Teaching Our Children to Participate in The Home
One of the many things I appreciate in my adult life is that my mother included me in all household tasks. She would give me chores and jobs to do around the house simply because I needed to help out. She thought it was necessary for every one of us to participate in the home. As my brothers and I grew older, the tasks we had changed and grew with us as well. For me it felt good to be needed and my mom would be so happy once we’d completed everything and always made sure to thank us very well. Of course there were days we weren’t in the mood to clean or do our part but she always explained that this is the way life is. In our adult life there will be times when we don’t feel like doing certain things but have to anyway. For instance, she told us she didn’t always want to go to work but it was necessary and we had our own job to do just as she had hers. InIceland this is quite common and most of my friends were taught in the same manner.
I remember on Fridays my brother would be cleaning shelves in the living room and me folding and hanging our laundry while listening to Celine Dion! Now this memory is so lovely. This has prepared me to be a good worker when I entered the work force (which I did really early on as most Icelanders do in the early teen years) and now that I have my own home to run, I am much better prepared and better at it. I think this is a wonderful thing to teach our children from a young age. They may even feel more included in the home and proud of their accomplishments. I for sure plan to do this with my boys. I already have taken small steps towards this by making them clean their rooms and telling them to pick up all toys after play. I recently started having them bring their plates to the kitchen after meals. My older son often feels so proud and happy he wants to also take my plate from the table to the kitchen.
Another thing that I believe is even more important is raising our children with food culture, which I have learned here in Italy as well. My father is a chef by profession and I guess got my passion for good food from him. I love involving my sons in the kitchen as well despite their young age. Now my older son is taller and old enough to stand on a stool or a chair next to me and he is crazy about helping out. They watch me closely pealing apples in the early morning and pick them out of my hand to eat. When I prepare our usual smoothies they watch and get to throw the fruit in the blender. Sometimes we make some scrambled eggs together and Sebastian loves watching me break the eggs and then he gets to blend them. I don’t add any butter or milk , just plain eggs – so healthy and they love it. Slice some avocado and mix it on their plates which is always a lovely way for my younger one to eat with his hands 🙂
On some occasions we prepare salmon that has now become one of their favorites just because they are able to help me prepare it. This also makes them more willing to eat what I make for them as they feel proud of their accomplishment and can’t wait to have a taste. Kids are extremely smart and receptive to learning everything you teach. I explain almost everything I do to both of them and explain why I do certain things in certain ways and so on. For example: Why we need to eat healthy food. I explain that it makes us strong and well and then we won’t get sick as often. These days my eldest is very interested in this topic.
It can be pretty tricky to get our children to eat what we want them to eat, this is the reason why I keep repeating that you should start early with all the healthy stuff so this way they don’t know the alternatives. Believe me we are doing them a huge favor by keeping them as pure and healthy for as long as possible. Let them help in the kitchen, take them with you to the market and choose the fruits and vegetables they would like to taste. I make green juices with my boys and they have been drinking them since before they were 1 year of age. They absolutely love them! Explain why we eat healthy, I know it does not always work and it varies on the child’s age and when you start. But if you keep preaching it , it will slowly seep into a good spot of their brain; if not now, then surely later it will be used.
I still remember the incredible woman from Puerto Rico and her words of wisdom. She is a mother of three beautiful boys and I have never seen such healthy radiant children. They had glowing skin and wide bright and open eyes. We don’t need to feed our children ice-cream to make them like us, we just need to be by their side. The most important gift is to give them your time and attention. Try out some recipes in your kitchen and have them help you. I am sure they will at least want to taste the food they have helped prepare and have some fun during the process!