Blog Carnivals

I co-host a monthly blog carnival and have hosted several others in the past. Please click the links to read more about each.

Carnival of Natural Parenting – monthly on the second Tuesday (submissions due first Tuesday)

Previous Carnivals

Weaning: Your Stories – The Carnival of Weaning (May 2012)

Families, Create! A Monthly Make and Play Carnival (January – December 2011)

Carnival of Nursing in Public (June 2010)

Carnival of Natural Parenting

Please join us for a Carnival of Natural Parenting on the second Tuesday of each month. Your co-hosts are Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Lauren at Hobo Mama.

Read below for more information on Submission Details, Monthly Carnival Themes, What is Natural Parenting?, and Additional Resources.

Submission Details

If you’ve never participated in a blog carnival, a carnival is an opportunity to read and write posts on a specific theme once a month from a variety of bloggers. Besides a monthly theme, a carnival has an overarching perspective, in our case, natural parenting.

Monthly themes are listed below and will be kept updated. The submission deadline is the first Tuesday of every month, and the carnival posts on the second Tuesday.

To submit an article for consideration, please email your submission to both Dionna and Lauren at CarNatPar {at} NaturalParentsNetwork {dot} com no later than 11:59p.m. PST on the first Tuesday of each month. You will also need to fill out certain details on a webform; a new webform will be shared in each month’s “Call for Submissions” post. Both Dionna and Lauren share the Call for Submissions post on their respective sites, look for it 7-10 days before the Carnival.

Please write a new, previously unpublished post for the carnival. We will email you with instructions on posting before each carnival day. Please do not post your article until the carnival date.

We reserve the right to accept submissions based on relevance to the topic and quality of writing. We also reserve the right to edit submissions for clarity, but we will never edit the substance or meaning of your article. Articles requiring excessive editing will be returned and may be accepted at a later date.

What is not acceptable: excessive profanity (there is a time and a place, but it’s not this carnival), poor spelling and grammar, personal attacks, off-topic articles, and articles that advocate for methods of parenting or family living that are directly contrary to natural parenting principles (e.g., we will not host an article on the benefits of spanking or “crying it out”).

Upcoming Monthly Carnival Themes

February 2013: We are taking a break this month.

March 2013: Tough Conversations: How do you address challenging topics with your kids (death, race, sex, injustice, etc.)? Recall a tough conversation you had, share your thoughts or tips on how parents can handle these challenges with grace, or find your own way to tackle this topic. Submission deadline: March 5. Carnival posting: March 12.

April 2013: Family Recipes: Let go of the family secrets – share them with us! What is your favorite recipe, and where did it come from? Share your recipes, your stories, your pictures, and your memories. Submission deadline: April 2. Carnival posting: April 9.

May 2013: Emergency Preparedness: Have you ever lived through a natural (or man-made) disaster? Has your family stocked up on supplies to prepare for a future emergency? Could your family sustain itself through a long-term disaster? Share your stories and tips this month. Submission deadline: May 7. Carnival posting: May 14.

June 2013: Parenting – In Theory vs. In Reality: Before you were a parent, there were probably several ideas you had about children or how to raise them that have changed now that you have your own. How did your beliefs about parenting and/or children change? Pick a narrow topic or write about it generally. Submission deadline: June 4. Carnival posting: June 11.

July 2013: Learning About Diversity: Diversity surrounds us – our family make-ups are unique, our abilities and goals differ from our friends, we have different standards of living and sets of beliefs . . . both across our communities and around the world. How do you teach your children to embrace and respect diversity? Submission deadline: July 2. Carnival posting: July 9.

Previous Themes

January 2010: Parenting resolutions: How do you want to parent differently (or the same!) in the New Year?

February 2010: Love and partners: How has a co-parent supported your dedication to natural parenting — or not?

March 2010: Vintage green: What sorts of “green” things did you do as a kid (even if you didn’t know at the time they were eco-friendly) that you now do with your own kids?

April 2010: Parenting advice: We all need a little input. Write a Dear Abby-like letter asking your readers for help with a current parenting issue.

May 2010: Role model: It can be daunting to parent against the mainstream, but sometimes people take notice in a positive way. How has your natural parenting inspired someone else?

June 2010: Outdoor fun: What are your favorite ways to play outside with your kids?

July 2010: Let’s talk about food: Do you try to eat locally? Organically? Do you have a whole foods diet? What are your struggles and successes?

August 2010: We took a break from the Carnival this month.

September 2010: Learning at home: Describe some of the ways your child learns at home as a natural part of their day.

