Monday, August 8, 2011

How Involving My Kid Saves My Sanity!

Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

One thing I've learned as a mother of a toddler (who's now almost a preschooler!), it can be near impossible to get anything done if she's not occupied or sleeping!  So I figure I have two choices:  find something for her to do that will keep her entertained and occupied while I complete my task, or involve her in what I'm doing. 

True, the task will probably take a little longer to complete if the little one is involved, but I'll probably have fewer interruptions than if she's not.  True, there may be more mess to clean up when we're done, but she'd probably be off in another room making a mess if she weren't working with me.

Of course the greatest benefit of involving your kids in your projects is the opportunity to bond with them and teach them. You can teach math skills, like matching and sorting when assembling furniture and folding laundry.

One of our favorite activities to do together is baking.  I think this, in itself, is an important skill for children to learn, but it also gives parents the opportunity to teach children math (counting, fractions, addition, multiplication, etc.)  I almost always modify recipes (doubling the yield or reducing the fat or sugar content), so I'm always doing math when I'm baking!  At this point, learning fractions and multiplication are a little advanced for my little one, but I hope it's something she learns naturally and easily.  For now, we're just working on counting and addition!

 Here's one of our favorite recipes... Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Beat together butter, oil, and sugars until creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  • Add baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and flour; beat well.
  • Stir in oats and raisins; mix well. (I usually stir in half of the oats and raisins, then stir in the rest to make sure all the oats and raisins get well distributed.).
  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8 minutes.
  • Cool for 1 - 2 minutes on baking sheet, then move to wire rack

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


Lauren Wayne said...

Oh, it's so true! There's so much to learn when they're involved along with you — although I'm always having to teach myself patience in the moment, to enjoy the process even though it takes seven times longer and derails four times along the way. :) I need to try those cookies, now!

mudpiemama said...

So much fun when everyone is involved and how true about there being a mess either way! Your pictures are adorable - love the furniture assembly one! thanks for sharing and for the recipe!!

Anonymous said...

Ok, it's no fair to tempt the pregnant mama with "amazing oatmeal raisin cookie" recipes - you know I'm going to have to make this, don't you?! I agree with everything you've said though - everyday chores can be such fun, and great learning experiences!

I Thought I Knew Mama said...

So so true! At 13 months, it's hard to involve Baby in some things, but I keep trying.

Momma Jorje said...

Oh these photos are so awesome! I love the furniture assembly pic!

I think maybe I need to bake more, maybe. I like that with that, the ingredients aren't hot. You put them together, THEN heat them. Sasha loves to help me cook!

Sylvia said...

I have also found that the best way for me to complete a task when my toddler is around is to involve him. I love baking, but haven't done much since he was born :(. You've inspired me to give it a try, math 'lessons' and all!

Jona @ said...

I love doing projects with kids - baking is one of our favorites, too. I think the time & mess are a small price to pay for the connection, involvement, and opportunity for practical learning. And I'm hoping we'll manage to keep these connections as they get older, as a way of reconnecting when they're more outwardly focused teenagers (gasp!).

Unknown said...

Oh I how understand the "can't get anything done with a toddler" scenario. Totally in the throws of it myself but do agree that including them in EVERYTHING (albeit a slow process) at least gives you a shot of getting it done. :)

Baking is super fun with toddlers. Totaly chaotic mess sometimes but so worth it. Glad to see you love to do that together too!

Isil Simsek said...

I love your photos reflecting how your lil one is engaged. And the cookie sounds yummy, will try it out.

Rae said...

the recipe sounds fantastic - thanks for sharing and for putting up that gorgeous photo too! I agree, when it comes to baking, let's get the children involved from day one - it's a true life skill and opportunity for us to create and bond together...

Mrs green @littlegreenblog


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