Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ways to Encourage Your Children to Cook!

Helping your children take an interest in cooking and baking is a good thing.  Not only will they learn an important lifelong lesson of being self-reliant when it comes to meal preparation, but you can help teach them some other valuable lessons as well.

Cooking and baking require measuring.  Sometimes, you need to adjust recipes and work with fractions, which is a great way to sharpen their mathematic skills.

Learning to cook and bake can build confidence when your child masters, perhaps, a favorite recipe.  Praise that acquired new skill and watch that child exceeding beyond your expectations as he or she wants to make something more complicated or learn more.  You might even have a budding chef in your midst. 

Do not criticize only suggest when a mistake is made, otherwise, you will discourage them from wanting to continue.  Everyone makes mistakes so just be patient with the extra dishes, tasting spoons, or the coating of flour now on your floor or any accidental spills!  This is a valuable lesson for you in gaining patience just as much as it is for your child.

Teaching your child to cook and bake can be a fun activity for both mother and child, especially if you start out making the child's favorite recipe together, side by side as a team.  Read the recipe together and walk your child through each step of the process.  Don't assume that just because you understand how to read a recipe that a non-cook does.  Ask your child if he or she understands and has any questions about the instructions.

For example, your child may ask how long does it take to cook potatoes before you can mash them.  You may reply twenty minutes is about right.  However, you may fail to provide that little detail about stabbing them first to test if they are soft enough because it comes naturally to you. Trust me, but mashing semi-cooked potatoes is like serving up a plate of glue that even dogs will refuse to eat.  I know because I forgot this little detail once.

Another important lesson is helping them appreciate the loving efforts that go into cooking and baking for your family.  A person only understands another person's situation is if they personally experience it.   Cooking and baking will develop their compassion and understanding for you and later a spouse.

Take your children grocery shopping with you.  Show them the fresh fruit and vegetables and give them lessons in proper selection.  Help them learn to read the ingredients on the back of jars and boxes of what is healthy and what is not is.  This serves as a wonderful introduction into nutrition and healthy eating. 

Finally, you can help them understand cost and comparison, which is another vital lesson to be had when you compare one product at the grocery store over another.  This is the perfect way to teach children the value of a dollar.

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