This post was sponsored by the National 4-H Council as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. Thanks for inspiring me to write this post on how to get your kids to help in the kitchen! Growing up, my sister and I loved to watch my mom and my Gram in the kitchen. It was magical to watch them put together our favorite recipes. The only thing better was knowing that soon that delectable food would be in our bellies!
As we got older, my sister and I were able to be more involved in the kitchen. Oh how we loved to be between mom and Gram in the kitchen of that old house! Of course they started small with our chores when it came to mealtime. We were four or five when we started being their special helpers. By the time we were eight or ten, we had about become certified chefs! Here are my tips how to get your kids to help in the kitchen:
- Start Small: When we were very small, we had chores in the kitchen that were in measure with our age. We would hand a wooden spoon to mom or choose an egg for the cake mix. As kids get older, they can have more responsibility.
- Give Them Independence: As kids get older, give them some leeway. Once they gain some independence, their confidence in the kitchen will soar. By the time I was eight, I was able to make a grilled cheese sandwich and a small salad. If mom was busy, I was able to make myself, as well as my siblings, a simple meal.
- Take Them Shopping: I loved to go to the grocery store with my mom and Gram. As they chose their produce, they would explain how to find the best apple, head of lettuce or watermelon. When we were older, mom would give us a small list of supplies. It was our job to choose the items and place them in our cart. We could not wait for mom to inspect our findings!
- Give Them Their Own Tools: When I was growing up, they didn’t make a knife for kids. We had to learn to use the grown up knives mom used. Now, we have access to many kid-friendly kitchen tools. Give them a drawer where they can store their kitchen gadgets. Also, buy the kids their own personalized aprons. My kids love theirs!
- Teach Them To Share: From a young age, we teach our children to share with others. When they are in the kitchen, they should learn the same. Show them there is always a single mom, a lonesome neighbor or a resident at a retirement home who would love a batch of fresh baked cookies!
Families Without Food
You know what makes my heart hurt? Knowing there are families who don’t always have access to food. In fact, almost 16 million kids live in a home where food, healthy or otherwise is not consistently available. I want to make sure my kids are not only thankful for their food, but to help those in need. With the 4-H Food Smart Families program, families are learning to plan, shop and prepare healthy meals on a budget.
Food Smart Families
Were you involved in 4-H when you were a kid? I was and I just loved it. At 4-H, they assist Kids to complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and citizenship. They have adult mentors and as the kids get older, they are encouraged to take on leadership roles. It is a great way for kids to gain confidence and Independence, while learning to help others. That is why I am so excited about the 4-H Food Smart Families program.
Teens As Teachers
Since 2011, almost 350,000 kids and their families have benefited from this healthy living program. 4-H works with UnitedHealthcare to teach these families life-long healthy habits. The program was fashioned after the 4-H “Teens as Teachers” model. This is where the teens are mentored and in turn share this knowledge with their peers. They teach their peers to shop and cook and then teach their own families to do the same. It is a way to offer these families empowerment instead of just a handout. isn’t that wonderful?
Healthier Habits Means A Healthier Life
The statistics coming from the 4-H Food Smart Families program are staggering. Of the kids who participated, 9 out of 10 find being active a fun part of their lives. They are encouraging their families to purchase healthier foods and eat meals together as a family. Almost 90% of these kids are choosing fruit instead of an unhealthy snack like chips or candy. Watch this video to see how one teen leader was impacted by the Food Smart Families program.
Do you have tips to share on how to get kids to help in the kitchen? Do you have a personal connection to 4-H? I would love to hear in the comments below!