Posts tagged Babies & Toddlers
Technology Can't Fix Your Parenting Problems

I have to tell you, I'm excited about how technology is changing my life. Cars that can detect when someone's in my blind spot, better voice dictation for typing, video chat sessions with my newborn niece that are crystal clear even though we live on the other side of the country, my new noise-cancelling headphones, appointment reminders that sync from my email to my calendar - it's amazing and I'm loving it!

What I don't love is when products are created to give a quick fix to a parenting issue.

Tech + babies & toddlers makes me very skeptical

Want to know how much milk your baby drank in a nursing session? There's a gadget that claims it can do just that. Attach a sensor to your baby's earlobe, and the suck and swallow is recorded in an app.

Can't remember when your baby's diaper was last changed so you'll know when to change it again? You can plug that info into a device that will tell you by the second.   

Need to get your child to brush his teeth? A toothbrush can sing to him, beep, and sync to an iPad to put a star on a rewards chart. 

Disturbed by your toddler waking you up before you're ready to open your weary eyes and face the day? You can install an "ok to wake" clock that trains your toddler not to come wake you up by showing a red light until your pre-set wake time. 

Truth: parenting is super hard!

Babies always seem to poop when you've just gotten everyone out the door. Breastfeeding is awkward and anxiety-ridden for many new moms in the first few months. Most children dislike the feeling of a toothbrush on their teeth. And toddlers battle bedtime and sometimes wake up at the crack of dawn.

Exhausted parents who find that there's an app for that are often swayed by the slick video advertisements of well-rested, happy parents and compliant children all due to some kind of tech-intervention. 

So do they work?

Since children are very receptive to external stimuli, they very well may. And somewhere out there there is a parent and child who would benefit from a product with capabilities like these. My gut instinct says that it would be a rare need.

More truth: If a tech gadget seems to promise compliance from your child, it's probably too good to be true. Because we're raising humans, not robots. And we're the parents. It's _our_ job to set the limits and gently guide our children toward adulthood. If they wake us up too early in the morning, we need to ask ourselves why.

So let's take that last gadget - the “OK to wake clock”.

And let's break down the real problem. 

Here are just a few reasons why children might wake up early in the morning: 

  • Their bodies woke up ready to play!

  • They had a bad dream. :(

  • It's daylight's savings time.

  • They napped too much the day before.

  • They got to bed too late.

  • They are having a developmental growth spurt.

  • They woke up and it was dark...and lonely...and they wanted you.

  • They woke up and it was sunny...and eerily quiet...and they wanted you.

And here are some possible non quick-fix solutions for you: 

  • Help children become more aware of their circadian rhythm by allowing them to sleep and wake with the sun.

  • Trust that they will, in their own time, adjust to a more realistic rhythm that also works in sync with your needs.

  • Talk to them about your expectations before you get them to bed. And when they wake you up too early, be compassionate. Remember - you're the adult.

  • Install darkened curtains or light proof blinds so that the room is darker earlier and stays dark later.

  • Bedtime routines. I'll say it again. Bedtime routines.

  • Make their room accessible for independent wake and sleep as much as possible. Toys that they can play with in a safe environment without you just for a bit while you rouse yourself.

  • Learn how to appreciate the sunrise. This was my solution with my second born, and guess wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I saw so many beautiful pink skies!

  • Go to bed earlier so you're not as cranky when you're awoken earlier.

  • Let your child crawl in bed with you. (Here's another solution that worked brilliantly for me!)

  • Be patient and kind - both to yourself and to your child. These days won't last forever - I promise!

With every gadget that promises a parenting quick fix, we need to ask ourselves: Is this an aid to the emotional needs of the child?

Does it foster independence?

Is it necessary?

Is it the best solution?

Or is it something that gets in the way of my child's natural development or my ability to do my parenting job? 

If the answers to those questions gives you pause - just be patient a little longer and try a few human strategies first.

They've worked for us for thousands of years.

What's another generation got to lose in trying?

TechParentingPIN 1
Toddler Fears are Normal: Calm Them With Kindness

Whyyyy can’t they install nice, affordable, universally quiet air-based hand dryers in our public restrooms? Or toilets that flush without filling our ears with a sudden burst of static? All the parents of toddlers I know would be ever-so grateful. Both adults and children would exit the room feeling a good deal less stressed.

Can we make this happen now, please?

