Put away the computers, video games and TV and invite your children to the kitchen for a cooking lesson. After all, this is how most of us learned to cook by watching our mothers and grandmothers prepare a delicious meal. Sure it may take extra time in the beginning, but they will learn some valuable skills for the future. Follow these steps and your children will be cooking right along with you!
1. This step is very simple. Have your children watch you prepare a meal. They may already be in the kitchen during the meal making process doing homework, coloring or playing but a great way to start them off is to have them watch. Explain what you are doing as you are making the preparations. Try this a few times and they may learn some of the basics, as well as feel more comfortable in the kitchen.
2. Let them see that cooking is enjoyable and have some fun. Sing and dance around a little. Even after a long day at work, give it your best effort. Just think of the time well spent with your children.
3. Put aside an hour on the weekend to make a dessert or special snack together. Pick a time when you won't be rushed. Take the time to read over the recipe with your children and discuss what ingredients are needed. Make a big deal over the finished creation and how much they helped.
4. Try to start preparing dinner a bit earlier when the children are helping. Plan for some mistakes and don't get frustrated. Stay positive and let them know what a good job they are doing.
5. Start off small. Stirring, tossing or gathering ingredients may be enough for younger children. Older children can measure, chop vegetables or use kitchen appliances.
6. Discuss why certain ingredients are added such as yeast for rising or red pepper to make it spicy.
7. Remind yourself of fond memories in the kitchen with your loved ones. Do you have a favorite recipe that they showed you how to make? Think of this when helping your children. They have to start somewhere too.
8. Don't push them to do too much. It may take several weeks of one task before they are ready to move on to the next.
9. Pick a simple dish or dessert that they can make completely by themselves. This could be something as simple as a sandwich or an instant pudding.
10. Teach safety habits early and refer to them often as you cook.
Be patient as they learn. You may be a pro in the kitchen but children need lots of time. Just remember that someday you'll be able to sit back and relax while you new chef is thrilled to make dinner!
Mary Crowther is a writer and webmaster. To learn more about family traditions visit her successful website FavoriteTraditions.com and sign up for a free newsletter.