One morning as my two-year-old son and I were rushing out the door late as usual, he taught me a lesson about parenting that keeps coming to mind as I think about you teaching kids to cook.
I was under extra pressure with the change of seasons, from just walking out the door in summer to the outerwear of fall. He made a move that surprised me. My hands were full with bags and my tea, and I was hustling him out the door but not holding his hand. We have a rather large step down into our garage, and he did something he should not have done.
I knew in an instant that he didn’t have the coordination to land that jump properly and couldn’t believe what he was doing… And I had no way to help him. I reached out anyway and my touch caused him to twist a bit, and he landed flat on his back on the cement.
There ensured much loud crying, and a worried mom rushed down to pick up her little boy.
After making sure he was okay, more scared than hurt, I was trying to do what my parenting book had instructed me that week to just give empathy and hugs when a child is distraught. The book said kids can’t really answer the question, “Why did you do that?” Children who are distressed can’t think logically at all.
Logical or not, every cell in my body was dying to know WHY he jumped!!
After some more hugs and saying, “I know that was scary, I know you are hurt, Mama’s here, Mama’s here…” I couldn’t help it any longer. The question bubbled to the surface and burst out, “Why did you jump?”
Through sobs and tears, he managed to squeak out, “Because I didn’t want my feet to be cold!”
This made no sense to me until I looked down at his feet…and saw only his cute little socks. No shoes. No boots. I had failed at the seasonal switch and was about to take him to church in his socks.
I’m sure we have all had missteps like that as parents. This one in particular made me think about why I teach my kids to cook.
It’s because I don’t want to send them out into the world unprepared, much like I don’t want to take my children out on a chilly fall day with no shoes! I worry that when we send our high school graduates off into the real world and they don’t know how to cut up vegetables that they will simply jump… And where will they land?
The frozen pizza aisle? Ramen noodles? Wasting all of their money eating out when they certainly can’t afford it?
I want better for my kids and yours. That’s why I strive to teach kids to cook when they are young.
Why Teach Kids to Cook?
As the teacher of a kids cooking class online, it’s so obvious to me that kids need to cook. But it’s pretty clear looking at our culture that others don’t agree, if they think of it at all.
Let’s look into the future a bit for our kids’ generation. Human beings need to eat three or more times per day. So either our young adult children will need to cook for themselves or rely on other people to do it for them.
I see a few problems with relying on others to cook for you as a new adults in your early 20s. First, although those young adults may not care at the time about good nutrition, hopefully parents will. Packaged, prepared food is rarely known for being packed with nourishment.
Second, the convenience of prepared food can be very taxing on the budget. Either you pay a lot for a restaurant meal, which is still probably not very nutritious, or you pay a lot for healthy convenience food.
How Cooking as Children Lays the Foundation for the Future
I want so much more for my kids as they enter adulthood. I really want them to feel confident in the kitchen, which I believe will translate beyond into real life as well. Research shows that when kids see themselves as able to cook as young adults, it actually predicts better eating habits an entire decade later!
If I can start them out right getting competent in the kitchen as young children, they will certainly feel confident about their cooking skills as young adults.
What are your future goals for your kids?
- Healthy eating as adults
- Being a supportive spouse/parent
- Competence in the kitchen, being able to feed yourself
Truly, teaching kids to cook accomplishes all of this.
Michael Pollan says:
“We’ve got to educate the next generation about the connections between food, health, and the environment if we hope to solve the major challenges of our time.”
But it gets better.
Later this week I’ll reveal even better reasons that cooking impacts your child RIGHT NOW, and we have small challenges for you each week that will help you take baby steps to getting your kids in the kitchen, without stress, to start things off right immediately!
(IS THIS A CTA FOR THE MKMT CHALLENGE?)
Bio: Katie Kimball teaches kids to cook all over the world through her online video cooking lessons. She and her 4 kids love to bring the joy of real food to others, and in her spare time she wonders where other people find spare time… And then it’s over. 🙂