Step 1: Don’t take children strawberry picking.
Step 2: If you do choose to take children strawberry picking, don’t expect them to pick any strawberries.
Step 3: If your child does pick a strawberry, just let them eat it. They don’t actually weigh the children when you pay for your berries.
Step 4: Have fun!
As adults we often go into an experience with an agenda and a desired outcome. Two years ago I took Gigi strawberry picking for the first time. It was a disaster. Her little fingers did not have the skill to pluck the juicy berry from the plant, and she didn’t have the attention span to search under the leaves for ripe berries with me. She was quickly frustrated and bored. If I had let my agenda get in the way we would have spent the morning in a power struggle as I “helped” her fill a basket.
This year held more promise for strawberry picking. Gigi’s fingers had two years to work on the skills needed for such a delicate task. She is able to focus and finish a project that we begin together. And oh! The first three berries we picked was a thrilling experience for both of us! Then reality hit. Strawberry picking is hard work and Gigi was not interested, that is until I told her she could eat her fill of berries she picked herself!
My agenda wasn’t to fill a basket, though if I’m being honest the picking was very good and I did fill four baskets, thanks to a certain strawberry stained four year old who kept bringing me empty baskets ❤️. I had one desire for the morning: to spend a memorable morning with my sweet girl. Watching her run up and down the rows, chin dripping with juice, was worth more than filling a basket with berries.
Because I let go of my idyllic adult version of what strawberry picking should look like, Gigi was able to explore the fields, get advice from more seasoned pickers about how to find the best berries, and practice her independence by getting baskets alone. These things are more important than putting a strawberry in a basket.