Raising children is a challenging experience. Everyone has a unique style of raising children.
One of the ways that work the best is ‘involvement’.
Involving children in your daily tasks either by explaining what you do or by making them help you, is a super-efficient way of raising kids that instils many qualities in them.
When children see their parents make food for them and enjoy the kitchen environment, they develop the urge to work in the kitchen.
Guided activities in the kitchen develop many sides of their personality; some of these activities are:
- Observation – At a younger age (8 months to 2 years) when a parent shows them activities like cutting, cooking, mixing, and kneading, it is fascinating for them, and they tend to ‘Observe’. Kids are keen learners, and their concentration improves. Good observation skills are preliminary for learning and development.
- Teamwork – Children working in a team is a good quality to learn at a young age. For instance, if the mother asks the child to peel the potatoes or arrange vegetables in the vegetable tray, the child will ask the mother questions at every step, and the two will work in coordination to complete the task.
- Knowledge – Child’s knowledge of ingredients improves when they learn practically. They also see the easy way of doing things in the kitchen.
- Fine Motor Skills – Holding things, passing something in the kitchen, tearing leaves or other food items, and dehulling pulses and seeds are activities that develop the fine motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination
- Ability to Question – Children learn to ask ‘why’ as they work in the kitchen with their parents, and this develops their reasoning skills.
- Leadership Skills – By imitating their parents in the kitchen, they learn to take charge and own the food that they are making. This develops the idea of ownership and good leadership skills.
- Time Management – When food needs to be prepared within a certain time frame, for instance, by lunchtime, children may see you hurry the process and stick to time deadlines. This teaches them the importance of time management.
- Special Bond – Working together in the kitchen can develop a lifelong bond between the child and the parent. These memories stay in young minds forever!
Starting from asking questions to the development of motor skills, these activities can instil in your child many values. How can you get your child engrossed in the kitchen activities? Here is a list of possible activities that you can indulge in with your child in the kitchen:
AGE 8-18 MONTHS :
- Recognising the fruits and vegetables and stacking them in their respective places in the kitchen.
- Peeling the potatoes and sweet potatoes.
- Shelling peas and cleaning green leafy vegetables.
- Naming the fruits, vegetables, flours, butter, sugar and other ingredients present in the kitchen.
- Mixing and stirring the flour or salads.
- Observing the step by step method of preparing food.
- Knowing the types of equipment used in the kitchen like the refrigerator, microwave, gas stove, induction, blender, water purifier, etc.
AGE 18 MONTHS TO 5 YEARS
- Cracking eggs.
- Cutting soft foods.
- Setting up the table.
- Cooking foods that do not involve the use of heat. Foods like salad, tossing cooked pasta with sauce, sandwichs, corn chaat, etc. can be made by children.
- Supervision of Time – Asking children to call the parent when there are a specific number of whistles on the cooker.
- Using different types of kitchen equipment like peeler, masher, blender under an adult’s supervision.
Apart from channelising the energy of children, kitchen activities keep them interested and develop an inquisitive approach. Children might even enjoy these activities and can go one to become chefs. This is one way you can explore the hidden talents of your kids.
The only thing to be careful about is safety. Measures have to be taken to ensure that kids are safe and do not harm themselves or others.
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