This article was originally published in the Glebe Report but I realized today it never made its way onto the website! I hope you enjoy it! :)
When I was a child, my sister and I didn’t have access to the wonderful range of toys and kits that children do now. But we were never bored! My parents were raising us on my family's 300 acre homestead in the Midwestern United States. There was always work to be done and my sister and I took great pride in helping out where we could. When I became a parent, I loved watching my son’s creativity bloom with each passing year but I also sensed a restlessness in his handiwork. Children want to imitate what their parents are doing and while he met each new toy or activity with an initial joy, in the end he always preferred to join me in what I was doing, usually cooking or baking in the kitchen. For a long time it was a struggle trying to sneak in quick moments of cleaning or prepping dinner while he was busy, or worse, putting him in front of the television to buy some free time. It wasn’t until he was almost two years old that I realized what had been so naturally evident to my own mother: children love being involved in the meaningful work of the house. I reflected upon the many happy summer hours my sister and I sat in the sun in the front yard snapping green beans or husking ground cherries. In the winter, when there were fewer garden veggies to be scrubbed or berries to be picked, she kept us involved in her work by having us cut the soft dough of her homemade egg noodles into bite sizes. This realization that my son could join me in the work of the day transformed both how I parented and took care of our home. Including my son in our daily work translated to fresher, healthier meals for everyone and a more beautiful home as I simplified everything. There are so many wonderful ways to incorporate children into the purposeful work of the home and finding the art and beauty in each of our tasks can make a world of difference in how we relate to our home and to our children.
The Parent and Child program at Stone Soup Crafts is centered around homemaking with young children and offers gentle ways to create a beautiful home rhythm and environment for both stay at home and working parents through bread baking and the nurturing arts.
For more information on our classes, visit www.stonesoupcrafts.com
Darla Barrows is a teacher at Stone Soup Crafts in Old Ottawa South and recently returned from a year in rural Wisconsin where she taught in the Parent and Child program at Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School.