5 Ways Waldorf Parenting Helps Us Be More Relaxed Moms

A relaxed mother playing with her baby in nature

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Simple and easy to put into action, there are 5 ways Waldorf parenting can help us become more relaxed moms. If you’re looking for a parenting approach that focuses on your child’s overall growth and well-being, while allowing for a laid-back approach to parenting, you might want to check out the Waldorf principles.

baby playing with wooden toys

What is Waldorf education?

Waldorf is an educational philosophy developed by Rudolf Steiner in the early 20th century. Much like its more popular “cousin”, Montessori, its principles also extend to parenting. One of the unique aspects of Waldorf education is that it divides childhood into three stages, each lasting around seven years. These stages have a significant impact on how children develop intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, and ultimately shape their learning style. The stages are early childhood (birth to age seven), middle childhood (seven to 14), and adolescence (14 to 21).

What is the Waldorf Method of Parenting?

Waldorf isn’t exactly a parenting method, but it can definitely be applied to parenting in many ways:

  • It focuses on holistic child development, nurturing the whole child via body, mind, and spirit.
  • The method emphasizes creating a calm and nurturing home environment, free from excessive stimuli and clutter.
  • Waldorf Parenting values unstructured playtime to help your child explore their interests and unleash their creativity.
  • It emphasizes the importance of rhythm and routine to give your child a sense of stability and predictability.
  • Spending time outdoors and connecting with nature is another aspect of this approach that can benefit your child’s development.
  • Learning is always based on real-life experience via hands-on and sensory-rich activities.
  • With Waldorf parenting, you can take a more relaxed approach and let your child grow and develop at their own pace.

What does Waldorf Parenting look like in Early Childhood?

According to Waldorf philosophy, children from birth to age seven learn best through their senses and by imitating others. Waldorf early childhood parenting will focus on creating sensory-rich environments and offering play-based activities that encourage children to explore the natural world, imagination and creativity. By providing a nurturing atmosphere, the parents or caregivers help children develop intellectually, emotionally, and physically. These foundational experiences are crucial for a child’s growth.

During the first period of life, the child senses the outer world and through this the inner. This is the basis of the child’s later life. Therefore, one should give the child sensory experiences in the first years of life as rich as possible.

Rudolf Steiner

In the first seven years of Waldorf education, the focus is on a holistic approach to early childhood development. This means that academic instruction and formal learning in the traditional sense are not emphasized. Instead, the child’s physical, emotional, and imaginative capacities are nurtured.

During this period, Waldorf education typically does not prioritize formal academic learning such as reading, writing, and mathematics. Experiential learning through play, artistic activities, and practical tasks is emphasized instead. The focus is on hands-on, sensory-rich experiences and real-world interactions. Encouraging children to play imaginatively and develop at their own pace is the focal point during those early years.

How Waldorf parenting will help you become a more Relaxed Mom

Waldorf opens up great opportunities for busy moms who feel like they’re constantly playing catch up with the multitude of responsibilities put on them. What if you could ditch the schedules, planning “educational” activities and constant entertainment and trade if for laid-back parenting that will make your child thrive? Well, Waldorf to the rescue!

1. Ditch the Schedules and Embrace Rhythm instead

Establishing routines is important when it comes to helping kids feel safe and secure. By creating daily, monthly, yearly, and seasonal routines, children develop a sense of consistency and know what to expect. We don’t need to schedule every single meal, nap time and activity though!

Instead, put emphasis on simple daily routines, like meal time, nap time, and bedtime rituals, to give kids a rhythm throughout their day and to signal the transition from one activity to another. Try using seasonal changes to your advantage by creating a yearly rhythm. Fun and simple family activities to include are celebrating festivals and doing nature-based activities, which helps kids feel more connected to the world around them.

2. Unstructured play is all young children really need

As mothers, we want the best for our children and that includes giving them the chance to play freely. These days, young children have so many commitments like daycare, school, lessons, and more, leaving little time for them to relax, use their imagination, and entertain themselves.

