When I was a kid, I really did not spend that much time in the kitchen. I remember once, I intentionally stayed in the kitchen to watch my mom cook, so I could learn something. Honestly, I got bored, and I don't think I really learned how to cook until I was in college.
I always liked the idea of one day having my kids in the kitchen, teaching them how to cook, even though this really wasn't my own childhood experience. When I was a new mom, I was hanging out with a friend, who's oldest daughter was already in high school. Her daughter had called during our girl time, asking about the whereabouts of a certain spice she needed to make a dish. After hanging up, my friend casually told me, "She's making chicken curry for dinner tonight."
I stared at her in amazement. Oh to one day pass the baton of dinner preparations to my children! When, oh when?
If you haven't already started, here are five benefits of having your kids in the kitchen.
They will learn how to follow instructions.
In cooking and so many other activities, there is an order of doing things, and following instructions properly will yield the expected results. What a valuable lesson for children to learn when they are constantly asking why they have to do certain things! After those cookies come out of the oven, they will have something tangible to show them that it pays off to follow instructions.
They will learn some math.
Understanding the difference between half a cup and 1 cup, between a teaspoon and a tablespoon, between more and less, is a school lesson in disguise. Math is useful after all!
They will learn safety (and I will learn to be less nervous).
I was so hesitant to have my kids near the stove or use knives. I still get tense, but I want them to know that these things need to be used with care and attention. Today it's teaching them how not to burn themselves when making a quesadilla. Tomorrow, it's showing them how to parallel park without hitting anything. In both cases, they need to learn how to do things safely and properly without a nervous parent hovering over them. Check out this post from
, offering some very practical advice about teaching children knife skills.
They will learn how to serve others.
Food preparation is a good start in learning hospitality. Including them in the kitchen when you're expecting some company for dinner or having them help you prepare a meal for another family who is in need will teach them a valuable lesson in serving others. Children (and adults) are naturally inclined to think of themselves first, sometimes to the neglect of other people. But, you can show your kids that cooking for someone else is a way to look out for the interests of others.
They will learn how to be a part of the family.
Before they join any sports team or activity club, kids already have the opportunity to learn the importance of teamwork within their own family. Children need to realize that what they do as individuals will affect the rest of the family. By doing their share of the chores or helping with putting a meal on the table, they can see that they have a significant contribution in the running of the household.
What are other reasons for including your kids in kitchen activities?
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