And then can we apply what we’ve learned about helping humans peacefully enter and exit public places to airports, grocery stores, malls, and schools?

Libraries, just hang tight for this conversation. You’ve got it covered already. ;)

Of course, even if human-designed areas of our world were created with a calmer, more natural mindset, our children would still find things to be scared of. As a mom of two, I’ve seen my own children experience both little fears and bigger anxieties as they entered and exited toddlerhood.

There was the year that dogs became a huge issue and meeting a dog-walker in the neighborhood ended in my child running away and hiding behind a bush. There was the year that hard candies were banned (lest a family member choke on them). And, of course, we had our fair share of bedtime battles because nighttime itself is dark and scary.


Childhood Fears Are Common

When parents share with me the things their children are afraid of, common themes always emerge:

Animals, like…dogs, cats, insects, spiders, snakes, or roosters.

Being at a playground, in a grocery store, on a crowded street, or while attending a class.

Unexpected Lights or Voices...battery-powered toys, talking electronics (Siri / Alexa / Google Home / the car GPS system), talking baby dolls, or alarm clocks.

Excessively Loud Noises, washes, jet planes, hair dryers, blenders, lawn mowers, garbage disposals, toilets, or vacuums.

Fantasy and Masked Characters, like....people in holiday costumes like Santa or the Easter Bunny, clowns, or cartoons. (And let’s not forget monsters!)

The Dark… Who are we kidding, though? Even most adults feel uncomfortable in the dark. Fear of the unknown and unseen is part of the human experience. So if we feel a little creeped out and vulnerable ourselves by burglary noises in the dark, scary clown pictures, or being alone at the park, how do we help our children overcome their anxieties?

Acknowledge the Reality

It can be tempting to dismiss the fear entirely -- especially if you know that your child is safe. However, just telling her not to be scared isn’t going to be effective.

Instead of saying, “Don’t be afraid,” or “You’re okay,” acknowledge the intensity of her emotions.

Describe what you see. For example, “Your body is very rigid and you’re hiding behind me. The noise of the hand dryer is very loud, isn’t it? You’re scared. Lots of people are afraid when they hear loud noises. I understand how you feel.”

Offer Comfort

Some children will need a simple hug or cuddle after a frightening experience, and that simple physical contact will assure them that you are there. Other children may appreciate some kind and comforting words, like “I love you so much, and I will keep you safe,” or “I am confident that the hair dryer will not hurt you.”

Give Information

What’s behind door number 1? Is it a tiger? If you open that door and engage your child’s natural curiosity, you are allowing her to consider new possibilities to reframe her own fears.

If a dog bark sends your child into panic, talk about how animals communicate with one another and what they might be “saying” if they could express themselves like humans do. Show how high pressured soapy water and a soft brush can rinse away dirt, just like the automatic car wash does.

By revealing the truth behind the object of anxiety, you are allowing your child to choose whether to be afraid or not.

That’s real empowerment! You’re being supportive, empathetic, and kind when you educate about reality.

The fears may not go away completely, but your attitude toward them will make a world of difference for your child.

Toddler Fears Pin 1


Need Help With Your Toddler?

Read the introductory chapter to my book Toddler Discipline for Every Age and Stage for free.

There is no degree in parenting. But there's this.
ProfileholdingTDbook (1 of 1).jpg

I loved my mother so much I wanted to grow up and be just like her. I can close my eyes and I still see my five-year-old rosy cheeks and pigtails in the mirror. The answer to the age-old whaddya wanna be when ya grow up question was suddenly clear as day.

I looked right into my own hazel eyes and announced the epiphany out loud. “I’m going to be a mom!” My voice echoed off the old olive-green tiles. I whispered it again for good measure. And then I went into my backyard and twirled in the sun, happy and fulfilled, secure in my future career. I wonder how many other children had a similar adorably innocent moment.

Unlike other life-altering career decisions, like my own foray into classroom teaching, there is no degree to obtain in parenting. There are no certifications to pile up. No professional development hours to accrue and turn in. No one hires you or fires you. No one gives you a to-do list or evaluates your performance.

You can read about the right way to discipline children and even study child development before you give birth to or adopt one. These formal studies can certainly get you philosophically centered and ready to face challenges head on, but in the end, as new parents, we are all more or less on the same playing field. Newbies mucking about together, hoping for the best.

