The Importance of Including children

My Grandmother

My grandmother, among so many other things, knew the importance of including children. Hopefully, looking back, you find that you have mainly good memories of your childhood and growing up. I do! As children, we spent a lot of our time at my grandmother’s house. She was always busy doing something, but always included us in what she was working on. I think that is why most of my homemaking skills come back to her.

Two children and a grandmother cooking in the kitchen

Learning through doing

I cooked and baked with her all the time, she showed me how to read a cook book. She taught me culinary terms, substitutions in recipes. She taught me little tricks, like how to tell the freshness of an egg, how to peel garlic, how to wash mushrooms, how to measure butter with water displacement; to name a few. I loved being busy and feeling included in everything that was going on. I didn’t even realize I was learning valuable skills for the future!

A child and a grandmother cooking in the kitchen

Important Life Lessons

She told me how important it is to have good neighbours. That way you could call always call them when you need something, like one egg, and don’t have time to run to the store. I remember running to her neighbour’s house and getting extra ingredients on several occasions! She did have great neighbours! Her one neighbour had a great pool in the backyard and we would often go over to use the pool in the summer. Her neighbour on the other side had a large vegetable garden and would often share, with her, the bounty that came out of it, over their fence!

Lessons in Homemaking

She taught me how to sew and use a sewing machine, (I even made, with her guidance, my dress for a school dance in high school!) Growing up, she made a lot of clothing for us. Some of the aprons she made for me, I now use for my children!

She taught me how to garden, every spring we would load up her car with flowers from the garden centre and spend the day planting everything.

She showed me how to keep a clean and organized home. Once a week she dusted the house. She had a floor polisher she would use every month. We would clean the windows with vinegar and newspaper every few months. She would even take all the little glass crystal pieces out of her chandelier and clean them twice a year!

Lessons for Self Care

The importance of exercise. She was very active. She was always involved in activities and groups. Skiing and golfing. She said that it was important to go on a walk everyday.

How to eat healthy and keep a sharp mind. She said it was important to keep your mind busy as well as your body. Also, how your mind is just like any muscle in your body, once you stop using them they start to decline. My grandmother worked, a few days a week for a lawyer, up until she was in her late 80’s, and she always completed the crossword puzzle in the newspaper! She was very creative, she was always busy with some form of art project, and she loved to write poetry! She even showed me how to do my taxes the first time!

A little girl scooping muffin batter into a muffin tray.

Our children

Thinking back now, I see the importance of including children in everyday tasks. Even if it takes longer, is messier, or isn’t quite done perfectly. These are the really important things they will take with them. The things they wont learn in school. The little things that will become your legacy, because they will remember the times they spent with you crimping a pie crust, or dusting the house. When they are off on their own, it just might be the little things you remember too!

The take away

I think, not only is there an importance of including my children so they can learn all the skills they will use when they are on their own; but I get to know and spend time with them. Explain things to them. They need to know the reasons behind the things you are asking them to do.

My children crave attention from me all the time, so instead of saying, ‘hold on I have to finish this task first’, instead I try to say ‘yes, come along with me and you can help me with this’.

I know this is not always possible, but when it is, I try to involve them as much as I can. I just need to remember to slow down, and enjoy their childhood. They really are just little people, for such a little while!

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