In today’s day and age, the only thing that makes an individual stand out from the crowd is skills. May it be singing, drawing, or even cooking for that matter. Since we were kids, we loved to get ourselves involved in everything that our parents did. Although it was just for fun but later it did help us in our lives. The same principle stands true for cooking as well. One of the skills parents can make their kids learn is cooking.
This will give them confidence and independence. Furthermore, kids tend to imagine things. Therefore, why not allow them to put their creativity to the test. They will learn from the mistakes and will turn out to be better than their peers. Therefore, in this article, we are going to discuss how you can get your kids to help in the kitchen. Let’s begin.
Begin with the right expectations
When it comes to getting your kids to help you in the kitchen, you need to begin with the right expectations. What we mean by that is every child features different skills and learning abilities. Therefore, you cannot expect your kid to learn everything as soon as he/she steps into the kitchen. In the beginning, kids cannot carry out multiple and complex tasks at the same time.
Their cognitive abilities have not developed to the point where they are able to process things thoroughly and act accordingly. The most they can do is bring napkins to the table or help stir something. However, if you ask them to cut the tomatoes, it will not be possible. The general rule of thumb is to begin with the simple things and give the kids some time to master them.
Do not create panic or cause them to freak out if something happens. Remember, it is a learning process and it is supposed to be fun. Not something that gives them anxiety.
Planning a Menu
Kids should not only be involved inside the kitchen. Instead, outside as well.For instance, planning the menu. Begin by offering them a limited selection, like “Should we have pasta or burgers?” This will make it a lot easier for them to choose. Furthermore, you will ensure that they are not consuming unhealthy foods as well.
The key lies in offering the options that you know your kids will most likely agree to. Once they have selected their option, give them positive feedback like, ‘Good option’. This will give them confidence and further motivation to take part in the kitchen related processes. Then, gradually allow the kids to decide the menu for the weekend.
Once the menu has been selected, it is time for grocery shopping and why would your kids even miss the opportunity to visit the local shopping center. Explain to them what groceries are needed and the items that cannot be bought. It might be the budget or storage issues etc. Make sure that you give them the healthiest options only.
Take them shopping
Taking your kids shopping might send shivers down your spine but we are not talking about buying them clothes or toys etc. We are talking about grocery shopping. Before you leave the house, set some ground rules, and tell your kids that they will only be getting things that are mentioned on the list. Once you reach the store, distribute the items between the kids, and let them fetch.
This mini-exploration process will make them learn a lot. While you are selecting the items, ask the kids some relevant questions. This is a great way for them to learn. Allow your kid to pick up a veggie or a fruit he/she has never tasted before. While you are at that, educate your kids about budgeting, the cost of food, and saving money.
Safety in the kitchen
Helping parents in the kitchen is a fun process for kids because the parents are always there to watch what they are doing, while they are doing. Therefore, the risks of self-harm are comparatively less. However, once the kids are able to make snacks on their own, parents will not be there to see what they are doing, how they are doing each time. Therefore, practicing safety is another important aspect of getting your kids to help you in the kitchen.
Educate your kids about dangerous appliances in the kitchen that could seriously harm them. You can implement certain rules here as well. Teach the kids how to use several appliances and the proper way of handling sharp objects. The best way to make them learn is by acting. Since kids mostly learn by watching what their parents are doing, it is suggested that you act to set a good example.
Education and skills go hand in hand. While your kid tries to learn cleaning the table, it is important that he/she understands and follows nutrition lessons as well. You are not helping your kids learn kitchen skills just so that they can munch on junk food every time.
For this reason alone, you need to educate them about nutrition and healthy foods. Sit them down and explain the benefits of every fruit and vegetable. Furthermore, explain to them, why some foods tend to be healthier than other foods. This will make their food-related decisions much clearer and healthy.
There is a reason kitchen skills are important and why every kid needs to learn them. When parents introduce their kids to the kitchen, they are opening an entirely new world for them. A world that will help them in multiple ways. For instance, you can line up some fruits and vegetables and ask them to count.
This will help improve their counting skills. Furthermore, have them read an instruction or a recipe book. This will help them improve their reading skills. Educate the kids about sequencing and why not following the directions can mess up their hard work.
In addition to that, kids also need to learn the manners and etiquettes of setting the table and clearing it after having meals. Teach them the responsibility of putting the dishes back into the kitchen and clearing the table of any stains or spills. Moreover, make them learn washing the dishes as well. Remember, to lead by example. If you do not, chances are that your kids will not follow the directions seriously.
Make it fun and creative
Where ever there is fun, there will be kids. So why not make the learning process both fun and creative. Do not make the learning process look like a tough everyday job. You can wear matching clothes and play games while cooking. Furthermore, be sure to laugh when your kid makes mistakes and tell them it is ok to make mistakes as everyone makes them, even you.
However, make sure that you do not make them feel embarrassed. Furthermore, let the kids bring in some imagination. Allow them to mix spaghetti with pineapple. Moreover, allow them to choose toppings of their choice. Kids tend to think out of the box without even them being aware of it. And, such things are meant to be respected and appreciated.
The best thing you get from making your kids help you in the kitchen is bonding. Studies say that families who eat together tend to be comparatively healthier and happier. While you and your kids are munching on dinner that was made with the help of your kids earlier during the day, you get to ask them about their experience and what would they like to do next. Ask your kid to present the dish he/she helped to make. This way, your kid will feel proud and accomplished. Motivating him/her to lend a helping hand the next time as well.
Give away some awards
Kids love surprises and gifts. If they are spending most of their time in the kitchen, why not present some gifts occasionally to keep them motivated and feel good about their hardwork. Take them out for a nice treat or a toy store to buy them something that they will remember. We understand that a trip to the toy store could result in a nervous breakdown but what you also need to understand is the fact that kids will always be kids.
They will most likely be attracted to toys more than anything else. Ofcourse, you will need to set some boundaries and limits but for the time being, it is just you rewarding them for showing interest and putting in work and effort to learn an important skill. Because, let’s face it, no kid wants to spend time doing something he/she does not love.
However, everything changes when rewards are attached. Do not worry about your kids expecting rewards now and then. Focus on what your kids are learning at the end of the day. That will surpass anything that you gift them in return.
Getting your kids to help in the kitchen can sometimes be a tough task. It all comes down to identifying what they love to do and then leading from there. Since kids happen to follow their parent’s every move, they will most likely end up in the kitchen as well. However, it now rests on you as to how you make it a fun yet learning process. Follow the tips outlined above to make your kids fall in love with the kitchen.