Make Food a Family Affair
I love to cook, and thankfully in my house I have many assistants. From mixing batter to cracking eggs, my kids want to be where the action is, and in our house much of the day is spent in the kitchen. While in the beginning I wasn’t too thrilled with so many little hands in the kitchen, over time I have come to see the benefits from involving my kids in making meals.
Cooking is a fun way to “do school.” Measuring teaches counting and fractions. Using a recipe reinforces reading and following directions. For older kids, learning how ingredients interact with one another is a great science lesson. Cooking ethnic foods is a great way to introduce your child to new and different cultures.
Cooking can tame a picky eater. Many children go through a picky phase when they are younger. Involving them in the meal planning, shopping, and cooking is a great way to convince them to try something new. Most kids are willing to at least try their own food creations.
Food is a great way to teach your children to serve. How many times have we made a meal for a family who just had surgery or a baby? Kids can learn at a young age that making a meal is a simple and inexpensive way to bless others. Even if we have few resources, the gift of food is a great way to serve.
Cooking is a great way to spend time together. Even if they are too young to be much help, pull the high chair into the kitchen and give them some measuring spoons and other plastic kitchen items to play with while you cook. This will get them use to being in the kitchen. Some of the best conversations happen when you are standing beside your child working together, especially boys who don’t always like face to face conversations.
Teaching your child to cook is an investment in their future. Eating out is expensive, yet almost a necessity for many adults who lack basic cooking skills. A young adult who knows their way around the kitchen has learned an invaluable life skill. You don’t often hear people complain that they married a good cook!
I realize that having extra hands in the kitchen is not always the most efficient way to get things done. But, the memories made and lessons learn far outweigh the inconvenience of a few egg shells in the cookie dough.
Toni is a wife, mom, blogger and member of the BornFree Mom Panel.
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