Not long ago my twenty-one year old son was helping me clean and cut fruits and veggies. This is a rare sight nowadays. The boys are either in college all the time or working very full time jobs (well, actually, they both do both at the same time!). I miss those times of cooking and cleaning in the kitchen with my kids.
However, I didn’t expect the boys to miss it! Josiah, the twenty-one year old pediatric nurse I just referred to, said, “You know what I miss? I miss those times that we used to gather around the table with tons of potatoes, carrots, apples, and other fruits and vegetables and peel, cut, clean, and prep them while you read aloud to us for hours!”
So do I, baby, so do I!
In addition to reading aloud while they did produce prep, I loved to cook with the kids and just talk. It didn’t matter whether there were a few of them and we listened to radio dramas or talking books, laughed, and carried on or if there was just one and we quietly went about doing our tasks just talking, talking, talking—rarely a lull in the conversation.
So today I bring you a few tips to get your kids in the kitchen AND talking:
- Start young! Just like talking is more likely to happen with your teens if you started out talking when they were little, so it is with working together in the kitchen.
- Provide lots of opportunities for kitchen work together to happen. In our busy world, just hoping that times will appear for us to work and talk together doesn’t seem like a very good way to be sure they happen. With our kids, we had many opportunities in place for us to work together in the kitchen—chores each day, assistant chef to Mom (helping Mom with the evening meal), freezer cooking day, produce prep, etc.
- If you have kids who do not love cooking, make the sessions short and sweet.
- Just let the conversation go where ever it seems to go. One great thing about talking in the kitchen is that their hands are busy, but their minds are often not. Many great, heart-knitting conversations have happened in my kitchen over the past thirty years with my kids!
- If you are just starting the “cook and talk” approach, you might want to use talking books or radio dramas. This will often lead to stopping it to talk about it—another amazing teaching opportunity!
So go ahead…invite your child in to the kitchen to “slice, dice, and julienne”—and enjoy more talk time with your awesome kids!