Dear Learning Lab friends (old and new!),
In today's story, our young friend, with the best of intentions, makes a big mess in the kitchen. Mom and Dad enter looking very surprised! While we are busy turning the page, Mom and Dad are busy taking a deep breath and re-centering themselves to give their child a great big hug and say, "Don't worry about a thing. Every little thing is gonna be alright." Go Mom and Dad! that is what we always hope we will do, right? Even though we sometimes lose our cool as parents, messes happen, and as long as we have that page-turning moment to take a deep breath, we can help our child learn how to admit to mistakes and, most importantly, how to clean up.
Spending time together in the kitchen can be a challenge for every parent of young children. My thoughts are that the younger we help our kids learn practical life skills in the kitchen, the less stressful this will be for adults. Two-year-olds are very capable kitchen helpers! Here are a few thoughts to work on this spring and summer:
1. Setting the table, counting the silverware, setting out placemats, folding the napkins, putting the salt and pepper, or even a centerpiece together. Deciding if you will have dinner by candlelight can also be the job of the table-setter even if they can't yet light the candles themselves.
2. Making toast in the toaster and buttering the toast (work on that pincer grip with the tongs to safely get the toast out of the toaster)
3. Set up a spot on a lower shelf in the pantry and in the refrigerator with snacks that your children can get for themselves.
4. Counting out the ingredients for you while cooking. 3 eggs. 2 cups of chocolate chips. 5 cherry tomatoes.
5. Cutting and decorating cookies or bananas.
6. Pizza, sandwiches, smushing an avocado for homemade guac, pouring milk onto the cereal from a small pitcher (ours is shaped like a cow!) so many ways to cook without high heat or sharp knives.
7. After the meal, can your child clear the dishes? Wipe off the table? put away the placemats?
8. When they head off to preschool, will they be able to open their own lunchbox, Tupperware, etc? Will they be ready to drink out of a cup without a lid? This is a great time to work on those skills.
These are just a few thought starters. All mistakes help our brains to problem solve how we might do it differently next time. The mistakes are an important part of the learning. Two-year-olds LOVE to help! Most 7-year-olds do not lol! Enjoy your eager helper while it lasts.