We live in a very busy world today. Whatever happened to wellness, letting yourself just be you and enjoy your surroundings? Everything has to go in rapid pace, and none of us can follow it. Everyone I know has suffered from stress – some even got sick from work because of it. And now, we dare to put this lifestyle on our kids. They have long hours at school, homework afterwards, tests in the smallest grades and even past that, they need to find time for their hobbies, friends and family, but when they come home, they find their parents not having time for anything, and they are given an ipad to entertain them while dinner is prepared. Kids are getting distanced from the kitchen and the common every day work, because adults want it over with quickly, so that their own day can move on in the same prior mentioned speed. Kids are not learning about hygiene, cutting and chopping correctly – not even where the food is coming from. And it is scary.
Letting them help out will make the experience of your otherwise very planned dinner rather colourful. We might have taken time away from kids, but we have not yet taken away their imagination. They come with the silliest and funniest suggestions for experiments. They learn where food is coming from. What meat is, why we need it, how it feels against the fingers and what happens to an animal before we humans can eat it. They will of course also learn about the veggies. What to eat from them and what not to.
From soil to table… That is the most important teach of the kitchen. Let kids experiment, allow them to taste a carrot top, if they wonder whether or not we can use it. Let them try to explore our world throughout cooking with their parents. This of course requires that the adults have time for this… But what else would they do. It is called quality time, and it should be prioritized above everything else.
But what about everything else in the kitchen? What if they burn themselves? What if they cut themselves? Yes, what if?! Then they will learn to handle the tools correctly, and you will learn how important it is to have good tools. Sharp knives, peelers, good pans, pots etc. Kids can help you by even using the sharpest knife. Just teach them how to. Maybe cut the round vegetable in half, so that it won’t slip… Otherwise, it is not difficult. How else will they learn it?
I sometimes get 5’th graders (they are 11-12 years old), and they have never chopped a vegetable before, heck, they barely know what a broccoli is. I think it is very scary, and I blame our busy society for it.