KIDS IN THE KITCHEN
Children should learn how to cook. It’s a basic life skill that will hold them in good stead for the future: it’s a confidence booster, lets them be independent and enhances their creativity, among other things. In other words, it helps in their socio-economic development, boosts their motor skills and encourages cognitive and language development.
Yes, we agree, sometimes it can be a chore. Watching your three-year-old put her sticky, chocolate-coated fingers on the wall as she helps you mix icing? Or the jar of salt spilled into the curry, when spooning in a teaspoon? Little fingers getting too close to a hot bowl or sharp knives? And cleaning up the mess after the task is done? Yes, we know that getting your children to cook might end up taking a lot more kitchen-time than it actually should. But there are several good reasons why you should persevere, with all the safety parameters in place of course! And with most kids home now, with online classes, there’s no better time to get them started!
Children learn by using their senses: It’s all about touch, feel, taste, smell and sight for children. And what better way for them to engage their senses than when cooking? From the sizzle of onions frying in ghee to the sharp smell of garlic, cooking helps the children engage all their senses and keeps them interested and focused!
Improves language, math, motor & reading skills: Cooking helps your child learn about various measurements, adding, subtracting and even fractions! Reading recipes out to you can help enhance their reading abilities. They can also pick up new words from the ingredients and instructions that will add to their vocabulary. Rolling dough, cutting cookie shapes and vegetables, stirring ingredients together – all these activities help develop motor skills.
Promotes healthy eating: This is a great way to encourage your child to eat healthy. You can tell them how carrots are rich in Vitamin A, which helps boost eyesight. Why five a day is good for you. When you make a whole-wheat pizza base, they will understand why refined flour isn’t good for health. Or why jaggery is used in place of white sugar when baking a cake. This will allow them to make healthy food-related decisions. And when they cook new things at home, they may be encouraged to eat them as well, which helps in broadening their tastes!
It’s all about self-confidence: When your child cooks something on their own, it’s a matter of pride for them and gives them a sense of accomplishment. As they cook more, they get more independent, which boosts their self-confidence. When they see a dish at a restaurant that they like, their attitude will be one of ‘I can make this’, which boosts their overall sense of self-worth.
Family time: Cooking with your child is a great way to encourage family time. Spend some time with them, looking for that recipe to try. Help them find the ingredients. Then get down to cooking!
The idea is to make it as stress-free as possible and have fun. And let them enjoy and learn in the process!