Encouraging Culinary Skills in Children

Cooking became a gender hot topic in the 90’s when the world was slowly starting to talk about gender roles. However, cooking is a survival skill, regardless of gender. One day, most of us will live on our own and will have to cook in some sort of way to eat. Yes, there are countless fast food joints and restaurants out there but there is nothing to beat a home cooked meal, which will be much healthier than something smothered in fat and oils.

Culinary Skills

Like all skills, some will be good at it and some won’t. Some will love it while others will see it as a chore. In order to teach children that cooking is not a drag but something fun, you will need to do the few things listed below:

Model Cooking

Children learn by watching their parents and if you make it seem like a chore, they will absorb the message that cooking is not fun. This does not mean you have to smile through your tears all the time, especially if you don’t like cooking yourself. It means not complaining out loud when you cook, not pinning the blame on someone else and definitely not cooking for the sake of cooking, especially if they are watching. Children observe things very keenly so if you are constantly in a foul mood when it comes to cooking, they will associate the two and start hating cooking too.

Get Them Involved

Let them help you from the time they are small. Don’t differentiate between boys and girls; get everyone involved as soon as they are old enough to stand on their own and hold a spoon. If the extra mess puts you off, maybe do it every now and then instead of all the time. Teach them how to knead dough, or mix something together, since that is something even their chubby toddler hands can do. Once they are older – like 6 or 7 – show them how to crack an egg, how to whisk something properly and how to make something simple like pancakes. Impress upon them the rules about cooking: never turn on the stove without adult supervision, never cook with dirty hands etc. and they will follow them till the end.

Culinary Skills

Help Them Experiment

It can be great to pass down family recipes but don’t forget that children learn through experimentation too. They are best at it when they are young and unfettered by worldly expectations. Instead of warning them off it, help them experiment; don’t criticize when they get something wrong, instead help them put it right. The way you support them and help them recover from a disaster can be instrumental in the way they view cooking in the future.

Let’s not forget, cooking can also be an intimate moment between you and your child, helping to bring you closer.

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