We as parents do a lot for our kids. Sometimes it seems as though 90% of our energy is just keeping them alive, feeding, clothing, kissing their boo boos and getting them to sleep. The remaining percent we try to put toward being good parents, consistent discipline, goals for their future, helping them learn… No one can ever honestly say that parenting is easy.
What I love most about teaching my kids to cook isn’t actually what we talked about in the last post, regardless of how much it will prepare them to be independent and healthy adults. I really love that I can keep them alive while being a good parent at the same time. Check out all the amazing benefits of kids who are getting in the kitchen at a young age:
1. Increased self-esteem
When kids feel like they are doing something authentic to help the family, a real adult job, there is no need for us to tell them, “Good job!” They just know it, and you can see it in their faces.
2. Greater confidence
In our world, we know that kids sometimes have trouble feeling confident in themselves. Again, making food and watching other people eat it joyfully is priceless, an experience that cannot be matched. The kids easily extrapolate that confidence on to other areas of life, feeling like they really can accomplish big things.
“I truly cannot think of anything more important than learning how to cook when you are young.”
3. A spirit of Adventure
I want my kids to know that they can try new things, to be bold and creative in their problem-solving and decision-making, and when we try new recipes, whether they fail or succeed, they get that practice. And it’s an opportunity that I often miss with them in other areas of life, but in the kitchen, there’s always something new to try.
Wish your kids would try new foods more often… or at all? Here’s a presentation from me about Raising Adventurous Eaters, with 7 hot tips (plus a few extras) to get your kids to eat healthier foods without power struggles.
4. An attitude of service
I definitely want my kids to be naturally philanthropic, to be servant-minded and want to give to others, both in their family and in the outside world. Sometimes we parents can feel a lot of pressure to volunteer with our kids, but dredging up the hours to sign up for something with them is a Herculean task at times. When we are cooking, we know we are making food for others. I actually like to encourage kids to prepare food that they themselves do not prefer, just so they can practice the art of giving to others. It doesn’t have to be a special scheduled volunteer opportunity. It can just be dinner. (Which you have to make anyway, I might add, bonus!)
5. Hope for the Future
People can say what they may about the young generation, but I’m pretty sure every time a new crop of young people comes up, the older ones think the world is becoming a disaster. My hope for the future is that we can get the pendulum to swing back from convenience food and fast food to the healthy food that we know is good for us. The fact that the young generation seems to be a bit rebellious, educated, and for the most part focused on health, gives me great hope.
If we can teach them to cook, we are leaps and bounds ahead in our quest to continue civilization as we know it.
So let’s get started! Join us for the My Kid Made This challenge with Plan to Eat and Kids Cook Real Food (see below), and let’s get those kids in the kitchen!
Katie Kimball is a mom of 4 with the heart of a teacher, and her healthy cooking class for kids, Kids Cook Real Food, reaches over 6,500 members. She loves 85% dark chocolate and makes impulse vegetable purchases often, then discovers what to do with said mystery veggie.
Let’s have a little fun!
To motivate us parents and celebrate a month of welcoming our kids into the kitchen, Katie has put together 9 easy-to-make recipes that are available through your Plan to Eat account. Make any one of these recipes with your child, post it to our photo contest below, and you could win our $259 prize package!
Let’s get our kids into the kitchen and teach the next generation to appreciate healthy food! And as always, if you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.