Parenting well takes constant introspection and empathy - for when we learn to see the world through the eyes of our children, we start to understand why they behave the way they do. And then we can modify our reactions to meet their deepest needs.

If we are trying our best to parent with compassion, with respect, with loving guidance, with gentle encouragement, with supportive limits, and with a good deal of humility, I truly believe we are all on the right path.

Even so grounded, many parents have come to me over the years and asked me for specific strategies to try when their toddlers and young preschoolers are throwing tantrums, refusing to cooperate, throwing toys, hitting, or biting, among other behavioral difficulties.

I’m happy to share the wisdom I’ve learned along the way - from reading books, chatting with my mama friends, and by watching my husband work his own parenting magic - but it is impossible disregard information about the development of the child in lieu of a specific method. They are both essential to solving a problem.

In my new book, Toddler Discipline for Every Age and Stage, you’ll find practical strategies for overcoming common issues faced by parents of 1-4 year olds right alongside insight into your child’s developmental stage. It was a genuine thrill to write and brought back so many memories of my own children when they were little!

You are the perfect parent for your own child - just as you are. You know that, right? I hope you do.

I know you might not always feel like one. Most of us struggle with periods of self-doubt and even cry about it in the bathroom or get unreasonably cranky. Recently, I re-watched the animated film Tangled again and was struck by how much I identified with the evil witch (“mother”) when she fell back into her chair in exasperation after yelling and said in regret, “Great. Now I’m the bad guy!” Oh, how many times have I been that bad guy, goaded into losing control of my own emotions!

All of the fretting, the exhaustion, and for some of you (myself included) even the yelling…this is life handing you an opportunity for learning. Every good story has an internal struggle. It wouldn’t be a story without one!

But with dedication to learning and the willingness to embrace the ups and the downs, your child will respect how hard you tried and may even look in the mirror and decide to one day take the journey, too.

No Degree in Parenting Pin 1
Five Ways to Respect Newborns

It's not just you. Science confirms it - babies smell delicious. They also look like angels when sleeping. And nothing is as soft as a baby's bum.

Little wonder that we think of babies as small and helpless creatures, which is too bad, really. Babies actually have immense power. No adult could accomplish anywhere near the task the baby has taken on in the past nine months of growth. 

But more than that, our tendency to underestimate babies makes us it harder for us to respect them.

We love them. We protect them. But respect? Respect In the way we respect a mentor or person who persevered? The concept is too often foreign even though babies both have much to teach us and have undoubtedly persevered. 

Respect for children -- not just protection but actual respect for them and their work -- should be a central tenant of our social contract. It is one of the surest ways to social growth. 

The baby is biologically driven toward becoming a great adult human being. If we give him the respect he deserves as an infant, he will grow into an adult who treats other adults with respect -- creating a stronger, more civilized, peace-seeking society in the future.

Developing human potential

As Dr. Silvana Montanaro writes in Understanding the Human Being, a newborn has "a strong drive to develop all the components of his human potential harmoniously." Here are five ways to foster this development through respect.

1. Snuggle and Nurse Your Baby Often

Give your baby direct, physical contact -- and lots of it. Skin-to-skin cuddles, babywearing, and cosleeping are all great ways to facilitate close contact. Human babies are born with the instinct to be close to their mothers, as they seek round-the-clock nourishment, comfort, and protection. Rather than trying to keep up with the usual household duties, take time to nurse and snuggle. You cannot give a newborn too much physical affection.

2. Allow sleeping and eating on your baby's schedule, not yours

The treatment of children should really be considered a matter of social importance.
— The Absorbent Mind

Newborns are gifted with a biological rhythm that tells them exactly how much nourishment and sleep they need. Allow them to regulate these needs themselves by making both milk and a calm place to rest available. Trust in your baby's instincts.

3. Provide Consistent Routines

Children have a natural sensitivity to order, and routines remain a great comfort throughout childhood. Your baby will naturally come to understand the difference between day and night and will be comforted by daily, repetitive experiences. By changing baby's diaper in the same place often enough, he will come to know and expect what is about to happen. By singing the same lullaby to your baby, he will soon internalize the music, so the first few lines soothe him right away.

