My 12 yr old made this blanket over the last few months and then gifted it to our family for Christmas.
My appreciation for the handmade items goes beyond the obvious time, thought, and effort that went into them; these gifts are a manifestation of intentions I set early in my parenting journey and now that my children are older, I am getting to see the results of following through with these intentions. I wanted to preserve their childhood by allowing slow days; days that would allow enjoyment of simple pleasures, exploration of creativity in different forms, and a sense of pleasure and pride in simple activities.
"These gifts are a manifestation of intentions I set early on in my parenting journey."
There is certainly no instant gratification as a mother, is there? We can set intentions and it can take quite some time for habits and rhythms to develop, but when the results appear, we know it was worth it.
More Christmas gifts handmade by my oldest girls.
Here are some of the intentional things I did when they were younger that led to my girls having the space to making crafting/creating a part of their life:
I created and crafted to feed my soul and they saw me doing it. At times (often times, to be honest) I prioritized it above other things, meaning I crafted while there was laundry to do and dishes to be washed because I needed to do something that fed my soul and I could see progress being made. The important thing here is that they see you prioritizing your passion, whatever that may be: reading, cooking, yoga, painting, sketching whatever makes your heart sing - they will see it.
I "scheduled" time at home where there was no plan and no agenda and it was understood that screens were not an option. Sometimes these days would begin with me hearing “I’m bored!!” My response would be (still is with my current littles) to say, "Ah! Yes, sometimes we can be bored." Allowing the boredom allows them to move through it naturally. This led to them having the space needed to learn a craft, to let their imagination wander, and explore their interests. The intentional boredom and downtime is also what helped cultivate a love of reading. **A note here about screens. We are not a screen-free household, but we are intentional and minimal, especially when the kids are young and still developing habits. No cell phones until they were 12 and it was a flip phone to start and we do not have video games. So during the times of TV screen-use when they were young, the shows and content were carefully considered. And there were days were we would say, "We are not going to watch anything today" and would stick to it, again, allowing the space to be bored and explore their creativity. I try hard to achieve a balance, which means that there is not a perfect adherence to a schedule or rules, but an awareness of approaching extremes and trying to avoid staying there. For example, when I was pregnant there was a lot more TV than usual, but it was still slow, simple content and there was a period of detox when I was ready to implement that. I also want to note that there is an amazing outlet for creativity and cultivation of a craft in technology, coding, and gaming. I am a strong believer, however, that keeping their early play simple and technology-free establishes the framework in the neural network as it was designed to be formed and thus is needed to access and use this creativity later in life.
We provided space and materials to explore their creativity. Paints, play doh, glue, crayons, scissors, lots of paper, cardboard boxes, and a ton of freedom on tabletops or tablecloths that don't mind showing wear, a floor or floor covering that can wiped up. Sometimes I would have a planned craft, but most often it was "Have at it!" Creativity needs space. Messes can be cleaned up. And sometimes they want to be left and returned to later - we live in a house where kids play and make, so having it look "ready for company" at all times is not my jam.
Finally, as they get older, having projects that we work on as a team has prioritized time together and working toward a shared goal. The blanket we made for my mother-in-law, for instance, was a months long project that we looked forward to working on and had a special meaning. After the littles were in bed, we would all get our work out, put one of our favorite shows on (because balance!) and crochet and laugh and enjoy time together working toward the same goal, knowing that we would be providing a special gift for Grammy.
Hearing your teen say, “I can’t wait to sit and watch Project Runway while
we crochet,” is a wonderful thing. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Parenting is like anything else. You must start like you mean to go on. So think about what you want for your children when they are older; break down what it will take to get there and start little steps now. Your vision doesn't have to look like mine. We are all on our own journey with our own personalities and priorities.
Do you have an idea about what you want to see years from now, but don't know what it looks like to start now?
Let me help you. Follow the link below and find the "New Year Session." Follow the link under the description to email me. Then we can make an appointment for a session where we can talk through your goals and the steps you can take now to begin creating the experience you want later.