By Christy Saludares
Christy Saludares, an engineer turned stay-at-home mom, loves finding engineering principles in every day life. With a passion for teaching her own kids how to think like an engineer, and a love of encouraging others to study engineering, Christy offers awesome activities and advice on her blog, www.fromengineertosahm.com. Here, she gives us the lowdown on just a few ways to include her own passion in her every day life with kids. It is my hope that you may apply some of these strategies, but also think about your own strengths and how you can connect with your children by introducing them to your passions. Find happiness in doing something you love – with the little ones you love! Here’s what Christy has to say:
When I left my career to stay home with my kids, I had NO idea what I was getting into. I knew I would take care of my kids and the home, but wasn’t sure how I would connect with my kids other than meeting their needs. I decided to come up with my own games and activities for us to do together. But since I had just spent the last decade and a half as an engineer, the ways I was connecting with my sons looked a little different than my friends’:
- One of the major reasons people tell me they can’t be an engineer is they are no good at math. I am a strong believer that most people would be good at math if they were shown at an early age that math is a part of everyday. For example, when I go to the grocery store, I use this as an opportunity to teach my sons about math. I teach my toddler numbers by counting the fruit out loud that I put in a bag. I teach my oldest addition and multiplication by asking him how much all the fruit we’re buying will cost. While I’m teaching my sons to not fear math at an early age, the simple games have also made grocery trips so much more tolerable.
- The other day my son came home super excited to tell me about the science experiment he had done at school. The teacher had placed two cups next to each other, one filled with red water, and the other one clear. Then his teacher placed a string connecting the clear and red cup. My son watched as the clear cup slowly turned red. He thought it was magic! I was able to explain it to him why the clear liquid turned red (capillary action), and we even reproduced the experiment, except with a twist. This time I placed a empty cup next to a cup full of water. Then I folded a paper towel and placed one end in the cup full of water, and one end in the empty cup. He then watched as the water transferred from the full cup to the empty cup. I showed him it wasn’t magic at all, but science! I love that I can share these times when my son, and show him how cool science is!
- For my son’s 6th birthday, one of his friends got him a remote control truck. My husband and son loved playing with the truck. Eventually my husband decided to buy himself a remote control car, only HIS was a hobby grade car. A hobby grade remote control car allows you to replace and upgrade parts, which just opened up a new world of fun for my husband and son! Eventually my son saved up enough money (through selling toys and doing extra chores) to buy himself one as well. Together they started playing with and upgrading the cars, which gave my husband and me several opportunities to teach him about what engineers really do! When a gear broke, we taught him about material engineering. When a bushing broke, we taught him about reliability and mechanical engineering. I’m pretty sure my son’s friend had no idea that her simple gift would lead to countless hours of father/son bonding time!
- Before I left my career, my last job was as a project engineer. I wanted to teach my son a little about what I had done, so I made up a quick little activity for him using a few items around the house. Throughout the activity, I shared with him some of the details of mommy’s last job, and also taught him some of the things engineers have to think about when executing a project. While my son loves building things, I can’t help but think these are the moments we will both treasure in times to come.
- An engineer sees the world a little different. Several times while I’ve watched my son play, I’ve realized his toys were helping him explore engineering principles. Every time, I jumped at the opportunity to teach him about engineering! Using one of his sandals and a rock, I taught him about forces during a trip to the splash park. And when I saw him changing the height of his hot wheels track, I taught him about about different kinds of energy. I keep the explanations short and sweet, but he gets the point. Right now I just love sharing with him a bit of what I learned during 5 years in college.
Now that I’ve stayed home for over two years, I realize the way I play and connect with my kids is different than my fellow moms. But we each find our ways to connect with our children, and this is mine. Plus it had made my son see math, science, and solving problems as fun, and not at all intimidating. Mommy win for sure! Now if we could just get him to sit still during a movie…
Thanks for the insight, Christy! Be sure to check out her blog for more great tips: www.fromengineertosahm.com
How do you connect with your children? What is something you loved doing before you had kids? How can you introduce it to your children? Be sure to check out The 14 Habits of Stay at Home Moms for more tips on finding happiness while staying home with young children!