Recently I saw a meme circulating around Facebook about letting kids cook. The gist of the meme is if you want to determine if you have control issues, the first step is to bake with your kids.
Um, yes. There is a lot of truth in the statement. Even for someone who tends to be more laid back about things, baking with my kids can be a test of my patience. But then again, so can asking them to get in the car.
So why do we continue to do things like bake with our kids, ask them to figure out how to buckle themselves, and teach them how to properly clean their rooms?
Surely it’s not because it is the easy choice in the moment. Making dinner alone is much less messy. I am a much better car-seat-buckler. And if I just clean the room myself, it can be done in half the time with half the cajoling.
No, we take the time to teach our kids and involve them in the daily routines and rhythms because we know that they are independent people who will one day live independently from us. We choose the slower route in the here and now so that they will be well prepared in the days to come.
We see the great significance in learning to use a broom or boil a pot of pasta. It is much more than a clean floor or a night’s dinner. This everyday work involving our kids in the daily tasks of the home is building in them a sense of competence–an understanding which says they have meaningful work to do and the ability with which to do it.
Inviting our kids into the kitchen is just a part of involving them in our everyday tasks, but it is one about which I am especially passionate.
My aim in this series is to paint a big picture of kids in the kitchen. A picture bigger than simply holiday cookie baking. It is a picture of instilling a healthy relationship to food, of creating atmospheres and attitudes of hospitality, and of building strong relationships while mixing muffins or walking through the produce section.
There will be posts sharing recipes kids can cook, yes, but you can also expect posts about teaching kids the role of food in our health and in our service to others, teaching kids useful skills and techniques, ideas for fun foody playdates, AND activities for kids to do when you just need to keep them out of the kitchen. Because, #reallife.
I want you to think about the word instill as you read this series. To instill means to put in drop by drop. I love that picture– it’s the perfect picture for our work as parents. We do not have an option of simply turning on the faucet and pouring in everything our children need in a short time.
Rather, we shepherd and teach and love them drop by drop, until one day they are filled up and ready to take on the world.
Allow these posts to serve as a source of inspiration and remember that you don’t have to do it all. A month’s worth of posts on involving kids in the kitchen will likely seem overwhelming at the time. Take a few small steps, try something new, bookmark what is helpful, and let go of the rest.
I am looking forward to starting this series with you! Please don’t hesitate to join in the conversation in the comments or on our Facebook page!
Find the rest of the Kids in the Kitchen posts on the series page.