Carnival of Natural Parenting

mother and daughter spinning in the sunPlease 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.

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 (carnatpar @ no later than 11:59p.m. PST on the first Tuesday of each month.

Please write a new, previously unpublished post for the carnival.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 (i.e., spelling and grammatical mistakes), 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. Please allow the co-hosts sufficient time to confer about the submission over email before expecting a personal response.

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 Carnival Themes

(You can find the most recent and archived posts about the Carnival by looking through the Carnival of Natural Parenting label on Hobo Mama.)

September 2015: Kids Blogging: It's time for the kids to take over our blogs — what does your little one have to say? Would he like to share what he's been doing this summer? Does she want to dish about what life is really like with you? If your little ones are preverbal (or they don't want to write something), feel free to share pictures (photos or hand-made), imagine a post or letter you imagine your little one would write, or get creative in whatever way feels right to you and your child. Submission deadline: September 1. Carnival posting: September 8.

October 2015: Confessions: No one's perfect, but sometimes parents (perhaps especially mom bloggers — you know who you are!) can appear perfect to people on the outside. What is your parental confession (crunchy or otherwise)? Come clean in this month's carnival. Submission deadline: October 6. Carnival posting: October 13.

November 2015: Sick Days: As we move into the season of colds and flu, talk to us about family health. How do you parent through illness, injury, and other health challenges? How do you support your family's health, or heal them when they succumb to illness? What special health challenges is your family facing, and how have you responded? Submission deadline: November 3. Carnival posting: November 10.

December 2015: Carnival break: Enjoy your holidays!

January 2016: Anniversaries: This month marks the 6th year of the Carnival of Natural Parenting — we're so glad you're along for the ride! What special way do you commemorate anniversaries? Does your family have any memorable traditions? Share an idea or a story from your family's history. Submission deadline: January 5. Carnival posting: January 12.

