Kids need an example in order to learn, and as they are like sponges when they’re little, it’s very wise to try to inoculate all the principles you want them to have from an early age. Even when it comes to trivial matters, like cooking, a successful early start is a big deal and may change the way they see things. You cannot convince them that food is important if you constantly feed them junk food, nor that greens are important if they never have them on their plates. So, try to apply these rules in order to teach your children that the kitchen is a fun territory which can offer great achievements.
1. While they’re babies, take the kids with you in the kitchen. As this room is full of noises, let the newborn get used to the sound of running water, of the oven, the fridge or dishwasher. Yeah, he may smell a bit of food at the end of the day, but as long as he sits in his bouncer or stroller near you he’ll be happy. And he’ll get accustomed to this place of sounds and smells.
2. Tell toddlers everything you do, explain them the processes in the kitchen step by step. For a toddler it will be fun to have all his “why” questions answered while attending the miracle of transforming groceries into food that looks so appetizing and smells so delicious. Tell him step by step everything you do and he’ll associate the kitchen with great stories. And maybe with some magic, too.
3. You have kids that go to school? Awesome, it’s time to show them how to use the kitchen utensils. This is the perfect moment to show your school kid how the oven works, how can he heat water, what’s the microwave for and why using the dishwasher is many times more sustainable than doing the dishes old school. Let him chop carrots, stir in the pan and play with the batter, and he’ll see for himself that being in the kitchen is really great.
4. Preteens? They are more difficult to handle no matter the problem, but worry not if they seem to lose interest in the kitchen during this stage of their lives. If you have a preteen on your hands who refuses to get involved in the kitchen from a point on, don’t worry and let him make the first step. Encourage him softly, without making him feel pushed and he’ll come back to his old habits when he feels like it.
5. Adolescents? Cool! If you have a teenager on your hands is time to sit back and relax as he’ll probably feel the need to show off. He’ll look for praise, and even if you offer him recognition regarding his kitchen skills, don’t skip an honest feedback either. Encourage him to join you in the kitchen, but also to get creative on his own and show your joy whenever he surprises you with goodies.
No matter the stage in the life of a child, he can learn his place in the kitchen and become fond of it. So be there for him without being too pushy and you’ll have on your hands a future responsible adult when it comes to food choices, a person who can cook and really enjoy the experience of it.