4. Let them look around and move their bodies

Newborns are notoriously nearsighted at birth for a reason. Their ability to focus on objects is the exact distance between your breast and your face. Allow your baby to gaze on you while you nurse, and give him lots of eye contact and smiles. Newborns also need to be able to move their bodies. Laying on a lap in a rocking chair or on a soft blanket on the floor is perfect for stretching muscles and nearby focusing. Conversely, bouncers, play yards, swaddling blankets, and other common baby products can restrict both the baby's view and ability to move freely (and may contribute to problems like plagiocephaly).

5. Stimulate their senses

Babies thrive in environments rich in sensory contact, and you don't need to work hard to create one for them. Bring your baby into the thick of life, and rich sensory experiences will take care of themselves. Eat nutritious food, and you'll give your nursing baby a taste sensation (breastmilk takes on the flavor of what the mother eats). Let your baby listen in on adult conversations, and softly speak to him directly about what you're experiencing. Go outside and feel the wind softly blow. Stand under a branch and look at the leaves as long as his gaze remains focused. 

Making Tantrums a Positive Experience

When your child is having an emotional meltdown, it's hard to keep your cool!

What if your child is crying uncontrollably or is kicking and screaming on the floor? What then?

No matter what, realize that it is your job as the parent to push your own emotions aside as much as possible in order to help your child. But how? It takes practice and a lot of determination.

In this video, I ask you to turn your thinking about tantrums around. Instead of seeing the tantrum as something negative to nip in the bud, look at it from an educational perspective...a positive learning opportunity for both you and your child.

Tips for Success

  1. Be Their Voice. Children do not always know how to communicate their frustrations to you. Your job is to help teach them how.
  2. Be Strategic. There are two times when your child is more likely to be in a receptive state: before the tantrum starts and after the tantrum is over. If at all possible, use those times to your advantage.
  3. Keep Cool. During the tantrum itself, remain compassionate and patient until it's over. If your child likes to be hugged, provide physical comfort. If your child prefers to be left alone, just hang out sympathetically nearby until the tantrum is over.
  4. Keep Firm. If you said no to something your child wanted to do, really mean no and stick to it. Don't give in just because there is a tantrum. Giving in will not solve the problem. Discussing feelings and coming up with solutions and compromises will.
  5. Be Kind to Yourself. You're only human. Every tantrum gives you the chance to grow and change as a parent to meet your own unique child's needs. By putting a positive spin on the situation, you are not only empowering yourself, you are raising a child who will learn how to put life's hurdles into perspective.
21 Montessori Water Activities For Your Practical Life Shelf

Let's get some Montessori water activities on your practical life shelf! Don't have space for a shelf? Don't worry! Just keep some of these object handy for when kids seem ready for a bit of water play.

1. Pour water from two tiny pitchers back and forth. Any glass or ceramic creamer-style will work for the Pre-K crowd, but for toddlers, tiny metal creamer pitchers are best.

2. Spoon water with a ladle from a big bowl to another big bowl.

3. Spoon little floating objects (corks?) from one bowl into another bowl.

4. Spoon little sinking toys (marbles?) from one bowl into another bowl.

5. Try tongs instead of spoons for #'s 3 and 4!

6. Use a baster to transfer water from one bowl to another.

7. Use a funnel to fill small vases with water from a pitcher. Then dumping the water back into the pitcher. This is is preparatory work for the flower arranging work.

9. Squeeze a sponge from one bowl to the other to transfer the water.

10. Gather small objects from around the house (that won't be hurt by water). Find out which ones float and which ones sink.

11. Experiment with color mixing. Three small glasses of colored water (red, yellow, blue food coloring) and several small empty bowls. Use an eye dropper or a pipette to make different colors in the bowls.

12. Whisk one drop of dishwashing liquid in a big bowl of water.

13. Try an eggbeater in #12 instead of a whisk!

14. Try grating some bar soap into #12 instead of using dishwashing liquid. (Supervise this one closely.)

Keep a towel and a nice, sturdy tray handy to catch any spills.

15. Fill two bowls with water, one hot and one cold. Add one piece of ice into each. Which melts faster?

16. Use a medicine syringe to transfer tiny amounts of water from one glass to another.

17. An outside game: Fill a giant plastic pitcher or watering can. Pour the water into a large bucket. Haul the bucket to a kiddie swimming pool and fill it up. Then play!

18. Have a tea party with real tea (rooibos or berry tea are caffeine-free options.) 

19.  Scrub a section of the kitchen floor with a small bowl of soapy water and a sponge cut in half.

20. Put a water-safe baby doll into a large bowl or tub. Add a small pitcher of water, one pump of liquid soap, and a small washcloth.

