I’ll admit it. I sometimes wait until my little ones are either napping or at school so that I can make dinner like a normal person. Preparations are quick and easy and the cooking is done safely. But mess, danger and lots and lots of experimenting are what goes on when I’m cooking with kids.
It’s true that most parents are too busy to cook with their children but everyone must find a time to do it anyway, even if it’s only once a week. And I will absolutely not accept the excuse that kids make too much mess or it’s dangerous to give kids peelers or knives. They need to learn how to use kitchen tools eventually, wouldn’t it be best if they learn in the safety of their home with parents or caregivers to teach the child how to use the gadgets properly?
Learning how and what to cook is an essential life skill. Do you think most adults remember long division? Or every president or prime minister? Or the periodic table? But how many adults know how to cook healthy meals for themselves or their families? Teaching young people how to cook is imperative. Granting children admittance to the kitchen allows them to learn lifelong skills of healthy meal preparation.
You don’t need to be a super chef to teach a child how to make a healthy meal. Start with healthy ingredients, preferably that you choose together (broccoli, carrots, salmon and brown basmati rice for instance). Then discuss the plan (steamed broccoli and carrots, baked salmon with a thin spread of miso and lemon juice sauce, and rice with sauteed onions added). Then start cooking. Kids learn just by watching and doing, so let them get involved with whatever they’re interested. It could be mixing the sauce and spreading it on the salmon, or measuring the rice and water, or trimming the broccoli, or peeling the carrots. And finally it’s time to eat together. The added bonus of children helping in the kitchen is that usually they want to eat what they’ve helped to create.