If you already love to cook, you’re bound to enjoy it even more once you discover what a valuable family activity it can be. Having your teenager join you in the kitchen won’t just liven up the atmosphere, but will also present you with the opportunity to pass on your experience and wisdom.
It gives you time to bond
Teenagers generally have a life of their own, which revolves around their own interests and social circle. Being in the kitchen with them for as long as it takes to prepare the food provides you with an opportunity to chat. You’re likely to find them in a relaxed mood and therefore, more willing to share what’s going on in their lives.
Cooking together boosts self-esteem
Cooking contributes to healthy self-esteem development in teenagers in a variety of ways. During the course of cooking, their knowledge is enhanced as they continue to learn new stuff. When the food is finally cooked, they feel a sense of accomplishment. Lastly, when people eat the food and praise it, they feel a sense of pride, as well as a sense of achievement.
Cooking fosters responsibility and independence
For their own safety, young kids are typically kept away from knives or other utensils which must be handled with care. However, in their teen years, they don’t just have access to these but also to the rest of the kitchen equipment. Being trusted with items that were previously off-limits, cleaning what they’ve used and clearing the counter once the cooking is over can foster responsibility in them. Also, learning to cook empowers them and begins to prepare them for the times when they’ll have to look after themselves and cook their own meals.
Teenagers can learn about different cultures
Using cooking to teach teenagers about different cultures is probably more fun and effective than lecturing them. Involve them in the cooking of specific dishes and use it as an opportunity to share some knowledge about that particular culture. Experience is a far better teacher than imagination and since cooking affects all the senses, your teenager has a much better chance of retaining what he or she has learnt about the culture during this time spent with you in the kitchen.
Cooking together cultivates social skills
The reading, understanding and explaining of recipe steps makes cooking an interactive activity. Your teenager can also practise problem-solving by working with you to find a viable solution should something go wrong. Let your teenager be ‘in charge’ by asking them to read and explain the instructions to you. Use this time to share stories to make the session even more fun.
So, as you can see, cooking can be a valuable and enriching experience for both yourself and your teenagers.
All you need to do is make the effort to ensure that they enjoy the activity so that they are keen to engage in it more often!
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