21. Mustard/ketchup bottle squeezing. Fill an old squeeze bottle with water and squeeze directly into a bowl.

My Baby Doesn't Want to Be Alone! Ever! And That's Normal.

It can happen overnight. One day your baby is happily playing on the floor with a toy while you attempt to tidy up the living room and the next day he's pulling at your legs, terrified that you will leave his side.

And so you tend to your baby. The next day is the same. And the next. The dishes go unwashed for far too long. The living room feels cluttered. You realize that you forgot to brush your teeth! You leave him for just a few minutes, thinking, "It's okay if he cries for just a few minutes, right? I have to get things done!" And afterward you sort of feel like a bad mother for leaving him there to cry, but there's also a feeling of exasperation and helplessness. You know you can't keep this up for long, so what gives? Is there something wrong with your baby?

Actually, if your healthy baby is between the ages of 6 and 18 months and clings to you instead of happily playing alone, you can rest assured that this behavior is developmentally normal.

A New Self

Your baby is developing a new awareness of self  

It's a little intimidating to realize that one is, in part, alone in the world. An individual. A separate, mostly helpless being. If one is to survive, one must have the instinct to keep protected by clinging to one's mother.

"Attachment and stranger anxiety are strikingly universal among human societies...babies throughout the world show attachment and social fear at the same time: beginning around six months of age, and growing increasingly intense until about eighteen months. Attachment thus appears to be programmed into limbic development. The only babies who fail to grow attached are those who are seriously neglected, or whose limbic systems - as in certain cases of autism - are incapable of making a connection with another human being." (from What's Going On In There? by Lise Eliot)

So, what's a mama to do when she needs to go wash a dish or two? There's not much that you can do about your baby's desire to constantly be with you, but I can share a few Montessori-friendly tips...

1. A baby friendly area nearby. When in the kitchen, I usually put down a nice, soft quilt on the floor with a small basket of baby-safe kitchen utensils or simple wooden toys for investigation. Before tackling the dirty dishes, I sat down on the quilt with my baby and looked at the objects myself, shaking one to make noise or seeing if it rolled. And then very slowly and quietly I'd stand up and wash a few dishes, dry my hands, and return to my child to talk to him. This was our typical "working in the kitchen" routine, and my baby came to expect it and could tolerate longer periods with me bustling around, not giving him my undivided attention all of the time. It helped to trade out objects now and then as well.

2. Playing with baby. I am not, I'm sorry to say, an efficient laundry folder. Did you know that burying oneself in a full basket of warm clothes feels utterly delicious? Try it once, and you'll understand what the fuss is all about. Plus, there's the unforgettable peek-a-boo with every unfolded shirt, and don't forget those big, floppy socks that can be made into the funniest mittens! Embrace the chaos and fold shirts quickly on the side.

3. The baby carrier. When my little ones had a pressing need to be with me and I just needed to take a moment to throw a load of laundry in the washing machine without making a big production out of it, I wore a baby carrier like an apron around my waist (the mei tai worked well for this) and asked my little one if he would like to come along with me. More times than not, the little arms shot up and he scrambled onto my chest, happy and secure to be carried for a few minutes while my arms were free to do basic housework. Often my little one nodded off as I worked, rocked to sleep in comfort as I sang a lullaby.

Trust me - these clingy days will someday end and a new developmental phase will begin.

The Art of Baking Bread With Children

Yeast and gluten are magical. When working with a piece of dough, it feels alive.

You knead it, stretch it, tuck it in bed, punch it, pat it, fold it, dust it, roll it, or braid it.  And then when it's time to bake, you wait with a delicious anticipation.  Your house fills with a glorious, wholesome smell.  You can't stand it any longer, and you open the oven to find the metamorphosis that has happened to your dough.  

Now is the time to revel in the fact that you have made this beautiful, crispy loaf of BREAD. Most recipes will strangely caution you against this, but I recommend that you cut into it right away, as the steam is escaping.  Spread a little butter on it, watch it melt, and it is heavenly.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Bread

What You Need

2 cups whole wheat flour (+ more for later)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 pkg yeast
2 ½ cups lukewarm water
¼ cup softened butter or oil

What You Do

1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt. 

