Connections with your children are about shared experiences
I have talked about empowering the love of learning in your children through daily interactions, as they learn through FUN and directly participating in what you are doing.
Today, let's have some fun in the kitchen – what are the benefits of involving your children in the kitchen?
Nowadays, parents are busy; you just want to get the cooking over and done with. Yes, I get you, the last thing we need is to get your children involved in the kitchen, because not only do you need to supervise them, but you may need to clean up the mess they are make, right?
Children love making mess, that's how they experiment and learn. They want to be involved and participate in what you are you doing, i.e. if you are washing dishes, they would love to be involved as well – they will get wet, they may break one or two dishes… To them, it is having fun with you, to do what you do and they love to be part of what you are doing.
However to you, it is "taking" up your time having to supervise, making sure they do not hurt themselves… especially when you can easily whip up the dishes in a few minutes; why would you want to spend hours supervising and cleaning up?
I get you!
However, I would really like to invite you to be open to getting your children in to the kitchen. Rather than allowing them to watch television or play with electronic gadgets while you prepare your meals, I would like you to invite them to spend some time with you in the kitchen.
They can help you with washing the vegetables, cutting them up (kids friendly and aged appropriate knives), setting the dinner table, reading out recipes for you, helping with kneading the dough, organising the pantry, stacking the dishwasher, cracking the eggs for cakes, searching for herbs in the pantry … there are so many things they can do.
It does not matter what they do, it is about involving and spending quality time with them.
You see, the whole aim of this exercise is not to get your children to do the work that you don't like, but it is an opportunity to spend some quality time with them. Have fun and create an opportunity to open up communication, while at the same time, empowering them with life skills such as how to clean the dishes, how to prepare raw ingredients for cooking, or organisational skills such as how to put the plates back into the cupboards.
However, most of all, it is an opportunity to share your cultural heritage with them, share the food that you grew up with, share your memories… tell them stories about your favourite dishes, who used to cooked them for you. Share with them their heritage, and talk about their relatives that they may not have had the opportunity to meet.
Nowadays we are so busy with our work, family commitments, school activities for the children etc.; we barely have time to communicate, let alone to connect with the family and to yourself.
However, do not allow the excuse of being ‘busy’ to avoid connectioning with your family and to yourself. Your priority as a parent is to build relationships with your family, and the currency to connections is the quality of the relationships you have with them.
We all have to eat everyday right? So why not use the time in the kitchen and create opportunities to spend some quality time with your children, to share and to create memories together.
Don't worry about the mess, it will be there every day; however, your children will grow up soon and the opportunity for communication and connections will be lessen as they grow. So make use of the opportunity and share your day and have fun with your children in your kitchen.
Talk and listen. Listen to the small things your children have to share with you right now, and create the path for the bigger issues that they will share with you in the future. Set the path of trust right now!
Have a fun day with your family – it all starts from the heart of the home – your KITCHEN!