Involving kids in the kitchen is a powerful way to teach your children a variety of life skills, but for food allergic children, involvement in the kitchen is almost an essential part of their mental and emotional development, here’s why:
1. Learn to Cook
People with food allergies have to cook more of what they eat than the average person. That’s why it’s crucial that your food allergic kids learn how to cook. The sooner they start learning, the more prepared they will be when it’s time for them to get out on their own in the real world.
2. Fight Stress With Fun
Dealing with food allergies adds stress to regular everyday life, but getting creative in the kitchen can be fun, especially for kids. The more involved your kids are in the kitchen, the more fun they will have, which will help them think about the stress of their allergies less.
3. Build Confidence
There’s something empowering about mixing a bunch of raw ingredients together to create something amazing. When your kids experience this, there’s no doubt they’ll feel proud about their accomplishments! And kids with food allergies need as much confidence building as they can get since they’re often excluded and sometimes even bullied in social circles because of their allergies.
4. Strengthen Relationships
Families who work and play together, stay together. Spending time in the kitchen with each other (whether you are working to cook dinner, or just having fun baking up a treat) will strengthen bonds and nurture long lasting relationships.
5. Encourage Exploration
When kids are involved in the creation of their food, they are more likely to want to eat it and will be more willing to try new things. And the best part is, they are exploring new things in their own kitchen – the safest place for them to eat.
6. Teach Team Work
Working together in the kitchen will naturally teach team work as you divide up tasks and rely on one another to create your finished project.
7. Planning and Decision Making
A lot of planning goes into the creation of a meal or baked good, especially when food allergies are involved, since obtaining necessary ingredients isn’t as simple as running a mile up the street to the local supermarket. As kids are involved in planning and preparing daily meals and treats for special events, they will learn how to plan ahead and make decisions.
8. Enhance Education
The kitchen is a natural playing ground for science, math, language development and creativity. As your kids work and play in the kitchen, they’ll see practical applications of the things they are learning at school.
For more ideas on parenting kids with food allergies, click here.
Photo credit: Jason Lander