Cooking to Build Confidence in Kids - Top 5 Tips For Parents

by Samantha on October 9, 2013



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child cooking

We all have to eat to live. It’s one of life’s basic realities. For us parents, we not only have to eat to live, but we have to cook for our kids as well. Considering the amount of time that most of us spend in the kitchen, wouldn’t it make sense to include our kids in the food preparation process? As a matter of fact, getting our kids into the kitchen would not only help us in terms of having a second set of hands in meal preparation, but it would help the children as well.

The skills acquired through cooking are ones that result in greater confidence and self-esteem for our kids. Just think about it: what child wouldn’t feel better about themselves after mastering a killer Beef Strogonoff or Oven Baked French Toast?

Cooking is a great way to build kids’ confidence as well as a practical method of getting meals prepared in the home. Here are some five ways that parents can use cooking to build confidence in their kids:

1) Let Them Choose - It all starts here. In order to get your child excited about the idea of cooking, get them involved at the get-go. Get a cookbook or go online and let them pick out a recipe or menu that appeals to them. Having them involved in the process from the outset will make them comfortable with the idea and will support their creative spirit. A great resource is FamilyKitchen.ca, where there are a variety of recipes that children can choose from. Sit down with your child and plan a meal - giving your child some control over the cooking process will build their confidence and motivation.

2) Give Them Age-Appropriate Tasks - A measured approach is always best and giving kids tasks that they can master will go a long way in allowing them to achieve success. Depending on a child’s age and level of skill, there are many options for them to do in the kitchen. Activities can range from the simple, such as pouring, mixing or stirring, to the more advanced, such as chopping, shredding or even grilling. It’s all dependent on the child’s level of ability and comfort. As kids continue cooking with their parents, they quickly advance to more advanced tasks, allowing them to feel both confident and inspired.

3) Give Them Their Own Set of Cooking Tools - There’s nothing like ownership to get a child motivated and excited. This includes cooking tools of their very own; after all - what chef doesn’t own their own tools of the trade?  Depending on their age, some things to get your child started on their cooking journey could include a cheese grater, a peeler, a spatula, mixing spoons, a vegetable scrubber and a rolling pin. And don’t forget their own mini-apron!

4) Let Them Get Creative  - Kids love to express themselves and this is no more true than in the kitchen. Let your burgeoning chef release their inner Julia Child by supporting their ideas for recipe experimentation. This could be as simple as adding an extra spice to a simple dish, or for more advanced chefs, substituting ingredients. Let your child take the reins on cooking and watch them flourish. Remember: most recipes are made to be altered and can come out well even with some changes made. Your child may have a great idea about how to add some flavour and flair to a particular dish; why stand on ceremony and say “no?” Let them have their way (within reason) and watch your children’s inner chef appear.

5) Be Their Partner - Together you can do this. Your support means the world to them, mom and dad. Be your child’s sous chef, their food supplier and their cheering team. Let them know that you’re there to help them become the best cook that they can be, and that you believe in their abilities to excel at whatever dish they choose to tackle. Just knowing that you’re behind them all the way and supporting their growth will do wonders in growing their abilities and their confidence.

For more information on how to cook with your child, as well as easy-to-follow and delicious recipes, go to www.familykitchen.ca

VIDEO: Cooking With Kids

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Image courtesy of http://www.chicagonow.com/

 



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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ashley Wells December 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm

It’s probably one of the hardest things we have to do as parents of children with special needs: assist their growth and exploration.

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