Teaching young children how to cook, I think, is one of the greatest accomplishments; not just for your children but for you the parent as well. Children may often look awkward or clumsy stirring or chopping, but that’s okay. It’s a proud site to see as a parent the pleasure and pride they show in their accomplishments.
Today’s guest post is from Kristen Swope. Kristen is sharing the joys of cooking with children and how you can get your kids in the kitchen.
Enjoy today’s post!
In most households, dinners are approached with great haste—popping mac and cheese into the microwave or ordering pizza. The scenario is common in households where parents have their hands full and can’t bear the time spent chopping onions.
Parents aren’t to be blamed, though. Managing the household is a difficult task—a job that often falls on the shoulders of mothers. With the economy we have today, most families need both parents to work, and there is no one to focus on the house. Because of “home fast food”, we are slowly and inadvertently creating a house full of picky eaters.
To reverse this trend, home managers (that’s you, Mom!) should get their kids involved in preparing meals. Sounds like a daunting task, right? It is, if you think about the mess that’s about to happen, but if you approach this activity with the mindset of helping your kids learn life skills, then things are about to get different.
The Road to Healthy Living
Learning how to cook and appreciating the processes that bring good food to the table pave the way to a healthier lifestyle. In a country where fast food rules, the ability to cook changes the way children see diet. Obesity in children is growing simply because there is easy access to junk food. By cooking with their parents at home, children will discover that nutritious food is not boring, and that with a little bit of creativity, they can make a dish that delights both the eyes and the palate.
When children learn the process of cooking, they will value the way food is transformed from something so basic into something scrumptious. In addition, they learn about food safety by constantly needing to keep hands, food, knives, and utensils clean. If you teach them the importance of hygiene in everyday living, having to be so cleanly in a kitchen will show them how cooking is a part of life.
An Opportunity to Bond as a Family
With all the daily activities that keep us busy, it’s essential for families to wind down and just enjoy each other’s company. Spending time together in the kitchen is a great way to foster healthy family relationships. It’s also a great opportunity to talk to kids and discover more who they are.
Create new dishes together or revive an heirloom recipe. By cooking alongside each other, family members nurture and preserve family traditions that they can pass to the next generation. This is also a great time to indirectly teach values that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to talk to your children about.
Boost Your Child’s Confidence
Contrary to what most people think, young children love to help around the home. Even if it takes them ages to do a task, the mere idea of completing a job is a great boost to children’s confidence. When children cook, they learn about every little step involved. Measuring, sequencing, and cause and effect are just some of the practical skills that children learn when they help in the kitchen. The life skills they learn from you are things that will help them through when they become adults. In addition, when children help in the kitchen, they feel like they are an important part of a team.
Get Them Involved Today
It’s never too early to teach kids the joy of cooking. You can teach the basics to a child as young as four or five years old, like washing fruits and vegetables. As they grow older, you can teach them the more complicated tasks of slicing, measuring, and heating.
Cooking at home is healthier and less expensive than eating artificial foods or getting take out. Cultivate good family relationships and preserve your traditions by letting your kids help in the kitchen. Things might be a bit messy at first, but the extra hand in the kitchen will someday be feeding you.
Kristen works as a freelance writer for Backyard Ocean, an online store for above ground swimming pools, inflatable pool toys, and accessories. A work-at-home mom, she loves to cook and spend time with her daughter in the kitchen.