How a Stomach Flu Proved that Cooking with my Kids was Worth the Hassle
This past weekend, I was in New York City with my mom for the memorial service for a dear family friend. In the midst of the different events of the weekend I got a text message from my husband telling me that he thought that he had come down with the stomach flu that both our boys had struggled with in epic ways the week before.
A year or two ago, this would have been cause for panic. I would have been kicking into high gear to call upon family and friends to whisk the kids away, bring meals, or otherwise help out my husband while I was out of town, but instead I expressed compassion for my husband, told him to get in bed, and reassured him that the boys could cook for themselves.
When I hung up the phone my mom exclaimed how cool it was that I was able to be so confident that my 7 and 9-year-old sons would be able to cook their own dinner, should that be necessary… and I had to agree with her!
It also got me thinking. It suddenly struck me that, while I had always cooked with my kids with various goals in mind—that it would be a source of quality time together, it would encourage them to try new and different foods, and build their confidence—it occurred to me that perhaps the most important goal was being missed: I was helping them to grow into competent, independent people who would be able to take care of themselves and others.
So last night, as I was rushing to get dinner on the table after getting home later than expected, I called out to both boys to get their help with making dinner. One took charge of seasoning our turkey cutlets, while the other made the salad. Did it make them more eager to eat the meal they had helped to prepare? Possibly, but as I watched them focused on their tasks, I couldn’t help but think that they will be using the skills they were practicing in their cooking for themselves and others for years to come.
Do you cook with your kids? Do you have stories of it paying off? Let’s brag about our kids in the comments! Or, does cooking with your kids scare you? Share your fears and let us support you!
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