Cooking with your kids is an excellent way to spend time with them productively and get a great meal at the end of it. Apart from learning the techniques, they also learn a horde of useful lessons like problem solving, creativity and improvisation. Cooking is, after all, an important life skill.
Why should you teach your kids to cook?
Teaching kids to eat well and choose healthy foods can be a tricky task. It is a good idea to inculcate good eating habits before they pick up unhealthy habits. Kids need to know that everything that they consume has an effect on their body. Parents can explain this to their kids while cooking. This dialogue can include why eating right matters and how kids can learn to make healthier choices. Cooking and helping in the kitchen can be a great way to teach your kids about nutrition and health.
No matter the age, there’s always something that they can lend a hand to, in the kitchen. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you involve them in your kitchen adventures:
Set the mood right
While having a little one in the kitchen can be a frightening prospect, don’t let the nerves spill over to them. If they sense that you're not relaxed, it will make them nervous too. Supervise them closely and be aware of hazards, but keep an upbeat voice and smiling eyes so they feel at ease.
Share the power
Kids will take their time in the kitchen a lot more seriously if they’re made a part of the process. This means that they get a say in the menu. While they’ll jump at the idea of baking cookies, you need to negotiate with them and strike a deal on alternating the cookies with healthy food like salads or smoothies, during the next session.
Illustrate eating right
Eating a balanced meal means that kids should learn to fill half their plate with fruits and veggies that contain essential nutrients that help their bodies grow. While the other half should contain whole grains and lean protein that provides the body with energy. This is a good chance to show your kids how our ghar ka khana and the Indian thali are complete meals. As kids learn to follow this ideology while cooking and serving themselves or even shopping for groceries, they can learn the key food groups and their importance.
Stick to the lingo
Kids soak up new words and languages faster than anyone. Use the right terminology while cooking. Teach them words like tadka, Baghar, Bhuno, Dum, grill, boil, tandoor, and sauté as you demonstrate. Mastering a new lexicon is part of skill-building and there’s no better way to learn than when it’s done practically.
Sprinkle some rich knowledge
Every cooking session is an opportunity to learn about culture, family history, nutrition, food politics, and hunger. Depending on their age, you should talk about broader topics regarding food without heavy-handed moralising. You're not just educating a future cook; you're influencing a lifelong eater.
Support the failures
Encourage them to enjoy the lessons from their failure and keep trying new things. The deflated cupcake, lip-puckering salad dressing, or pancake flopped on the floor is a gift of new knowledge, so keep their spirits up no matter the outcome.
Taking your child under your wing in the kitchen is not about the creation of restaurant-quality dishes but boosting their self-esteem and encouraging their flourishing independence. As many people turn to take out, packaged food and readymade meals when they start living alone, teaching your kids to cook is a great way to ensure the independence. It is also an efficient medium to teach them about Indian food traditions and share the wisdom behind our food staples and choices. If, at the end of your lessons, you've got a happy kid who's excited to spend time in the kitchen, you've done your job, and done it well.
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