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by Julie Le Gal Brodeur





ON THIS PAGE: About conscious parenting, About the site, How to make decisions, List of basic principles,  About the author, Reviews, Disclaimer and copyright


As parents, today, we are quite free to raise our children as we please, perhaps for the first time in history, now that grand-parents, family, culture and traditions have faded from being directing sources and prominent guides. Parents are now in a unique situation as regards the past: we are free, but we can also be alone. Raising children has become an individual, rather than a community, endeavour, and many parents ask themselves how to proceed and on what to base their decision making.


For many parenting issues, we have access to a huge amount of information, a large portion of which is based on medical studies and psychology. We owe the success of modern births to hygiene and medicine. Psychology gives us great insight into the development and mechanics of socialisation and learning. But babies’ environment, how they are handled, how they are related to, what foods they are fed, things that seem subtle in their effects early on, have consequences only much later in life.


If, in light of this, we are interested in what the ideal environment, care and foods are, to allow the child to develop to their healthiest, strongest potential, also long term, then it behoves us to take into consideration the whole picture of what a child is, and what their real needs are. From this perspective, it parents start to take a conscious approach to parenting, observe their children and ask themselves questions.


For example: What surroundings best serve the child's physical, social and mental development? How can we best support their growth and development in each stage and at each level of consciousness. How do we give them the greatest potential for becoming healthy, capable, intelligent, creative, independently thinking, socially responsible and responsive human beings? How can we apply these things to everyday life and care of the child?


In this little guide, I have gathered information from research I did, to share with parents asking themselves the same or similar questions, focusing in particular on the practical aspect of the question of parenting. I have sketched suggestions and thoughts to some issues that seem important, given as considerations for parents to guide themselves through parenthood - that is, for you to make your own conscious choices. This is a sketch, a first draft of looking at the practical side of these questions. Those interested in the philosophical aspect may pursue their research. (See Recommended reading, Links, below.)


I am aware that some of these suggestions may not be for everyone to take up - some are quite contrary to what seems normally done in our society. With taking up some of these ideas, one will be swimming upstream of social trends. But social trends are not generally created with children's wellbeing in mind...


The thoughts behind much of what is here are mostly based on principles and insights given by Rudolf Steiner, who gave the education principles and curriculum of the Waldorf or Steiner School movement. I have added a list of Steiner's books on education in the recommended reading list.


See About the site below.


Recommended reading





Baldwin Dancy, Rahima - About conscious parenting in our modern age.htm


Baldwin Dancy, Rahima - Conscious parenting - what can help us on the way?.htm





When I was expecting, I started looking for information about pregnancy, birth, caring for a newborn and the early years of childhood that approached the events with regard for the miracle of a birth, and saw the baby as a human being worthy of care and respect. I wanted to understand the basic principles of development and find out what is helpful to a baby, not only in physical development, but also in social development, and the development of the mind: in body, soul and spirit. How can a child grow to their full potential in all spheres of life? How can we support them, and how can we not hinder them in becoming truly intelligent, caring, independent, healthy and physically confident? And even more importantly, how can we foster a spiritual life that enriches life yet leaves them free? This information was harder to find than I had expected. The large part of the material that answered my questions was by or based on Rudolf Steiner's work.


Rudolf Steiner (1861- 1925) is the founder of Waldorf education, among many other movements. The Waldorf approach respects the major development phases of childhood, introducing each subject at specific ages and in an age appropriate manner. It follows the natural development of a child’s physical, social and mental abilities and aims to provide children with a healthy, nourishing environment that allow the child’s innate character and talents to prosper.


I was grateful, as I began understanding and working with these insights and suggestions, that I had had the time and resources to do all this research. I wondered if other people were looking for this kind of approach, but didn't have the time, energy or resources to do the research I had. So was born the idea for this website.


The material quoted and referred to on this website is either from authors that work with Steiner's principles, or it is material from books, articles, studies and research I found to support and articulate various aspects of an issue, or to emphasize its importance. I have added some health suggestions that are quite easy to find elsewhere but that I found noteworthy.


I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to contact me with comments, questions or suggestions,


Julie Le Gal Brodeur


See Contact






When a woman is pregnant, or when a new baby arrives, many people want to be helpful, give tips, give clothes, equipment, toys, advice... This is one of the beautiful and sometimes overwhelming 'community' moments remaining in our society, and the connection with family and other parents can be crucial for many new families. But it is important to not be overwhelmed or pushed into accepting objects, situations or to be pressured into making decisions that we do not feel right about. In modern society, we have largely lost all instinctive knowledge of mothering and parenting, so informing oneself about what to surround the baby with, what to do with and how to care for a baby, and finding out about different options is important. But advice and the information available can be very contradictory when it comes to caring for a newborn and raising a child.


In making choices, it can be helpful to look for basic principles behind what seems right to you, rather than only going on sympathy or antipathy for making a decision about something. (For example, see link to List of basic principles and suggestions below.) So inform yourself about different ways to do things and about health questions from people, books, the Internet, but in the end, you must make decisions based on what seems right to you and from your knowledge of your child.


Observe your child, see what she is developing, what he is doing, and that may show you what is really needed. Do not be afraid to ignore well intentioned but unsuitable advice, or to put away or get rid of toys or presents that don't seem appropriate to you.


Also, it's good to be aware of the intentions of the corporate world and of pharmaceutical companies vis-à-vis children: They are interested in their own profit - in the very way they are structured, this is what they have to be interested in. With this in mind, it's very important that you be the judge of what is appropriate for your child or good for them rather than buying into advertising. Consider the value of toys, food, equipment and entertainment for your child. What message does the thing give, what consequence does its use have, what habits does it create, what is the nutritional or educational value, what faculty does it develop and is your child ready for it? Will it overload the senses or will it hinder a baby's free exploratory movement? And for medication, why is a certain medication prescribed; is it really necessary, what are the short-term effects, and what are long-term effects, especially with repeated use, and could the child be treated naturally?