October 2010: Staying Centered, Finding Balance: How do you take time for yourself? What passions do you pursue? How do you find the time and balance it with being a parent?

November 2010: What is Natural Parenting?: Explore one concept from the natural parenting philosophy – why is it important to you/your family?

December 2010: Let’s Talk Traditions: From holidays to birthdays, long weekends to family vacations, what has your family done to make special occasions memorable?

January 2011: Learning from Children: We are often reminded that we learn as much from our children as they learn from us. What lessons have your children taught you throughout the years?

February 2011: Parenting Essentials: I cannot imagine parenting without __________. This one is wide open: do you have a natural parenting product that you can’t live without? Is there a book, family secret, or song that has been crucial to your transition into the role of parent? Is it a friend who makes all the difference for you?

March 2011:Make a Natural Parenting “Top 10″ List: Be creative! Choose as many (or as few) NP topics as you’d like and incorporate them into a Top 10 list. It could be anything from “Top 10 Gifts for a New NP Mom,” to “Top 10 Reasons to Birth at Home,” to “The Top 10 Ways Families on a Budget Can Go Green.’”

April 2011: Compassionate Advocacy: As parents who believe in many “natural parenting” practices, we sometimes find ourselves educating (and inspiring!) others about those practices. How do you advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately? Remember: you don’t have to be “outspoken” to be an advocate, you can be a natural parenting role model/advocate simply by living.

May 2011: Growing in the Outdoors: As a way of connecting with nature, a lot of us like to dig in the dirt — growing gardens, window boxes, or maybe just a couple house plants. How do you encourage your children to produce the food they eat or the natural elements they enjoy?

June 2011: We took a break from the Carnival this month.

July 2011: Parenting Philosophy: Focusing on long-term parenting objectives can put present actions into perspective. Thinking about the qualities you’d like to see in your children and the relationships you want to have with them as adults, what parenting practices are you or can you use now to help further your goals? (For more on parenting philosophies, see Respectful Parents Respectful Kids.)

August 2011: Creating With Kids: Do you like doing crafts with your children? Sewing clothes for them or with them? Putting a garden together as a family? Teaching power tools from a young age? Let us know what you and your kids make together. It can be a specific tutorial, or a post about different things you like to do.

September 2011: Parenting Through Play: Oftentimes, some of our most difficult parenting challenges can be defused or handled gracefully if we choose to use play. Think of a situation in your own life where you have used (or could use) play instead of lectures, consequences, or other negative reactions.

October 2011: Money Matters: Sometimes we have to think about the nitty-gritty of how we afford to live the way we do — and what we do without. As far as you’re comfortable sharing, tell us how finances affect your parenting, or what you would change about your situation if you had the money to do so.

November 2011: Kids in the Kitchen: How do you encourage your children to take responsibility for their own eating — whether it’s baby-led solids for the little ones, or helping in meal preparation for the older kids? Give us a blog post, a kid-friendly recipe, a series of messy photos, or whatever food-related submission that comes to mind.

December 2011: We took a break from the Carnival this month.

January 2012: Experiments in Natural Family Living: Have you ever been curious about trying a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, going no ‘poo, or doing something else to make your life (or your family’s life) more natural or green? Try something for at least a week sometime before January’s carnival and then share your experiences in your post.

February 2012: Respectful Interactions with Other Parents: No matter what parenting philosophy you subscribe to, you’ll eventually meet someone who disagrees with you. This month we’re focusing on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately. Share your tips, challenges, or experiences with communicating nonviolently during disagreements, commenting or communicating without being judgmental, or responding when you feel judged or criticized. The point of this month’s carnival is to promote peaceful interactions!

March 2012: Parenting With Special Needs: Many of us are touched by caring for a child who stretches our parenting skills. Share your story or some specific elements or tips on raising a child with special needs. We’d love to hear from families who have children diagnosed with a physical, mental, or emotional illness, but it could also be a less formal condition: Maybe your baby started off in the NICU, your child has unexplained developmental delays, or your toddler is very high needs. If you don’t have personal experience, consider writing from a supporter’s perspective or finding a guest blogger to share!

April 2012: Kids and Personal Care: Is parenting next to cleanliness? Tell us how your kids get clean — for instance, share a recipe for homemade shampoo, give tips on ending bathtime struggles, or offer a hairstyling tutorial.

May 2012: Parenting With or Without Extended Family: How does your family help or hinder as you raise your children? Do you feel supported or shunned for your parenting decisions? This topic can be as broad as you’d like. Write about maintaining connections (or distance), tips for traveling, or the concerns or joys of parenting around relatives.

