Updated: Mar 7
It may be an "off" year, but that doesn't mean you can't continue your child's journey towards a joyful and productive (and hopefully closer to "normal") future. With spring approaching and vaccinations underway, that may become a bit easier—especially with the promise of more outdoor fun just ahead!
This is a great time to try new hobbies, to ride the season of new beginnings into our own new ventures. For kids who are gluten-free, we recommend adding (or mastering) skills that will continue to serve them in years to come. Here are our best suggestions for your GF troopers to keep growing strong:
Practice the Fine Art of Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking. . . Because why not try something new? Here's a challenge to try: The dish must LOOK as great as it tastes. This ups the fun-factor and becomes a feast, both for the eyes and the stomach. A few “pretty” escapades in our kitchen have included sushi, quesadillas, pancake sculptures, chocolate-decorated strawberries and bananas, and triple-layered finger sandwiches.
Try Self-Guided Music Lessons. You can easily find many online courses for helping kids teach themselves how to play an instrument (such as guitarlessons.com). Let's be honest--our kids have all become online pros this year—for better or worse—so let that translate into a lifelong skill! Besides, what better time than now to polish up that old piano, and bring a new song into your home!
Build (or Fix or Revive) Something. Kids who enjoy hands-on activities might enjoy a project they can take indoors or out. Go through your storage room and find an old table or lamp that could be repainted or collaged, or (for older kids) even an old tech item that might be repurposed (we’ve had a speaker become a robot and a VCR become a box full of craft parts). Or visit the hardware store and get inspired for a new build. For any such project, of course we trust you’ll put safety first.
Pre-Game Your Favorite Warm-Weather Activities. Break out that bat and ball, play a game at the park, dust off those bicycles, and make the most of those somewhere-in-between chilly and balmy days. Fresh air makes for rosy cheeks and happy kids!
Plant Seedlings. A love for gardening is a life-long gift, and this is the perfect time to plant for later spring & summer. Best of all, giving your kids something to care for builds empathy and responsibility--not bad for a crafty spring venture!
Most of all, enjoy the changing of the seasons, and remember: It’s always the PEOPLE, PLACES, and EXPERIENCES in our lives that matter most.
Elyn Joy has written two books to help gluten-free parents and kids: The Gluten-Free Parent's Survival Guide and The Gluten-Free Teen's Survival Guide (just released). Her articles have appeared in Gluten-Free Living Magazine, Whole Foods Magazine, The Gluten-Free Resource Guide, and several GF-related sites and blogs. She has presented educational programs for the Colorado Children’s Hospital, Natural Grocers, and other GF educational forums. For more information, visit www.glutenfreeparent.com.