Therefore, give yourself and your children a break it’s and avoid over-scheduling to allow children to find ways to occupy their own time. Playtime that is open-ended, child-directed, and free from adult-imposed rules or specific objectives is an essential component of early childhood development. It allows children to explore their interests, unleash their creativity, and develop important skills in a self-directed and imaginative manner.

While it’s tempting to interfere and constantly be present during their playtime, it’s better to only intervene if there is a risk of harm. And if redirection is necessary, try to do it subtly and gently. By doing so, you can help your kids develop their creativity and independence and you help yourself by freeing up time to do other things than helicopter-parenting your child!

baby girl with a flower crown on her head

3. Simplicity goes a long way

Waldorf emphasizes the magic of ordinary daily activities and how children learn best when they are truly immersed in real-life experiences. When you focus on involving your children in simple daily activities and providing them with opportunities for unstructured play with natural materials or household items, you simplify much of the clutter of early motherhood.

Everything we do with our children is an opportunity to teach them something, whether it’s simply talking to them, showing them unique fruits at the grocery store, explaining the movement of tides at the beach, or even building something together.

Unstructured play in Waldorf often involves the use of open-ended materials, such as natural objects, wooden blocks, fabric scraps, shells, and stones. Children can use these materials in multiple ways, encouraging creativity, problem-solving, and flexibility of thinking. Usually those items will be readily available in or around the home, making it simple to provide a nurturing, sensory-rich environment to your child.

4. If in doubt, get outside

Spending time in nature can be incredibly rejuvenating. Throughout history, humans have spent a significant amount of time outdoors. Our bodies are designed to withstand exposure to the natural elements, so there is no need to fear bad weather. In fact, it is beneficial to people of all ages, including children and adults, to spend time in nature for optimal health.

Waldorf believes in the importance of connecting with nature and encourages unstructured play outdoors. This allows children to explore the natural elements, engage in sensory experiences, and develop a deeper appreciation for the world around them.

To enhance your children’s connection to nature, do activities such as hiking, fruit picking, shell collecting, gardening, playing in the grass, climbing trees, visiting a farm, playing in the sand at the beach, and splashing in natural bodies of water. The possibilities for outdoor fun are endless!

baby playing with sand on a beach

5. You don’t need to start prepping your 6-month-old for Harvard yet

Many parents believe the misconception that teaching children to read and write at an early age and enrolling them in daycare or preschool as early as possible is beneficial for academic success. However, this is not the case

The best way for children to excel in school is by nurturing their creativity and sensory skills through play. Academics will naturally follow. It is important to encourage imagination and playfulness in children. Some Harvard students didn’t learn to read and write until they were six, proving there is no rush to dive into classroom instruction and worksheets!

Allowing children to develop at their own pace and providing them with real-life experiences as opposed to academic instruction is all they need in early childhood to become healthy, self-actualized individuals later in life.

So, save yourself some time and dollars and swap the “enrichment” and classroom-style activities for simple family activities such as a walk, relaxing together outdoors or allowing for unstructured play.

Waldorf Parenting will help you become more relaxed, Mama

Visiting a Waldorf school and observing the children play is a wonderful example of how childhood should be. Waldorf education values childhood and allows children to develop at their own pace, providing them with the experiences they need to become healthy, self-actualized individuals.

Waldorf-style parenting recognizes and respects the child’s innate curiosity, imagination, and capacity for self-discovery. It allows children to learn through firsthand experiences, promotes holistic development, and nurtures a sense of joy, wonder, and self-expression.

Through its focus on simplicity, Waldorf parenting offers moms a slower and more relaxed approach to motherhood, allowing them to enjoy it fully and savor every moment.

Read more about Waldorf:



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About The Author

Julia Billings

Hi, I'm Julia! I am a working mother, professional life & leadership coach, international HR expert, and motherhood advocate. Upon becoming a mom, I quit my coveted United Nations career to pursue more flexibility and freedom so I could be able to combine professional aspirations with how I wanted to show up as a mother. In my work as a coach, consultant and facilitator, I help other moms make similar bold decisions in their careers.

My approach integrates my 7 years of experience as international career & leadership development professional, my personal journey as a mother and my proficiency as a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) holding an M.Ed.

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