June 2012: Embracing Your Birth Experience: It seems like there is so much pressure in the natural parenting community to have the “perfect” birth, but everyone’s definition of the “perfect” birth is different – and it certainly isn’t what happens for many women. This month we want to celebrate the miracle of birth no matter what it looks like. Pick at least one part of your birth experience that you can hold up and cherish and share it with us!

July 2012: Family Creations: Whether it’s a mess in the kitchen, a sidewalk chalk collage, a family play on video, a letterboxing stamp, or something else, create something with your family this month. Capture it in a post – feel free to make a tutorial or simply share the product. Show off your family’s creative side!

August 2012: Farmer’s Markets: Are you a seasoned farmer’s market pro or are you more comfortable in the aisles of Whole Foods (or Walmart)? This month is an open challenge to you: find something new you can experience and write about at your local farmer’s market. Can you eat completely local for a week? Can you get to know one of your farmers by name? Ever thought of asking for gardening advice from a vendor? Could you take your kids on a field trip to one of the farms? Get creative – learn something new about your local farmers.

September 2012:: We took a break this month.

October 2012: Instilling a Healthy Self-Image: How do you instill a healthy self-image in your children? What do they learn from the way you treat and talk about your own body and others? Share confessions, wisdom, goals, or research you’ve done.

November 2012: Family Service Projects: How do you develop compassion in kids? What are your experiences or suggestions for serving with kids? Try a service project, and let us know how it goes.

December 2012: Childhood Memories: Our theme this month is childhood memories, feel free to write about whatever speaks to you. Here are some ideas: What are your earliest, favorite, strangest or other childhood memories? Is it easy or hard for you to remember your childhood? How do your childhood memories impact the way your parent? What childhood memories do you hope your children will have? What do you do to preserve childhood for your little ones (i.e., pictures, etc.)?

January 2013: Recovering from the Holidays: Whatever holidays you celebrate in the fall and winter, they can take their toll on our mental health, house upkeep, and budget with travel, gift-making/buying/giving, and related stress. What stories or tips can you share about recovering from the holidays?

Bookmark this page and stay tuned for future themes.

Subscribe to our RSS feeds and follow us on Twitter to stay updated on any carnival announcements (Code Name: Mama’s feed and Hobo Mama’s feed; @CodeNameMama and @Hobo_Mama).

What is Natural Parenting?

“Natural parenting” is based on a desire to live and parent responsively and consciously. While no two families who practice natural parenting may define it the same way, there are several principles that are widely agreed to be part of this lifestyle. These are ideals that natural parents tend to hold — even if we don’t always live up to all of them, we keep them in mind as goals.

1) Attachment/Responsive Parenting: Attachment parents prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting; practice exclusive and full-term breastfeeding if possible, and feed with love and respect regardless of whether it is at the breast, with a bottle, or beyond; respond with sensitivity; use nurturing touch (including babywearing and skin-to-skin contact); ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally (including bed sharing and co-sleeping, responsive nighttime parenting, and no “crying it out”); provide consistent and loving care; practice positive discipline (with no physical punishment); and strive for balance in personal and family life.

2) Ecological Responsibility and Love of Nature: Families strive to reduce their ecological footprint by living consciously and making Earth-friendly choices, such as by choosing organic when possible, using cloth diapers or practicing elimination communication, supporting local economies, and so forth. Parents may choose to find toys and clothing made of natural fibers and materials. Families spend quality time outside enjoying the natural world.

3) Holistic Health Practices: Parents research medical choices and make educated decisions regarding all health care (vaccinations, medical interventions, medications, etc.). Many families choose to use alternative or natural healthcare such as herbal remedies, chiropractic care, natural childbirth, and so on.

4) Natural Learning: Families spend time together, and children learn through everyday activities. Parents try to facilitate learning without “teaching,” to help children ask questions that develop thinking, to develop consideration for others without shaming or training, to give choices while guiding the children, to listen to instinctual cues, to honor emotions and desires, to allow development to take place in its own time, and to engender cooperation and harmony without manipulation. This might include the decision to pursue uncommon methods of education, such as alternative classrooms, home schooling, or unschooling.

Above all, natural parenting is making the choice to develop a deep bond with your children and family based on mutual respect. An attached child grows into a mature and interdependent individual who understands how to develop healthy, secure relationships with others.

Additional Resources

For more information on natural parenting, please visit the following resources:

Please email Dionna (Dionna {at} CodeNameMama {dot} com) or Lauren (Mail {at} HoboMama {dot} com) if you have any questions or suggestions about the Carnival of Natural Parenting.

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