Cooking with your kids can be messy, time consuming or turn into one hell of a shouting match. But it can also be fun. Many times I have found myself (just like you) chasing my son away from the kitchen due to safety, my concentration or I don’t want to start dishing out chapatis before i’m done. However, kids love to watch us cook. They enjoy seeing the ingredients come together, the colours and even your time. So with this in mind, I was motivated to write these 7 reasons why mothers should be allowing them in the kitchen after all.
Cooking offers Educational Benefits: Maths, Science, Art name it
Cooking is a practical lesson of their school subjects. For instance maths. Children who are preschoolers practice counting by adding 2 tablespoons of sugar or cracking 3 eggs into the bowl. Those in primary school learn to multiply and divide different portions or to calculate ingredient amounts. The teens and the young adults learn how to follow directions as they read the ingredients, adding and how to serve well. The colours of the different foods are quite intriguing to their eyes, no wonder the popular phrase ‘feast for the eyes’. They also learn to name the different foods and spices which form part of their English or Swahili vocabulary.
Cooking develops their Self-Esteem
Children develop confidence as they learn new things or when they see the result of their hard work. The positive feedback they get from making the soft chapatis or the moist cupcakes is so uplifting. They also begin to understand the effort it takes to prepare a good meal. This also allows them to appreciate you more when you decide to cook for them anything because mum has really sacrificed. Don’t we all used to love mama’s cooking? Trust me, it’s the same with your kids.
Cooking builds important Life Skills
Sometimes as a parent, time is not on your side. Or probably the house-girl is on weekend break so your best choice is fast food (Chips na Kuku sama). Children that learn to cook from an early age will more likely cook meals at home and appreciate it even in their future. In fact, every parent must consider cooking as one of the life skills their children need for survival and encourage them to learn. You could use the time to teach health benefits of eating healthy. You can teach budgeting such as buying food cheaply from a market. You can influence them to develop a business idea such as cake baking. You could also teach good hygiene and table manners.
Cooking helps kids learn how to Pay Attention
Does your child have very little focus or careless with things? May be they need to join you in the kitchen. Cooking a good meal requires concentration, focus, following instructions and lastly good presentation. All of these different aspects require attention to detail. Children learn what happens if you add too much baking powder or water to a stew. This in turn helps them learn how things work and the importance of following instructions.
It is a great Family Bonding session
Most working mothers are hardly at home to cook for the family. This noble duty has been delegated to our house-girls ( Thank God for house-girls!) in most households. However, it’s such a great opportunity for some get-together time. Kids who cook with their parents are likely to open up, talk about their day, likes and dislikes, friends or life in general. It’s also a session that helps them to display their creativity while experimenting with the cutting or shaping and do amazing things together. I realised most mothers make cooking such a chore, yet it can be fun, full of play and laughter.
You pass on a culture of Healthy Living
You can use this time to educate what a well balanced meal is. Especially for children who hate vegetables or beans and other foods, it’s a wonderful opportunity. You can also teach portion control like use less sugar, salt , fat and adding natural spices. You can also train your children how to taste foods in their natural form. I often have my son asking for a carrot or tomato or beet root and you can tell them it’s good for their eyes because of vitamin A.
Cooking solidifies the Value of Family
Cooking meals with them passes on the message that they are important to you and you love them. They also learn family values of helping out on jobs such as cleaning, wiping the table or putting away items after they are done.
With these seven reasons in mind, I believe you’ll be more than happy to cook with your kids in the kitchen. Do not sabotage or restrict this important life skill by denying them the opportunity to participate or know how to cook. Most importantly, it is up to you to teach them how.