There are countless articles deriding what seems to be everyone’s favourite punching bag, millennials. Can’t cook. Can’t clean. Can’t count. But they can text blindfolded. Complaining about younger generation(s) isn’t new. My parents complained about my generation and their parents did the same to them. But beneath the generational friction, lies a simple truth around cooking anyway. We do it less. Across the board we are all cooking less and we are passing this on to our kids.
When you think back to how your kids learned to speak, walk, dress and tie their shoes the single most common tool is modeling. Our kids watch us brush our teeth, get ready for work, fold laundry and talk on the phone. They watch us and they mimic us. Cooking is no different.
So when you cook, try to include your kids as often as possible and as young as possible. I’m not suggesting you pass your toddler a butcher knife and get them to julienne carrots, but I am suggesting they can hang out with you in the kitchen as you tell them what you’re doing. You can have them measure a cup of flour, stir something or just explain what’s going on.
Kids are sponges capable of absorbing and processing loads of information and can learn so much just by being with you and watching. And just like you should be in the habit of tasting as you go, they should too. The Canadian Government conducted a study in 2010 on cooking and food preparation skills. Some key factors that came out of the study were:
- all of us are eating more prepared and packaged foods
- families who eat together and prepare meals together are more likely to eat healthier.
And that’s the goal, right? To be healthier? We want our kids to know how to budget, how to plan, how to cook and clean for themselves. Independence. This doesn’t happen overnight. Baby steps. If your kids are really young, let them join you as often as possible in the kitchen, in the grocery store. As they get older, add to their responsibilities. They need to learn how to pace and experiment and try and FAIL.
The meals are not all going to be great. It’s probably gonna get messy and that might just grate on your last nerve. But, if the goal is to develop lifelong, healthy eating habits than it’s worth it!
Here’s to yours and your family’s health!
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