Holiday food is the best and it’s absolutely everywhere at this time of the year. It starts with Thanksgiving and just snowballs from there with parties, potlucks, cookie exchanges and family dinners. As my kids have grown, they’ve wanted to be my kitchen helpers, not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year. I’m doing my best to teach them what I know, which is pretty limited. My mom worked full-time when I was growing up and we ate out a lot. The funny thing is that I’m the one who seems to be learning from the whole process.
Here are a few things that I’m learning from cooking with my kids, in no particular order:
- My kids LOVE to help in the kitchen. If my five-year-old hears the mixer going, he comes running into the kitchen and acts as if a crime has been committed against him: “Mommy, I wanted to help you!” He loves to help me measure and pour the ingredients. He loves to work the mixer. He loves to spend special time with me, and it melts my heart.
- I need to let go. I find myself wanting to reach over and grab that measuring cup out of my little guy’s hands before he makes a mess, but that would only teach him that I have no confidence in his abilities. My aversion to messes must take a back seat so that my children can learn and grow. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I’m doing my best. Here are Five Tips for Cooking with Kids if you too need a little help in this area.
- My 10-year-old is thinking of her future. The other week she was pouring pancake batter onto the griddle all by herself (as I was trying not to micromanage where she should be placing the pancake batter and how much she should be pouring) and she said, quite seriously, “I’m going to need these skills for when I’m a grownup.” My heart broke just a little bit as I thought of her leaving the nest and being on her own. At the same time I was swelling with pride because I knew that she was taking what she was learning seriously and it meant a lot to her to have this new responsibility. Isn’t that what parenting is all about?
- Cooking with my kids supplements our homeschooling. The same week that my daughter was learning about multiplying fractions she was trying her hand at making cornbread muffins all by herself for the first time. She needed to double the recipe, which involved figuring out what double 3/4 of a cup of water would be. Well, imagine her surprise when she realized that she was actually using the math lesson that she had just been working on! Priceless.