The Conscious Family Team is a team of professionals in York Region who support, guide and aid those who want to do their best each day to love, cherish and respect their children, and who want to learn and grow from their roles.

Giving birth and raising a family consciously used to be a matter of instinct. We trusted our bodies and our feelings to do the right thing. We learned from our families, and our communities how to care for and raise our children, and we just knew it would be okay. We had the support of those close to us - the village helped us to raise our children. There was no internet, no 24 - hour medical centres or helplines, and no bookshelf stocked with 50 or so of the latest advice books from "the experts", usually celebrities. Mom was at home during the day to lend a hand with the washing, or your neighbour would pop by with a casserole when times were tough.

These days, we're lucky to know our neighbour's first name. And if we need advice, we're more likely to consult Google than our brother, sister or mother. The village is truly gone.

Here with the Conscious Family Team, we want to bring the good days back by being your village and helping your family and village grow.

We believe that in order to accomplish these tasks, parenting must be a conscious endeavour, meaning that we are willing to examine ourselves, our background, beliefs, motivations, behaviours, and how these aspects affect the way we parent. Let's find the positives in the way we were parented, recognize the lessons we learned and empower ourselves to trust our own intuition and emerge as the parents we want to be.

Decisions made prior to conception, during pregnancy and in baby's first year and beyond provide the foundation for the creation of a conscious family. By consulting with one or more of the Conscious Family Team members, you will be inspired to take initiative to choose the style of caring for yourself and your infant/child that resonates with you and you'll be connected to the tangible tools and resources to support you on your journey.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winter Walks

Here where I live, we still have lots and lots of snow (thanks to an unseasonal snow storm over the last few days!). Now I absolutely love the snow and can't get enough, but I know full well that other people have different opinions!! So what does one do with children who need to get outside but have had their fill of skating and sledding? The answer is the "Winter Walk". In our family, we partake in two kinds of winter walks: the neighbourhood walk, and the forest walk. I personally prefer the forest walk, but sometimes my children ask to walk around the neighbourhood instead. We like to make an adventure out of both kinds by infusing some "detective work". Here is what we do:

Neighbourhood Walk

As we walk, we try to find:

*a brown dog,
*two people shovelling,
*a fire hydrant,
*three mailboxes,
*a house with a blue garage,
*a friend's house
*a house with a number "5"

You get the idea. This list can of course be customized to the preferences of your child(ren), and by all means, let the child(ren) come up with most of the ideas! Not only will they be more engaged, but suddenly they're more focused on beings detectives, than realizing how far they have walked (for the reluctant walkers, this is nice!). Be sure not to walk too far, as it's nice to arrive home with them wanting more.

Forest Walk

As we walk, we try to find:

*critter tracks,
*branches in the shape of letters ("y" and "t" are usually everywhere!),
*things that are up high. (Encouraging your children to look up is a wondrous experience, because there are often nests, birds and other creatures, if you're really lucky).
*great spots for photo opportunities.

We also listen for:

*animal sounds
*the beautiful noise of swaying trees
*silence!! Encourage your children to relish in the silence of the forest.

We also take deep breaths of the cool, fresh air as we walk, letting it fill our bodies.

Whatever winter activity you choose, I wish you lots of fun!

Christine Marrin, a former elementary teacher, has relished her role as mom for almost ten years, realizing that the most profound learning of her life has been at the hands of her children. Walking beside them and sharing their journey has been spiritually fulfilling in a way she never imagined. For more information on Spiritual Parenting, she can be reached at 905-836-6877.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Massage Techniques to Alleviate Congestion in Babies

As adults, we take for granted how easy it is to alleviate nasal congestion by merely blowing our nose! For a baby, nasal congestion can be an overwhelming and painful experience. Most parents rely on the aspirator and humidifier. Both are important tools for the cold and flu season; but have you considered massage? Massage holds many benefits besides the obvious relief of symptoms. When massaging the sinuses, jaw and ears, you encourage drainage and, in turn, can prevent a possible ear infection. Massage is also an excellent preventative tool; as it assists in the elimination of toxins. Here is a quick massage routine you can try with your little one. Be sure to practice before your baby is actually suffering from congestion. You will both feel comfortable with the massage and it will come as second nature to you when your baby wakes at 3am with congestion pain!

Facial Massage
Place a small amount of non-nut oil (less than the size of a dime) in your hands; rub your hands together to warm the oil

Massaging the jaw:
1. Cup hands under child’s head just behind the ears; then slowly glide the hands along the jaw towards the chin; repeat 3 times
2. Using 1 or 2 fingers (depends on size of child), make small circles from just below the right earlobe down to the chin; repeat on left side; massage each side 3-4 times
3. Using 1 or 2 fingers make small circles around the outline of the child’s lips; starting at the middle of the upper lip & working both sides simultaneously to meet at the middle of the lower lip

Massaging the sinuses:
1. Glide your forefingers down each side of the bridge of the nose, follow the cheekbone across & then end the stroke on the temples. You are essentially making a semi-circle under the eye. Repeat 3-4 times
2. Make small circles along the eyebrows, using 1 or 2 fingers, ending at the temples. Repeat 3-4 times.
3. Place fingertips at the middle of the hairline. Glide hands away from one another, ending at temples. Repeat, moving hands down forehead slightly, until last set of strokes are following eyebrow line.
Massaging ears (use extremely light pressure around ears!):
Using 1 finger, make small circles starting at the point where the top of the ear attaches to the head, massage around behind the ear, down to where the lobe meets the head, and around in front of the ear until you are back at the top of the ear. Repeat on other ear.
Finishing massage:
1. Glide fingertips from forehead down each side of the face, meeting at the chin
2. Finish with a kiss on the nose! “All Done!”

Nicole Meltzer, RMT, CHt is co-creator of Balanced Body Mind Spirit. Through her specialization in fertility issues, prenatal & pediatric care she helps parents conceive & achieve balance while on their journey into parenthood & beyond. To learn more, visit