Our children need us to protect them, to make decisions for them. You have the responsibility of your child’s long-term well being, you make the decisions that will have a long-term impact on their entire lives. Inform yourself and trust yourself.


See List of basic principles and suggestions below.


About conscious parenting above.


The negative effects of media in THE FIRST YEAR.


See Commercial Free Childhood in Links






      cultivate a sense of gratitude and wonder for life

      wean yourself from intense media, cultivate healthy activities

      try to have meals and to sleep at regular times

      eat healthily, take necessary supplements

      aim for natural birth

      find midwife and/or doula support for the birth

      choose people and an environment you trust for the birth

      learn about the stages of birth and medical procedures before

      create a gentle space to receive the baby

      take six weeks of quiet after the birth



      approach the baby with an attitude of love and gratitude

      breastfeed your baby

      be gentle on all the senses: gentle light, natural and soft sounds, natural and soft clothing and bedding

      keep the baby warm

      avoid over stimulating the baby

      avoid exposure to media

      observe and respect the stages the baby grows into, avoid interfering with their own natural physical or intellectual development

      find out why the baby is crying rather than randomly rocking or bouncing or distracting them

      allow the baby to lie in a horizontal position

      let the baby learn to roll over, crawl, sit, stand and walk on his own, without your help

      be yourself worthy of imitation




      respect play, give the child autonomy in their activities

      allow children to finish what they're doing

      provide varied, natural, regular play opportunities that allow for free exploration

      aim for very simple toys made of natural materials, that leave room for child's imagination

      avoid media, such as TV, computer, video games, radio, even recorded music, as much as possible

      protect the child from intense environments and over stimulation

      have clothes made of natural material (wool, cotton or silk)

      establish rhythm, regularity, in daily, weekly and yearly life

      avoid actively teaching and stimulating intellect (teaching colours, numbers, naming things the child should repeat etc., or asking questions “what is…can you…do you like…etc.) before it comes from the child

      let what are you saying match what are you doing

      establish household rules and give the child the security of knowing they are firm

      establish healthy eating habits and stick to them

      give acknowledgement instead of praise or criticism

      talk to say something necessary or to respond, give the child space

      become yourself an example for your children to imitate

      cultivate a sense of gratitude, reverence and wonder in yourself


Julie Le Gal Brodeur grew up in Toronto, Canada, in a French-Canadian theatre family. She attended Waldorf schools in Canada, Germany and England and pursued her theatre studies in Canada and New York City where she studied the Michael Chekhov technique and Rudolf Steiner’s approach to speech. She performed, produced and created theatre for many years in the US and Europe. She now works as an actress and lives with her husband and daughter in Canada.


Julie has created a wonderful comprehensive website based on her research as a new mother. It will be a very helpful resource for parents who are looking for a holistic approach and are trying to make conscious and informed parenting decisions. Highly recommended!

        -Dr Veronica Koopmans, MD, CCFP, Canada

This wonderful new Canadian web site has just come on line and is true to a Steiner approach to pregnancy and early childhood. I suggest you check it out and share it around if you find it suitable for your client/ parent needs. It has good extra links for deepening an understanding of the issues.

        -Susan Laing, early childhood consultant, mother of four, Australia

Your Conscious Parenting Guide website is wonderful!

        -Susan Howard, Coordinator at Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America  (WECAN), USA


Your site is lovely--the use of art work is especially fine! And very informative.

      -Rahima Dancy, author of You Are Your Child’s First Teacher, USA


Very nicely done!  Thank you so much for your hard work!  I hope to recommend it to many people!  This information is so needed!

        -Dr Cathy Sims-O'Neil, D.O., USA


Truly, a beautiful site-full of such well expressed, practical and wholesome information-wish I'd had it when I was expecting.

        -Ann Baggley, mother of two, Canada


What a beautiful website you have produced! I looked at everything and read everything through (..) [it] was wonderfully rendered.  The photos of paintings were a beautiful complement to the text. I am sure for new parents and parents-to-be, there will be much to profit by.

-Vincent Belenson, veteran Waldorf teacher for many years, Canada


You have a wonderful site, with lots of important information and great articles.  I love the thoughtful and caring tone.

        -Shannon Honeybloom, author of Making a Family Home, USA


Nice work...I can't think of an endeavor more important to our world.

        -Dr Monika Herwig, ND, USA


… your work is of great interest to me and I understand how important it is. What a fantastic resource you have created.

        -Dot Male, author of Parent and Child Group Handbook the    

            Steiner/Waldorf   Approach ( Hawthorn Press) UK


…your web site (…)[is] very beautiful and a real treasure chest of resources for the new parent or the one to be. This is the most important developmental stage that children go through and we need all the help we can get to nurture and protect the life forces of these young children. Thank you for taking up this work.

       -Jan Ney Patterson, director of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, Canada



DISCLAIMER: This website is meant as an informational guide only. The suggestions and approaches described herein are meant to enhance, not replace professional medical care or treatment, or any other professional advising.


COPYRIGHT AND RIGHTS OF USE: Feel free to make links to any page of the web site, or to quote short sections of the site. Please contact me for other uses. The rights to any articles must be obtained from the press, author, or copyright holder indicated with each piece.

Conscious Parenting Guide 2009 

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Copyright © Julie Le Gal Brodeur 2009         Updated Sept 12, 2010