Do you ever have moments on the way home where you find yourself thinking (or
perhaps even saying out loud), “I wish that someone else could cook tonight.” And
then you think about the fact that your spouse will be home late (and really is better at
breakfast foods, anyway) and that the only time your kids step foot into the kitchen is to
eat (or get something to eat).
It’s for this reason alone, that if your children are of elementary school age, they are
definitely old enough to start learning the basics when it comes to cooking. Sure, they
may not be able to do any Thai food recipes any time soon, but with a bit of consistent
instruction and a lot of patience, some basic meals can be taught; meals that will be able
to give you at least a night off every once in a while.
If you’re looking for some great tips on how to teach your kids how to cook, here are
some really good ones that will have them begging to be in the kitchen for more reasons
other than rummaging through the fridge.
Get them excited about (preparing) food. Do you remember when
you first started teaching your kids how to eat? You tried different kinds until you figured
out which ones they liked and which ones they didn’t, right? When it comes to providing
your children with the motivation that they need to start cooking, it’s a good idea to follow
a similar formula. Ask them what kinds of food that they enjoy. If it’s Mexican, go with
some tacos. If it’s pizza, that’s pretty easy to make too. This brings us to the next point.
Start off easy. You don’t want to overwhelm them with lots of
reading and measuring, so start off with recipes that are really easy to make. Also,
remember that if they are under the fifth grade (which, on average, is around the age
of 10), that the less they are around the stove, the better off everyone, safety-wise, will
Be open to trial-and-error. If you’re serious about committing to
teaching your kids how to cook, this also means that you are serious in accepting the
fact that they are about to make a big mess and things will not turn out perfectly. That’s
OK so long as they are learning and more importantly, that they are enjoying doing it.
Let them make suggestions sometimes. As your kids get more
and more used to cooking, they will probably want to experiment a bit; especially if they
are older. Maybe they will want to make a kind of cake with some ingredients that make
absolutely no sense. Or, they may go online and want to try something really challenging
like a couple of Shahiya recipes. Look at it this way: At least they’re branching out! The point here is that they’re taking some initiative, which is a direct sign that they like learning how to cook and that is
definitely a good thing.
Have cooking contests. There’s nothing like documentation
of improvement. After a couple of months of hanging out in the kitchen, why not
recommend that everyone in the house partake in a cooking contest? Each person can
select a dish and someone else in the family can videotape them as they prepare it. At
the end, have each person taste each meal and give positive feedback on
how it was. This is an activity that’s fun for the whole family and it also keeps your kids
inspired to try even more things over time.