it makes such a big difference. I've definitely seen that. in my own life. Thank you so, so much. I'm so, so honored to be here in your ears.

I'm wishing, wishing you all the best. Namaste.

[00:49:20] Speaker 4: I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better. And just, I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse. It's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say

[00:49:37] Speaker 5: definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children. Connecting more with them and not feeling like you're yelling all the time, or you're like, why isn't this working? I would say definitely do it. It's so, so worth it. It'll change you.

[00:49:59] Speaker 3: No matter what age someone's child is, it's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's a great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this.

[00:50:08] Speaker 6: You can continue in your old habits that aren't working or you can learn some new tools and gain some personal growth. to shift everything in your parenting.

[00:50:24] Hunter: Are you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting membership. You'll be joining Hundreds of members who have discovered the path of mindful parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their parenting. This isn't just another parenting class.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to mindfulparentingcourse. com To add your name to the waitlist so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment.

I look forward to seeing you on the inside. MindfulParentingCourse.


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