Teaching Your Kids To Cook – A Lesson In Patience?

Cooking With Kids as a Family from Pexels by August de Richelieu

(featured Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels)

I almost always cook dinner in my house. My fiance and daughter make their own breakfasts and lunches, and are responsible for getting their own snacks, but dinner is all on me. Which is fine with me. For one thing, my family never complains about anything I make and they’re both always extremely appreciative of every dinner no matter what it is, and also I kind of enjoy being the one to feed them (if anyone had told me 5 years ago I’d be typing those words I would have laughed in their face.)

Teaching My Teenager To Cook

Recently however, I implemented a new household rule, which is that on Sunday nights my teenage daughter has to plan and cook dinner, and let me tell you…it’s been a pain in the ass.

OK, OK, I’m mostly just joking. It hasn’t been that bad. It has been an experience though, and eye opening in ways I didn’t expect.

In a nutshell: The rules are that every week before Sunday arrives she needs to tell me what she wants to make so I can ensure we have all the necessary ingredients. Then on Sunday she does most of the cooking with assistance and instructions from me as required. Eventually we’ll move to her doing all of it on her own, but for now since she’s just learning, this is what works for us. I try to discourage her from repeating meals because the point is to learn something new, and I attempt as much as possible to be hands off during the process which for me is the hardest part.

Eventually I’ll add more details and rules into the mix. Soon I’d like to have her making the grocery list and assisting with the shopping as well so she has a better understanding of what food actually costs. But I don’t want to pile on too much just yet.

Now, I know a lot of families with much younger children have them help out in the kitchen a lot more and might be thinking, “k she’s a TEENAGER, this shouldn’t be a big deal.” and to be honest, it’s not a big deal. It’s just something new we’re trying to I’m mostly enjoying.

Some Of The Reasons For Having Our Daughter Cook Dinner One Night A Week Include:

  • I want her to understand and appreciate what goes into cooking for a family; from planning and prep work, to juggling multiple dishes, to clean up even.
  • One of her chores is doing the dishes and a lot of the time she’s pretty terrible about remembering to get them done. When she has to cook she gets to experience first hand how annoying it is when the dishes you need aren’t available.
  • I want her to know how to cook for herself so that when she does eventually move out (hopefully never) she can feed herself healthy, nutritious meals, instead of just surviving off instant noodles and pizza pops.
  • The kid can eat. She loves food and has a pretty big appetite, so I figured if she loves food she might as well learn to cook it.
  • I think it’s really important to instill in children the concept of doing things for other people just because. Cooking for your family is a fairly simple task that means a lot.
  • I like hearing her ideas for meals, because it gives me insight into things she likes to eat. I will admit, like any parent who regularly cooks dinners, I kinda fall into a cooking rut sometimes and make the same meals over and over. When my daughter suggests a meal I don’t usually cook, I appreciate the inspiration for future dinners.

For her part, she doesn’t really love this new task, but has been fairly cooperative so far with just a slight amount of grumbling. She feels incredibly proud of herself with each new meal she cooks, and she gets the hugest smile on her face when her dad and I compliment her cooking. So I’m going to call that a win for now.

As for me, learning to sit back and let her do things without interfering is so damn hard. You’d think I’d have a handle on this after 13 years of parenting, but I don’t. Not at all. I’m a bit (a lot) of a control freak and I get really impatient if I’m watching someone do something that seems inefficient to me. And let’s be honest, watching your kid learn to cook seems really inefficient sometimes (why is she stirring like that???) so this has been a learning experience for me as much as for her.

Oh god I just realized she starts learning to drive next year.

Her dad can do that.

Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear what kinds of chores your kids do. Which ones do they hate, which ones do they complain about the least?

Stay safe!

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