By Alyssa Musolf
You may be hesitant to bring your child into the kitchen and let them use a chef’s knife, and rightfully so. Sometimes a kid’s “help” really just means a bigger mess, but teaching your child to cook is an important life skill and it can provide practical applications of the skills they learn at school.
It’s the hope of every parent that one day your kids will be able to “do it themselves.” Whether that means tying their own shoes or making their own dinner, passing on these important life skills can raise a kid’s confidence and independence.
Claudia Hefner, cooking instructor for classes like Confident Cooking for Kids at Sur la Table, says that cooking is an important life skill, and “you don’t have to be a master chef, but knowing the basics is essential. People always need to eat.”
Hefner also says cooking can help children develop other life skills, like organization. “Having everything “mise en place”, everything in its place, carries over into life. It puts you into a zen mode when you have everything ready and you can then rock out your recipe or you have that outline all set and ready to write up that paper or essay, or your notes from class ready to study for that test.” Not every recipe will turn out perfect, but it helps kids problem solve and learn from their mistakes.
Cooking also reinforces math and reading skills. Having your child assist in measuring requires working with fractions, like ½ cup of water, and calculations, like doubling a recipe. Following a recipe promotes the practical development of strong reading and comprehension skills. Encouragement to practice these skills outside of everyday homework shows real life applications to their school work, in a tasty new way.
Additionally, picky eaters can be exposed to new flavors and types of food in the kitchen. Hefner says it’s the best way for them to try new things and “they are then so proud of the meal they have made that they will actually eat it without any fighting!”
Exposing your child to a new skill like cooking can be nerve wracking, especially if you’re not a big cook yourself, but with Afterschoolz you can find new opportunities, like Hefner’s class, that can help you and your child bond while learning a useful new skill. Your culinary journey is just a click away!
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