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Cooking Up An Independent Child: Why We Need To Teach Our Kids About The Kitchen

When it comes to raising independent children, it’s important that we school them in the most basic of skills. This means, ensuring they help us around the house, whether it’s washing up the dishes, doing some cleaning, or cooking. Cooking is one of those all-important skills that every child should know.  If your child has the ability to rustle up a quick meal, in case there are problems with you getting home, it means they will never starve. So why is cooking an important skill, and what can you do to encourage it in your children?

The Benefits Of Cooking

Yes, cooking is very messy pursuit, and many parents might take the view that their children will make “too much” of a mess, but this isn’t the way to get kids into cooking, because they will associate it with negativity, and naturally stay away from the kitchen area. Instead, there so many positives cooking can instill in our children, not just in terms of the relationship aspects we can have with our kids. For example, the fact that we are working together to make a meal, this requires constant communication. Not only this, but it encourages mutual respect, not to mention team skills, which benefits everybody in life. And for very young kids, it encourages movement and coordination but also being able to identify ingredients by sight. If you’ve got a toddler, you can take them around the supermarket and identify individual items with them that you will turn into a meal. The great thing about cooking, even if we learn nothing else from Ratatouille, is that it’s one of the greatest ways to be creative. If you want a child that is constantly thinking beyond the norm, and is naturally inquisitive, getting them involved in cooking as soon as possible is essential.

Getting Started

To begin with, you need to have a workable space. You may have moved into a new home, and you are getting yourself acquainted with the kitchen. On the other hand, if you are dedicated to the idea of getting your kids involved right away, you need enough of a workable and practical space. A lot of modern kitchens allow for a lot of space, not to mention items like the breakfast bar, which is a perfect place for your child to do the smaller cooking tasks. So if you are intent on instilling a lifetime skill for your kids, you may want to think about redesigning the kitchen area. Sites like www.worldstonegroup.com provide granite countertops, which is a very popular option right now. But there are numerous options for you according to your budget. But it’s important to remember, if you are going to cook with your kids, you need a lot of space! This cannot be underestimated, not just so you have the room, but also, so you can do everything safely. Safety in the kitchen is paramount, especially with the hot oven, as well as the stove- we’ve all seen that picture of Pink cooking with her kids, and it’s a lesson we can all learn.

Keep at It

When starting them out, the important thing is to keep at it. It’s inevitable that mistakes will be made, but over time, the lines of communication will become better, and you and your child will operate with a shorthand. To begin with, the best way forward is to give them the smaller, and safer, duties. But also make the task as fun as possible. Something like making bread can be easily made more interesting by cutting out shapes and making designs, and so forth. But remember, it’s not just about the cooking together; it’s about eating together too. Use this as an opportunity to spend as much time together as possible, making memories. It’s very difficult in the modern world when we are being stretched to our limits. Eating the thing you both made together isn’t just a way for you to spend some quality time, but the fact is, your child has invested their time and effort into this thing, which is a great opportunity for you to sneak vegetables or anything healthy into the meal. It’s a very difficult situation to navigate, but if your child is younger, vegetables of various colors will be one of those ways to stimulate the senses. And remember the more variety of colors, the more vitamins they have.

Building On Their Skills

Once you’ve got them confident in the basics, it’s now time to let them do a few more things by themselves. If they well and truly have the cooking bug by now, you can encourage them to think about the food they want to make. Ask them to pick a meal they want to cook, and there are infinite ones online, even on www.netmums.com there are quick meals that don’t have too many ingredients. And it’s at this point where you have to naturally let them take over. Of course, it’s great for you, because you get to sit back and let your child make you a meal! But your children need adult supervision, and by teaching them the very basics, and letting their creativity flow, they can make a few simple meals in one pot if they are at home by themselves. Teenagers rely a lot on microwave meals, but by the time they get to college, they don’t have the skills in which to make a simple pasta dish, and so they end up wasting money on microwavable meals. Not only is it a great way to save money, but by cooking at home, you are building that bond with your child. And, as far as the basic, self-sufficient skills are concerned in life, cooking should be one of the essentials.

No matter how young they are, it’s never too early to get them involved in cooking.  It can do so much for them, not just in terms of the meals they make, but their cognitive development, their relationship with you, and also, the fact that it’s a skill that encourages independence and self-development. When you were younger, maybe your mom chased you out of the kitchen, but if your child has the initiative to make their own meals, this will benefit them greatly in life.


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