Recently, I had the privilege of being able to bake with my almost three year old son. As toddlers usually do, he had been resistant to doing anything that required him to stay still for very long. However, as we worked it struck me how many life lessons I was able to teach him in that brief interaction.
WORKING TOGETHER IS BETTER.
Teamwork and cooperation are ideas that kids struggle to grasp at early ages. Actually, many adults fail to grasp this concept ever in their life. The idea that anyone can contribute and the process can be more enjoyable working together, is something I want him to take to heart. Whether he is paired with others during a class assignment or later in a work project, I want to begin to instill the pleasure of working with others.
IT IS OK TO GET MESSY.
He looked at me in horror as goops of dough plopped onto his footie pajamas. He saw in my laughter and shrug, that it was ok. There was no gasp or even insistence that we clean up immediately. I showed him my hands covered with the same goop and reminded him that getting messy is just part of the process.
MAKING MISTAKES HAPPEN, BUT WE DO NOT HAVE TO REACT WITH ANGER.
He spilled, and sloshed while he helped. Mom spilled and dropped things. He continually looked at Mom for a reaction. He is learning how to respond to situations based on how it is modeled for him. Sometimes I would get frustrated with myself for my clumsiness, a constant battle, but choosing to laugh it off rather than berate myself, teaches him about forgiving himself. Especially important since he inherited the clumsy gene!
TAKING TIME TO CREATE, CAN PRODUCE DELICIOUS RESULTS.
Learning to work for a desired result has become less common these days. Instant gratification can be easily communicated by my son’s question why we could not merely cook the muffins by microwave. I guess this speaks a little to some of my cooking methods. He had many bouts of frustration and whining while demanding his food. In these moments, we were able to talk about patience and the importance of waiting. Ultimately, he was able to experience the positive effects of working for a result while eating his fresh baked good.
HE HAS SOMETHING TO OFFER.
Taking time to include him was a sacrifice. The baking took longer and more of a mess was made. However, it told him that he was important and could contribute to something Mommy was working on. He was able to feel valued by the quality time, the praise when he did something well and the end result of something edible. My attention told him that he is worthwhile.
These lessons can be communicated in a variety of ways. What is something you enjoy that you can do with your little one?
Making messy memories, Allyson Pitre