why children love doing adult stuff I never would understand, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t let them try.
My kids always want to poke around in the kitchen, as well as with the computer and the washing machine. When I’m in a rush I shoo them off before they can even beg to help out. Otherwise I let them, even if that might mean making a mess or taking longer to finish a task than usual.
The kitchen is often witness to this kids-wanting-to-do-adult-work stance. Especially on weekends or on pizza nights, I’m kind enough to let them in the kitchen work and get their hands (and aprons, they each have one) dirty. They can beat the eggs, even separate the egg whites from the yolks when baking (using an egg separator of course), roll out pizza dough (also with a pizza roller), pinch out malunggay leaves from the stem, and a gazillion other things.
In fact, they seem to be getting used to some of the “kids can do” kitchen work, I hardly have to monitor them. Although of course at times it means doing the work all over again, but that’s hardly a problem because I still need to do them myself otherwise anyway. Aside from the fact that it can get really messy or can take a bit longer to finish cooking, a lot can be gained from letting the kids help out in the kitchen. I’m listing down some of them here with the hope of convincing the non-believers.
1. Kids are more inclined to EAT food that they “cooked” themselves. Uri, who doesn’t eat eggs, started eating a tiny bit of scrambled eggs when he saw how to make some from a TV commercial and did the egg beating himself.
2. The kitchen is a wonderful learning environment. Kids can learn math when they measure how many cups or teaspoons of an ingredient goes into the bowl. Recipes are great for reading and numbers practice. They learn about hygiene as well so they know they can’t touch anything without first washing their hands and wearing their aprons. Plus they learn the names of vegetables, still Uri would confuse tomatoes and potatoes but I know he’ll come around.
3. Cooking develops their palate. Well Ari has ultra-sensitive taste buds to begin with. But from time to time he’d tell me that I should have added more sugar or something. Or Uri would tell me what he just ate tasted like something he ate elsewhere. If I was a great cook, I would’ve taken offense, luckily I’m not and any comment from a picky eater is well taken.
4. Kiddie cooks beam with pride. Whipping just about anything in the kitchen gives kids a huge boost of self-esteem. Uri particularly brags about his kitchen accomplishments when we have guests around.
5. Cooking time is quality time. Having kids hang around in the kitchen is by far the easiest, cheapest way of spending time with them. I don’t even have to plan on a walk to the park, and no change of clothes are needed. We are able to spend time together, have fun together, then we can have a more enjoyable meal afterwards, with them knowing what immense contribution they made to that night’s dinner 😉