I Taught My Kids The Basics Without Effort


It’s funny how kids pick things up from us.  As parents we know that we’re meant to teach our kids life skills, basic decency, thoughtfulness, understanding, caring, etc.  The list goes on and on.  This list is a small sample of things that I have somehow managed to teach my children without even knowing it:

1.  Letters.  Big Boy is a huge fan of YouTube, he will watch it from dawn to dusk if allowed (mostly just to keep him out of my hair!). When he started out he watched nothing but toy reviews about Lightning McQueen so every morning he would ask me to spell “Lightning” in the search window.  One day as I watched him he opened the search window and calmly typed in “L,I,G,H,T,N,I,N,G” until McQueen came up at the top of the search terms.  It’s only one word but I count that as a spelling win!

2.  Numbers.  They learned their numbers by knowing which ones to push so that the food is hot when it comes out of the microwave. (I’m not a great one in the kitchen, we eat a lot of frozen dinners and take out food!)

3.  Colours.  Big Boy learned his colours the old-fashioned way (with an iPad app!) but Little Man is learning his a new way…using different flavours of potato chips! Red is Doritos or Regular Pringles, Yellow is Regular Lays, Purple is All-Dressed Ruffles, Green is Sour Cream & Onion Lays, Blue is Regular Ruffles.  At least the primary colours are covered!

4.  Telling Time.  GingerAle is a big treat for Big Boy, I gave it to him when he had an upset stomach and it quickly became a favourite for him.  Every day he would wake up in the morning and ask for some pop which, of course, I wouldn’t give him. (Even I can’t drink pop at 5:00am!) I would tell him that he had to wait until 11:00, before that it had to be juice.  Now, every day when that clock hits 11:00 I hear, “It’s Eleven! Time for some 7-Up!” (He’s gone through his GingerAle and Root beer stages and is on to the Sprite/7-Ups)

5.  Left and Right.  My kids have two favourite places to go when we leave the house, luckily they are in opposite directions.  My boys learned that when we go to visit GranNan & Papa at the farm, that’s left.  When we go to McDonald’s, that’s right.  Getting shoes on the correct feet will take a little bit longer but the basics are there.

6.  Money Management.  The boys know that if you want to pizza man to hand over the pizza they must hand over their coins.  That’s enough for them, things like getting new iPad apps are not nearly so complicated, they just have to get Mommy to “put in the letters”. (That’s when they try to trick me into entering my password!)

7.  Privacy.  Kids have very few personal boundaries so they figure that everybody else is the same.  (Little Man copped a feel on my brother’s girlfriend last weekend going, “Beep beep!) It’s not easy to have them understand the concept that some things are best done in private.  In my house I have somehow taught him to leave me alone by using the phrase, “Okay buddy, get down.  Mommy needs to wipe her bum.”  Sends him scurrying off in a flash.

8.  Cleaning Up.  With two little kids (who love Hickory Sticks) there is often a slew of something crunchy on the floor.  Little Man knows that proper procedure is to get the broom, sweep up and empty the dustbin into the garbage.  This was brought home to me one day when I (perhaps foolishly) allowed him to run around without his diaper.  (It was twenty minutes before bathtime, I didn’t want to waste a diaper for such a short time!)  He ran off and before I was even halfway down the hall I saw him run into the kitchen and return to the living room with the broom.  I had a pretty good idea about what I would find when I followed him…yep!  He was trying to sweep up the pee that he had just deposited on the floor.

9.  Making Choices.  I’m pretty sure that Big Boy was not quite two when I realized that he had a mind of his own and wasn’t afraid to use it.  My husband and I had decided to pick up McDonald’s for dinner on our way home one night, Little Man would have been just a few months old then so we pulled up to the drive-thru and my husband started ordering, “One Grilled Cheese Happy Meal…” and we hear from the backseat, “With fries, Root Beer, for boy!”  I got a bit of a talking to from hubby about how often I decided to have someone else cook for my kid!

There are quite a few things that I can wish my children hadn’t learned yet, but that’s a list for another day.  Right now I guess I’ll get the boys to sweep up the purple chippy crumbs so we can go to McDonald’s (Turn right Mama!)

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