Whether you enjoy cooking or are simply making sure your family gets the nourishment they need, preparing meals is an essential aspect of being a parent. In most cases, this chore would only be an adult’s sole responsibility. But if we start involving children in meal preparations, it makes things even more interesting. We impart delicious recipes and strengthen our bonds with them; it also serves as a platform to inculcate vital life skills and values they would need later on in life.
More importantly, this is the perfect time to allow children to experiment and explore new things since it is simpler to instill skills, provide essential learning, and mold their developing minds at this period.
Building fundamental skills
Before anything else, they must become aware and familiar with the preparation area. It is not recommended that children play in the kitchen without parental supervision since it contains potentially dangerous items, such as knives, hot surfaces, and flammable items. Instead, introduce them to the kitchen and let them know how to be mindful of their area and how negligence could harm themselves and others.
Parents should also give age-appropriate chores to their children and supervise — rather than micromanage — their performance. For example, you may assist your youngster in improving their fundamental skills and abilities by counting the vegetables or identifying the colors of the fruits. You can also let them lead by asking them what process they should do next and see how they are doing with their focus and listening skills. Reading a recipe together will also promote literacy as you introduce them to terms they can add to their vocabulary.
It stimulates a palette of adventure.
Children are infamously known to be picky eaters, but letting them participate in the kitchen may encourage them to explore new flavors. For example, if your six-year-old son pretends to be a chef, he would have to taste meals that he would not have tried if you had just presented them to him. So, encourage children to try new foods you’re experimenting with and talk about what they appreciate about what they prepared. You can also take this opportunity to tell them how nutritious meals help their bodies and mind grow.
It encourages children to experiment with their senses.
Children learn best when they can explore with their senses, and your kitchen is an excellent location to do so. Engage children in the baking process by allowing them to pay attention to the blender, pound the dough and then see it rise, enjoy the aroma as the scent floods the kitchen, and ultimately enjoy the warm bread straight from the oven. If it smells terrific, looks appetizing, is simple to prepare, and tastes like heaven, they may even be inclined to give it a try.
It boosts their self-esteem.
Toddlers thrive on the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and performance in the kitchen, so offer them the chance to feel proud of themselves. For example, if they assisted in assembling the table or even putting cheese on the spaghetti, let them know that their assistance was greatly appreciated. You may even give them credit for the dish you made by naming it after your child. Even if the outcomes are not precisely what you had hoped for, make sure you acknowledge and appreciate their efforts.
It teaches them patience and appreciation.
The preparation of delicious foods is frequently long and hasty. Planning your meals is the supreme test of patience and a real prize for a day spent making one. If children understand the steps to design the food on their plate, they will place a higher value on it. Make a trip to the store with them to know how and where creating a meal begins.
Guide them on how to get the finest and healthiest ingredients available on the market. Provide them with ideas and suggestions for locating high-quality goods. Then, help them sort through the supplies. Prepare the necessary materials and essential items on your sturdy countertop’s clean surface to help you sort them out and get ready to prepare the dish.
From thoroughly cleaning everything to eliminating grime and bacteria, meticulously slicing the ingredients into similar-sized pieces, and knowing the right moment to pour in specific ingredients and spices — each step should be taken with extra care. This incorporates the notion that it pays to be patient, as things turn out better when given time.
It doesn’t only apply to children but to parents as well. Do not assume that they’d know everything almost immediately. They would eventually commit mistakes — and that’s okay, as messing up from time to time is also a part of life. Keep calm and teach them to treat these errors as a learning opportunity to try again and succeed later on.