Introducing Children to the Kitchen

Today, there are scores of cooking classes being taught in cookware shops, adult schools, University Extensions and Department stores which are attended by adults who are learning to cook. Some of the people attending classes were never exposed to the Kitchen and its pleasures when they were small and are just now discovering its delights. A large number of these people have decided that their children, both girls and boys, should learn to cook before they reach adulthood, but are not just sure how to go about teaching them. This article will give some suggestions as to how to do that.

The first thing to know is that it does take time and effort to teach your children to cook, but it is well worth it both for the child and parent. And believe it or not, children can be taught both to cook and to clean up after themselves! If you are a parent who would like to teach your child the joys of working in the kitchen but don’t know how, read on; the following paragraphs may help you in your endeavors. If you already do allow your child in the kitchen but would like some additional tips, this article is also for you.

Before attempting to teach your children to cook, you should try to instill in them a positive attitude towards the kitchen and towards food. This is best done at an early age as it is easier for a child to grow up with these positive feelings than it is to try to change negative ones later on when he/she is older. Help your children to [amazon ASIN=B0044KN2EI]develop positive attitudes[/amazon] towards food by teaching them that food is good, and that eating can be fun. Give your children the impression that working in the kitchen is fun and creative and that the kitchen is a warm, homey, fun place to be, filled with love and sharing and creative self-expression. Let your children know that out of the kitchen come not only the family meals which are essential to survival, but also experiences that contribute to the ‘[amazon ASIN=0307347311]Joy of Living[/amazon]’. Food can and should have an aesthetic appeal which will give pleasure to the creator, the beholder and the partaker; in other words, to all our senses, aesthetic as well as physical.

Try to make meal times as pleasant as possible and prepare meals that are eye-appealing to your children. Indulge your creative fantasies and watch your child for clues. Most of us have a little bit of the child left in us and all we have to do is to stretch our minds back a few years and try to remember what it was that we as children liked. At breakfast time, in place of an ordinary fried egg which some children dislike, make an ‘egg in the window’ (an egg fried in the center of a slice of bread from which a hole has been cut). This will make it enticing and fun to eat. When preparing cooked cereal, add raisins or some other type of fruit to it. Raisins or fruit, add a treasure hunt facet to eating breakfast.

A simple lunch that can be very appealing to the small child is a cottage cheese and fruit salad. You can use peach halves and carrot sticks to make salad people. Use a peach half for the body, carrot sticks for the arms and legs, cottage cheese for the head and raisins or dried cherries for the facial features. Or, simply supply your children with the ingredients and let them create their own; it will be that much more enjoyable to eat. Many creations can be made from all kinds of canned or fresh fruit and cottage cheese and egg, or tuna salads.

Instead of giving your child a plain sandwich, cut the bread out with [amazon ASIN=B001D1FJ2E]cookie cutters[/amazon], or cut the sandwich into four portions, square or triangular. Children usually get turned off to food when presented with portions that are too large.

For dinnertime, you can again use the salad theme; one variation on it is to cut a large tomato in half, scoop out the seeds and fill it with green salad tossed with a favorite dressing. Meatloaf can be made in [amazon ASIN=B0000DIX7P]mini-loaf pans[/amazon] and chicken legs or lamb chops can be dressed with frills to keep small hands clean.

All in all, keep your child in mind when preparing food and snacks. You will be rewarded with an enthusiastic response from your child and he/she will probably have a more robust appetite and will not have to be coaxed to eat.

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