Past Carnival Themes

January 2010: Parenting resolutions: How do you want to parent differently (or the same!) in the New Year? Submission deadline: January 5. Carnival posting: January 12.
February 2010: Love and partners: How has a co-parent supported your dedication to natural parenting — or not? Submission deadline: February 2. Carnival posting: February 9.
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? Submission deadline: March 2. Carnival posting: March 9.
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. Submission deadline: April 6. Carnival posting: April 13.
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? Submission deadline: May 4. Carnival posting: May 11.
June 2010: Outdoor fun: What are your favorite ways to play outside with your kids? Submission deadline: June 1. Carnival posting: June 8.
July 2010: You are what you eat: Let's talk about food. Do you try to eat locally? Organically? Do you follow a whole foods diet or practice ethical or health restrictions? What are your goals and ideals, your struggles and successes? Submission deadline: July 6. Carnival posting: July 13.
August 2010: Carnival holiday: We can all use a break sometimes, so enjoy a little vacation.
September 2010: We're all home schoolers: Children, of whatever age, are learning all the time. Describe some of the ways your children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Submission deadline: September 7. Carnival posting: September 14.
October 2010: Staying centered, finding balance: For parents who practice attachment parenting, it can be tempting to center our lives around our children — but it's not healthy. This month we're going to talk about taking time for ourselves. Here are some possible topics for you to discuss: 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? And if you aren't taking time for yourself, what will you do to start? Think about how you feel when you do not get adequate time for yourself versus how you feel when you do. Submission deadline: October 5. Carnival posting: October 12.
November 2010: What is natural parenting?: Explore one concept from the NP philosophy – why is it important to you/your family? Why does it resonate with you? Or what does it look like in your family? Submission deadline: November 2. Carnival posting: November 9.
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? Submission deadline: December 7. Carnival posting: December 14.
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? Submission deadline: January 4. Carnival posting: January 11.
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? Submission deadline: February 1. Carnival posting: February 8.
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." Submission deadline: March 1. Carnival posting: March 8.
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. Submission deadline: April 5. Carnival posting: April 12.
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? Submission deadline: May 3. Carnival posting: May 10.
June 2011: We’re taking a break from the Carnival this month (while I have a baby!). See you in July!
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.) Submission deadline: July 5. Carnival posting: July 12.
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. Submission deadline: August 2. Carnival posting: August 9.
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. Submission deadline: September 6. Carnival posting: September 13.
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. Submission deadline: October 4. Carnival posting: October 11.
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. Submission deadline: November 1. Carnival posting: November 8.
December 2011: We’re taking a break from the Carnival this month (while Dionna takes a babymoon!). See you in the New Year!
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. Submission deadline: January 3. Carnival posting: January 10.
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! Submission deadline: February 7. Carnival posting: February 14.
March 2012: Parenting With Special Needs: Many of us are touched by caring for a child who stretches our parenting skills. Others of us have experience being a parent with special needs, or having a parent or partner with special needs. Share your story or some specific elements or tips on raising children despite the challenges. We'd love to hear from families who have family members 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. Maybe you, your partner, or your family of origin has had particular challenges. If you don't have personal experience, consider writing from a supporter's perspective or finding a guest blogger to share! Submission deadline: March 6. Carnival posting: March 13.
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. Submission deadline: April 3. Carnival posting: April 10.
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. Submission deadline: May 1. Carnival posting: May 8.
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! Submission deadline: June 5. Carnival posting: June 12.
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! Submission deadline: July 3. Carnival posting: July 10.
August 2012: Farmers' Markets: Are you a seasoned farmers' 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 farmers' 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. Submission deadline: August 7. Carnival posting: August 14.
September 2012: Carnival Holiday: We are taking a break this month. Feel free to post on a back-to-school theme for the Green Moms carnival instead: Publish it on your own blog on or before Friday, August 24. Once it's published, email your link and post summary to Micaela of Mindful Momma: She will publish a round-up post on Monday, August 27. Any questions, email Michaela.
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. Submission deadline: October 2. Carnival posting: October 9.
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. Submission deadline: November 6. Carnival posting: November 13.
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 you parent? What childhood memories do you hope your children will have? What do you do to preserve childhood for your little ones (e.g., pictures, etc.)? Submission deadline: December 4. Carnival posting: December 11.
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? Submission deadline: January 8. Carnival posting: Monday, January 14. (deadline extended for the holidays)
February 2013: We’re taking a break from the Carnival this month since last month's was extended.
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.
August 2013: Sibling Revelry: What are your thoughts and experiences when it comes to siblings? Tell us something about how your children interact with each other, how you parent each child differently or the same, your plans for child spacing, your intentions to have more than one child or not, or your recollections about your own upbringing with your brothers and sisters. Say whatever you want about the tumultuous and rewarding relationships with those most closely related to us. Submission deadline: August 6. Carnival posting: August 13.
September 2013: Staying Safe: How do you approach some aspect of family safety? We want to hear about car seats, water safety, emergency preparedness, poison control, babyproofing, and more. Submission deadline: September 3. Carnival posting: September 10.
October 2013: Kids and Technology: What is your stance on screen time? Does your family watch TV? What about computers, tablets, smart phones, and other gadgets? Tell us about your family's practices and goals regarding shows, apps, and other modern-day options. Submission deadline: October 1. Carnival posting: October 8.
November 2013: Feeding Your Family: How do you keep your family nourished? Does your family practice a special diet or deal with food allergies? If so, how do holidays look different for you since starting a special diet? Do you practice baby-led solids or have tips and recipes to share? Submission deadline: November 5. Carnival posting: November 12.