2. Add your yeast to the lukewarm water and mix.  "Proof" it by adding a little sugar or honey to it.  Wait a few minutes to see if it starts to bubble.  If it does, you're good to go.  If it doesn't, your bread will not rise.  I admit I often skip the proofing step because I have found the packaged yeast to be pretty reliable.

3. Use your stand mixer with a dough hook or a wooden spoon to mix the wet and dry together and make a very smooth batter.

4. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring it in and then adding more.  Your batter will get thicker and thicker.  Once the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl, you can probably start kneading it with your well floured hands.  I like to use a very large, shallow bowl so I can knead it right in the bowl.  Otherwise, dump some flour onto a cutting board and start kneading the dough, folding it over and pressing, adding more and more flour until the dough is not-so-sticky.  You want to be able to pinch the dough and see it hold its shape, feeling somewhat like an earlobe.  I am not going to tell you how much flour to add because it depends on the humidity, on the type of flour you use, etc.  I never measure beyond the initial ingredients.

5. Put a little oil in your hands and pat the dough ball all around.

6. Let it rise for an hour.  I like to put my dough back in the bowl and over it with a moist dishcloth.

7. Punch it down.  The children love this!  Ball up your fist and punch-punch-punch as many times as you like.

8. Let it rise again for another hour or so.

9.  Punch it again.  Cut the dough in half with a sharp knife.  Flatten one half on a floured cutting board.  Sprinkle chocolate chips right onto the dough - as many as you like!  You could also do raisins, nuts, or cinnamon.

10. Roll the dough up into a log, pinch the edges closed, and then gently shape the loaf.  Do the same to the other half of dough.  Use a cookie cutter to stamp a shape onto the top.

11. Place into a well greased bread loaf pan, onto a baking sheet, or on a cast iron skillet.

10. Let them rise again, about 20 minutes.

11. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top is crispy, brown, and hollow sounding.

Serve immediately and enjoy the gooey chocolate!

Does it sound like this recipe takes FOREVER?  Like ALL DAY?  Well, it kind of does.  When you really take a look at your hands-on time, it's really more like maybe 30 minutes.  The bulk of time is spent rising, which it can do happily without you.  Dough is flexible, too.  If you need to go out, go out.  If you need to stick it in the fridge to rise, stick it in the fridge.  You can even shorten the rising time by half, but your gluten will be less developed and your dough will be more cakey and less stretchy.  

The point is, you really can't go wrong here, even if you end up with whole wheat chocolate chip bread sticks (yum!) or whole wheat chocolate chip rolls (yum!) or whole wheat chocolate chip crackers (probably yum!).  Give it a try and see how it turns out.  As long as it isn't burned, and you have used the basic ingredients, it will likely be tasty!

I've tried a lot of different whole wheat bread recipes, but this one is one of my favorites, and it's so easy anyone can do it.  Children are always amazed at the tranformations during the different stages, and it is easy to build off on if you are more experienced with baking.  A tip: embrace the long process. Good bread takes time, and helping children to develop cognitive control, which includes delayed gratification, is something worth slowing down for. 

Involving babies:

  • Wash hands.
  • Smell and taste the ingredients as appropriate.
  • Play with a wooden spoon.
  • Watch the process.

Involving toddlers: 

  • Smell and taste and touch ingredients as appropriate.
  • Dump yeast into lukewarm water.
  • Watch yeast-water mix for bubbling.
  • Dump dry ingredients into bowl.
  • Stir dry ingredients (with assistance).
  • Mash kneaded dough.
  • Punch dough down

Involving preschoolers: 

  • Smell and taste and touch ingredients as appropriatae. 
  • Mix yeast/water/sugar together. 
  • Observe bubbling. 
  • Measure ingredients.
  • Stir dry mixture. 
  • Pour wet mix into the dry mix. 
  • Stir the new, sticky dough until too difficult.  
  • Add flour a little at a time. 
  • Knead dough (assisted). 
  • Pat dough with oil. 
  • Put dough somewhere warm to rise. 
  • Check dough as it rises. 
  • Punch dough down. 
  • Knead dough after it has risen. 
  • Put dough into a bread pan. 
  • Observe dough cooking through the oven window. 
  • Serve the warm, sliced bread. 

So if you've never baked bread before with children and no one in your family is allergic to the ingredients, now is the time! Go bake a magic loaf and enjoy! 

For more tips for including children in the kitchen, you might be interested in a course I'm teaching soon, called Confidence in the Kitchen: revealing your child's potential.