The Whole Family Gets Into It…

Fun in the KitchenThe kitchen is a great place for parents and children to spend time and enjoy working together. Preparing meals is also a great teaching tool for kids to learn about the value of good food. Many of the tasks, like kneading, mixing and stirring, can easily be learned at a young age.

As parents you need to be patient and not expect too much from your youngsters at first. Be ready for a few accidents along the way. Messy work spaces and spills can be cleaned up easily and need not be fussed over. Always maintain a good attitude, keep encouraging your kids’ creativity and applaud them for their efforts.

The Kitchen Is a Great Place
To Spend Time Together

Before you get to work, make sure that everybody has clean hands before and after handling food. Be extremely careful with knives and other sharp objects. Your little ones may not be ready to handle some of your kitchen tools. Hot and boiling water must stay out of reach or be approached only under strict supervision.

Children of different ages aren’t necessarily ready to do everything together. Younger kids may want to join in with their older siblings but may not be able to do so safely. While the older ones can be trusted with more complex assignments, toddlers can help set the table or garnish and arrange plates. What matters more is that no one feels left out or not appreciated. Most importantly, the experience should always be fun, not a dreaded chore.

Of course, the holidays are a great time to get your kids involved in all the cooking- and baking activities. Pumpkin carving for Halloween, Thanksgiving dinner with the extended family, Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa celebrations offer countless opportunities to work together on festive meals and special treats.

How kids feel about home cooking depends largely on your own attitude as a parent and role model. If you yourself enjoy preparing tasty meals and value the benefits of healthful eating, your children will likely develop similar sentiments. If making lunch and dinner is just a drag for you that you would rather not bother with, you will make everyone else in your family feel that way as well.

Keep in mind that letting your kids participate in food preparations is a good investment in their nutritional health, not only when they are young but hopefully for the rest of their lives. Our eating habits and food preferences develop usually early in life and childhood memories stay with us long after we’ve grown up. Having been exposed to food in positive ways from early on can help lay a good foundation for lifelong healthy eating habits.

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