Raising self confident resilient children is a challenge. One suggestion is to follow the Rule of Six. It requires six honest positive statements for every correction. Activities like cooking help work into this habit with tasty results. For more activities see www.grandparentsteachtoo.org and "Learning Through the Seasons" pod casts at wnmufm.org.
Rule of Six
Before you make this a part of your family, tally how many times you hear praise versus correction, criticism, or put downs. If your family needs practice with positives, it is useful to do activities that are fun and hands-on like cooking to start changing habits. Cooking lends itself to phrases that let children know they are capable and kind.
Cooks can use phrases like, "You did a nice job stirring. Thank you." or "You filled that cup of flour just right. Isn't this going to taste great?" Families can get accustomed to catching each other doing well and doing good using the Rule of Six.
Keep a tally once the Rule of Six is in effect. Families are sometimes astounded how using this one technique changes the atmosphere in their home. Here are two recipes to initiate and celebrate the Rule of Six.
You'll need three medium McIntosh type apples and cinnamon sugar.
Wash and core the apples using an apple corer or table knife. Slice off a quarter-inch of the top and bottom of the apple and discard. Adults can slice the remaining apple in 1/8-inch thick slices. Children can soak the slices in 2 cups water with 2 tablespoons lemon juice for five minutes.
Children can then spread the apple rings onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Avoid overlapping the rings. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar.
Cinnamon sugar is ½ cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
Bake for approximately 3 hours in a 250 degree oven, rotating twice. Start checking on them around 2 hours. They may be slightly pliable out of the oven, but should crisp up when cool. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature.
There will be many opportunities for giving praise following directions, measuring, stirring, spreading out, taking turns, helping others, and helping to clean up.
Frozen banana pops
Line a baking sheet with foil. Adults: melt 1 cup dark chocolate chips and ½ tablespoon vegetable oil in a saucepan on low. Cool for 1 minute. Children can cut 2-inch sections of peeled bananas with a table knife. Drop a piece of banana into the chocolate and carefully swirl it in the chocolate. If desired, coat each banana piece with crushed walnuts or cereal. Place on a baking sheet. Poke a skewer in the center. Freeze a minimum of four hours. Serve on skewers or place in a dish.