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WHY KIDS SHOULD BE RIGHT ALONGSIDE YOU IN THE KITCHEN

Kids_in_a_row_for_Publicity (2) - Around you in the kitchen

There are so many reasons here, but speaking as a mom of 3 daughters, two reasons are
always at the top of my list. First, getting kids involved in the kitchen and teaching them
how to cook is a basic life skill that kids need. Just as important as teaching them how to
read and do math problems, teaching kids how to cook will teach them the skills needed
to help fuel their bodies to promote healthy living throughout life. Another big reason
teaching kids how to cook is to promote family bonding and make memories that last.
Spending time in the kitchen, reading through recipes, measuring, cutting, stirring,
tasting, quickly turns into laughing, giggling, sharing stories from the day, solving
problems and making decisions. And of course, there are always dirty dishes to clean,
and spills to wipe up, but it’s always been worth it to me. One mom I just met said, “I
made pancakes with my son this morning and there was batter everywhere!”

And as long as a responsible adult supervises them, you can get kids started in the
kitchen as young as 3 years old. That’s when I started with my 3 daughters in the kitchen
with the very easiest and safest jobs. Giving kids a safe place to stand or sit in the
kitchen is vital. They just love to watch and emulate mommy and daddy and they will
want to tackle any task you allow them to try. Kids love to mix ingredients together at
this age and get big happy grins just stirring and stirring (as long as the ingredients are
not hot). Offer them kitchen tools that are comfortable to hold like wooden spoons and
rubber spatulas. Kids love to cook all the way through a recipe by the age of 7 or 8, and
they are able especially equipped because they know how to read and follow
instructions. You can give them actual steps to help complete the recipe and will be
ready to use small knives if you guide them through. This age also loves if you ask them
to help plan weekly family menu ideas too. By age 12 – 14 it’s time for their assigned
night to cook for the family during the week. Picking a quick, fast recipe is best so they
can feel successful, and the added responsibility won’t get in the way of homework. You
can foster their love by sharing recipes that are important to you. My daughters love
their great- great-grandmother’s persimmon pudding recipe. It’s great to hand down
these recipes from generation to generation and fun for the kids, too! So have fun in the
kitchen with the kids tonight!

posted by Francisco in Family Life and have Comments Off

Are you getting your kids in the kitchen for only one reason……..to eat a meal?  What better way to get them connected to the fun, creative, and learning aspects of food than giving them their very own space in the kitchen!  As parents, we give kids their own space for toys and clothing in their bedroom, and many kids have additional space in the family room to store their video games and books.  But just as important and valuable for life-long learning and health is to give kids their very own kitchen space to store their very own kitchen gadgets, utensils, and doodads.  Be careful not to think of it as another “junk drawer”, but a place where kids can begin a collection of tools, then learn how to use them right alongside you in the kitchen. The fun and learning continues as you find new kitchen tools at the grocery store, kitchen store, and even consignment shops or garage sales.  Kids will be excited and the next step will naturally be learning how to prepare and cook food.

posted by Ben in Family Life,Meal ideas and have Comments Off

Family Togetherness – Quirky Questions for the Dinner Table

The meal at the end of the day is a great time for families to re-connect and make family memories that last.  Relaxing around the table, visiting and enjoying a delicious meal is something the generations before us enjoyed and spent an enormous amount of time doing so.  Families today have many conflicting schedules and tasks to be completed that many are unable to connect at the end of the day and have those nightly sit-down meals.  So on those nights when everyone is at the dinner table, take advantage of the togetherness while teaching kids the art of how to have a conversation.

The perfect opportunity to improve social skills

The art of conversation is where everyone gets to chime in and share their story.  In addition, it is the perfect opportunity for children to improve their social skills, practice how to speak in turn and focus on the person that is talking, and even expand their vocabulary.  The skill sets of conversation are often taught in school curriculum and can be a great life lesson for parents to reinforce at home at the dinner table. As parents, we all agree that our children are the light of our lives, but dinner conversations should be about more than just the happenings in our children’s daily experiences.  Kids can learn so much listening to parents sharing the fun and challenging events of their work day, and in return kids can share the fun and challenging events of their school day.

It’s important that kids learns how conversations can be fun.

Asking the questions can be as easy as going around the table and everyone gets to ask someone a question.  Another idea is to have each member of the family put ten questions in a container that will be used as the dinner table each night, or even purchase some fun conversation starter games geared toward kids.  As the weeks go by, you will see the conversations gets longer and more and more fun and quirky.  But no need to purposefully keep the conversation light and humorous at all times.

Every discussion can be positive.

Sometimes the conversation can get serious (about a child’s struggles with classwork or a friendship, or a parent changing jobs), and sometimes sad (about the illness or loss of a loved one).  More important than the nourishing, delicious meal that is served is the conversation that goes round and round the dinner table night after night.  After all, this is just what the dinner table was created for, and what the generations before us knew how to do so well; that having a great meal along with great conversation is the foundation for developing strong family relationships and friendships.

Here are a few quirky questions tonight to keep the conversation fun and non-stop :

  • · What was the funniest thing that happened at school/work today?
  • · What Superhero would you want to be?
  • · If you got to change your first name what would it be and why?
  • · Make a sound that represents a Jungle Animal.
  • · What was the neatest act of kindness you saw today?
  • · What was the most interesting thing you learned in school today?
  • · If you could be any color crayon, what would it be?
  • · If you had to eat one food the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
posted by Ben in Family Life and have Comments Off