Do you remember a time when you stirred the cookie batter or beat the eggs with your grandma? This week my little nuggets learned how to bake cookies and make eggs. There is something intrinsic about the art of our youth being hyper-focused. It never ceases to amaze me how unfocused a toddler is until you hand them some cookie dough and a whisk. There is value in spending the time to teach the little ones how to cook. Cooking is a way to commune and bring family together, it brings happiness, and joy to most households.
There are a few things to know about why the grand folk have more patience than you when it comes to messy situations. Where you lose your noodle because, the kids are getting messy, we laugh and relish in the fun. Messes can be cleaned, but memories shouldn’t have to be. Will you remember the mess you had to clean when your baby is tossing around flour? Perhaps your rug rat will remember you cleaning and sweeping, while grumbling about it? In twenty years from now, are these the memories you think they will want to chat and reminisce about when they come home for the holidays? Doubtful.
Why it is important to make memories:
* Memories begin with dreams, dreams become goals, and goals can become reality. Hopefully the reality is positive enough to store into your long term memory.
* Memories can be captured on camera. Make them happy, not just appear happy.
* Having a valued memory with your children, as you get older, is sometimes all that you are left with. When the kids get older and move on, they become too busy to remember us. We understand, so we cling onto the story you get tired of hearing us repeat. One day you will have memories to cling onto, when life slows down.
* Memories bring us joy at the most random times and in the most random places.
* Memories are the stories we share with others, either to tell a wonderful tale, or share worldly experiences.
* Memories can keep history from repeating itself, or when the memory is great we may want it to repeat itself.
Why making a mess is important:
* Making a mess can be fun
* Making a mess can build character. Each person makes a mess in a different way.
* Making a mess requires clean up. Showing your little one that making memories is having fun, but there is a responsibility involved.
* Making a mess can require team work and group activities for social skills.
* Making a mess can be fulfilling if the mess created something that builds confidence, creates self-worth, and accomplishment.
* Making a mess teaches your little tikes that no matter what mess you make it can always be cleaned up. This is a great metaphor for what may, or may not happen in their adolescence. Life is never too messy to make a change to your environment. How determined you are is how well you will clean.
Why Cooking is the best mess to make:
* Cooking builds many valuable skill sets.
* Cooking teaches kids that failing or making a mistake, is a valuable learning tool. They will learn that through their mistakes they will evolve and try a different way next time. The only way you fail is failing to learn. Tasting a recipe that required a tsp. of salt that they added a tbsp. to will surely remind them quickly, that this is a mistake we don’t want to make again. Those cookies don’t taste so good. Teaching your children not to fear failure has more value than you know.
* Cooking brings family and friends together.
* We have to eat, don’t we?
* Cooking is a great way to learn math and measurements. Not too mention how to count.
* Cooking teaches problem solving.
* Cooking teaches eye-hand coordination and dexterity.
* Cooking messes are a great way to learn that life is easier if you clean as you go.
Grandparents know the importance of being patient and taking the time with your little tikes because, we know how much their little minds will absorb. Never forget that children have a willingness to learn. You just have to give them an opportunity. So, the next time you are in the kitchen, bring your little ones in with you.
A few tips before you go into the kitchen that will lower your stress level…
1. Go to the dollar store and stock up on cheap table covers. These are great for simple clean up.
2. Have a lot of wet wipes near. These work great for the little ones to clean themselves and the surface area.
3. Have all of your food prepped that needs to be chopped or cut. Using sandwich seal bags are better than bowls that kiddos can knock over.
4. Try to give your kids smaller utensils, which are easier to grip in their tiny hands.
5. Make this a routine for them by purchasing aprons. When your child has his/her own aprons they will show a sense of pride. It also teaches them that everything has its place in the kitchen. Get some hooks and display those aprons.
Enjoy cooking, cleaning, and creating with your little ones, just like grandma!