As the saying goes, cooking time is bonding time. Cooking with kidsis a momentous way to teach them decision making skills and taking responsibility for their choices. Cooking also helps them develop a sense of accomplishment and practice language and math skills. It also gives them pride and opportunity to share their creations with others. Other kids may shrug off the idea of a cook-off but most kids embrace the idea of cooking and learning alongside a parent. For parents, every second counts when it comes to bonding with the kids but how do we maximize bonding during cooking? Read on.
1. Plan ahead. Choose a time when you all will be relaxed and free from other distractions. A tired child can be cranky and impatient and hard to teach. A relaxed pace is conducive to a child who’s a cooking beginner.
2. Organize. Read the entire recipe or let your child read it. Then gather all the ingredients called for in the recipe including the kitchen utensils to be used. That way the whole cooking process is systematic thus minimizing haste and panic.
3. Better be safe. Parents should be the ones handling sharp utensils, electric appliances, the stove and other dangerously hot items to prevent accidents. Teach your children safety cooking around hot ovens and stoves. Just to be sure, when handling hot pots, let your child stand or sit in a safe distance to prevent unwanted mishaps that could spoil the moment. Cooking time is a great time for parents to teach their children safety cooking measures. Cooking is a lovely idea and it should remain that way.
4. Play amusing cooking games. Playing cooking games will get children more interested in cooking. A few examples of cooking games that children will surely enjoy are:
• Pass the What?
This game inspires kids to improve their vocabulary. Place all the food in serving dishes at the center of the table. When children want a particular food on his plate, he must ask for it. The twist is, rather than giving the name of his choice of food, he must give a description. Instead of uttering, “May I have some of those mashed potatoes,” kids should say something like, “May I have some of those white balls of fluff that tastes great with gravy.”
• Cooking Reality Show
Most of the kids are familiar with this game think Junior Masterchef. Let dad choose a secret main ingredient that should be used in everyone’s dish. Let the kids unleash their creativity while the adults serve as judges at the end of the cook off.
• Themed Dinner
A themed dinner is always a great way to break the meal routines. The kids should decide what certain foods they want for dinner but it has to coincide with the theme. Everyone should take roles that go with the theme, even wearing foreign costumes and act them out while cooking and eating the meal. Preparing a foreign meal encourages kids to try food from different cultures and to appreciate other cultures as well.
• Pizza Art
Pretend that you are all talented Italian artists out to create great works of art. Distribute among the participants personal-sized pizza and an array of healthy pizza toppings. To keep the game moving and more fun, set a time limit. A maximum of 30 minutes will do. Encourage the kids to be creative and original by using their pizza toppings to create amazing art. After the time is up, bake the personalized pizzas and eat them together, but not until everyone decides on a winner. The most creative pizza designer wins.
5. Clean up. When you’re cooking with kids, it’s impossible to expect a mess-free kitchen afterwards. This is also the time to teach your kids the value of cleanliness. Tell them that a good chef always cleans up. The cleaning up part of is unappealing to most people especially the kids, but it is an essential part of the cooking process. Teaching your child the good points of cleanliness instills a sense of responsibility. Prepare a huge bowl or trash to collect all of the food wastes and trash as you cook. Teach your child to dump the bowl/trash bag at the end of the cooking session. And end the cooking session with proper hand washing.
Learning to cook can be a wonderful experience for your kids. And it also brings you closer to them while growing up. They can always look back on those times with fondness. Because memories are worth making, make cooking a regular bonding activity.