December 2013: The More Things Change...: How has life changed for you - this year? Since having kids? Since starting (or ending) a job/hobby/habit? Will you have a big change next year? How has this change affected your life? Your family's? Share the story of one of your life changes: children, marriage, divorce, death, career; or share tips for helping yourself or children through change; or craft some other relevant post for this month's topic. Submission deadline: December 3. Carnival posting: December 10.
January 2014: The More Things Stay the Same: Life changes, it's true; but it often continues on a steady path. This month, write about continuity. What does it mean to you: stability? Monotony? Is it a broken resolution, or a conscious effort? Whether it is something in the past or a goal for 2014, share what "staying the same" means to you and your family. Submission deadline: January 7. Carnival posting: January 14.
February 2014: Parenting Fears: Before we became parents, we likely all had worries about what parenting would be like or who our future kids would turn out to be. What fears have come true, and what was not worth worrying about? What concerns do you have for the future about your own capacity to parent, your kids' outcomes, or the sometimes scary world we live in? Submission deadline: February 4. Carnival posting: February 11.
March 2014: Everyday Superheroes: Have you done anything brave lately? Have you witnessed any quiet heroism? What characteristics say "superhero" to you? Your children? Submission deadline: March 4. Carnival posting: March 11.
April 2014: Family Pastimes: We all have our free-time passions. Which ones do you share with your kids? How have you incorporated family life into your hobbies, or the other way around? Have you struggled to balance "me time" with parenting? Is there something you and your family would like to take up? Get on your hobbyhorse and tell us all about it! Submission deadline: April 1. Carnival posting: April 8.
May 2014: Ages and Stages: Pick one age or developmental stage of your kids and tell us something about it. Maybe you'll hand out teething advice, or newborn sleep suggestions. Maybe you'll reminisce about the terrific twos or look forward to the burgeoning tweens. Tell us something about an age or stage, either past, present, or future! Submission deadline: May 6. Carnival posting: May 13.
June 2014: Kids and Animals: How do your children interact with other critters? What kinds of pets do you have, and what lessons have your kids learned through caring for them? How else do you encounter other creatures, and what do these relationships mean to your family? Submission deadline: June 3. Carnival posting: June 10.
July 2014: Family Vacation: Let's talk travel. What sorts of trips does your family take? What are your travel dreams or goals? Give your readers tips for road trips and plane rides, suggested itineraries, or even staycation ideas for frugal fun. Submission deadline: July 1. Carnival posting: July 8.
August 2014: Friends: We all want friends, but making and keeping them can come with challenges — for us and for our kids. Tell us about your family's friends, the ones you love, the ones you've lost, the friends you wish you had, the ways your children try or succeed at making friendships. Submission deadline: August 5. Carnival posting: August 12.
September 2014: Home Tour: We want to see, and you want to invite us over! Take us on a viewing of your home. Show us one room you love, or all of them. Show us how you organize your pantry, arrange your play space, or make room for a family bed. We want the fifty-cent tour! Submission deadline: September 2. Carnival posting: September 9.
October 2014: We’re taking a break from the Carnival this month while Lauren takes a babymoon!
November 2014: Indoor Fun: With wintry weather, how do you keep little ones amused without braving the elements? What toys, games, activities, and non-toy objects hold your kids attention best? How well do multiple siblings play together, and how can you foster that? Give us all your best busters of cabin fever! Submission deadline: November 4. Carnival posting: November 11.
December 2014: Greatest Gifts: We're talking materialism! What have relatives or friends bought your family or kids that were hits out of the park? What gifts have tanked? What recommendations would you have for gift givers, and what's on your wish list this year? What gifts have you given that showed what an awesome gifter you are? Let's talk presents this holiday season! Submission deadline: December 2. Carnival posting: December 9.
January 2015: Household Chores: Oh, that dreaded word! We all have 'em, but how do we manage to do them? Talk to us about your household tasks, how you divide the labor, and how you involve your partner or housemates and children, or how you wish you could. Submission deadline: January 6. Carnival posting: January 13.
February 2015: Do It Yourself: Teach us how to do something with your best tutorial – on anything. Reflect on how hard it is to get things done with kids, or how inspiring it is to include them in projects. Let's get something done this month! Submission deadline: February 3. Carnival posting: February 10.
March 2015: Day in the Life: Pick a typical day, and take one photo an hour. Or pick twelve or more photos that best represent what a "normal" day is for you. If you're not a shutterbug, write a diary of your day. Let us peek into your life to glimpse the familiar and the extraordinary in the mundane. Submission deadline: March 3. Carnival posting: March 10.
April 2015: Family History: We can see in our children how strong an effect genes have on us. Let's go ahead and face it, then: How has your family history — both recent and distant — shaped who you are and how you parent, for better and for worse? What does your children's heritage mean to you, and what are the ways you seek to pass it on to them? Do you find yourself aligning with your genealogy or branching out into new directions? Submission deadline: April 7. Carnival posting: April 14.
May 2015: Carnival holiday: Let's all enjoy a month off.
June 2015: Talking to Yourself: Write a letter to yourself at another age, either past or future. Tell pre-parenthood you what's in store, or talk to new-mama you and give some advice. Have a lunch date with yourself in the future and speculate on what you'll be thinking then. Pick a you to write to, and let us read along! Submission deadline: June 2. Carnival posting: June 9.
July 2015: Summer Fun: In the Northern hemisphere, the dog days of summer are upon us. Share your favorite summertime outside games, let us know what your family's go-to summer products are, give us tips on how to beat the heat, or write something else inspired by the sun. Submission deadline: July 7. Carnival posting: July 14.
August 2015: Life Learners: How do you continue to educate yourself once you are out of "formal" schooling? Are you inspiring your own children to be lifelong learners? Do you wish you had time for more? Share tips, tricks, advice, or wishes with us. Submission deadline: August 4. Carnival posting: August 11.

Keep in touch

Bookmark this page and stay tuned for future themes. Subscribe to our RSS feeds or follow on Twitter to stay updated on any carnival announcements: Hobo Mama's feed and Code Name: Mama's feed, @CodeNameMama on Twitter and @Hobo_Mama on Twitter. Also, check out our Facebook page, and become a fan.

Keep in touch with the community as well: Follow our Twitter list of #CarNatPar authors.

And join our site to connect like-minded parents, Natural Parents Network. You can find NPN on Twitter and Facebook as well.

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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.

For more information on natural parenting, please visit the following resources:
Please email Lauren or Dionna at CarNatPar {at} NaturalParentsNetwork {dot} com if you have any questions or suggestions about the Carnival of Natural Parenting.
Photo courtesy valerio lo bello on stock.xchng