One of my 10 steps in discovering (and creating!) an adventurous eater in your family is Involvement.   Getting the kids involved in meal time has so many doors to open the world of being a leader. It’s not only about them cooking, it goes even further back in how that meal is placed on your table. Giving them the tools to spark that confidence, that might simply be hiding, can not only get them to taste what’s in front of them but also build leadership skills.

When we feel we’re too busy or in a rush to get meals in front of our family, not only is it totally stressful, but we are losing out on important lessons for our children. Thanks to Brooklyn’s Montessori education, I’ve been taught how important life skills are in academics and I have done my best to look at everything I do in my kitchen as a teaching versus a chore. I believe that our life skills foster independence and create leaders in our children. How does this work in the kitchen?

The moment you ask your child to be involved in what is in your kitchen, the teaching begins. Brooklyn helps choose what meals we will be having as a family, creating the grocery list, we shop together, prep and cook. What’s equally important is she helps set the table and clean up after the meal is done. Life skills create a solid human being and as a parent you should never feel guilty teaching your child to contribute as a family member. Does Brooklyn complain at times when I ask her to do something? Of course! She’s a normal 5 year old. We then have to work a bit harder to teach her how important her role is in our family. Even if your child complains, when they feel they are a part of something big, their pride shines and the leader inside them slowly comes out.  So how can your children get involved?

  1.  Create place cards for meals.  The creativity can be so simple at an early age.  They don’t have to cook a full-course meal to be a part of it!
  2.  Use my “Let’s Set the Table!” reusable placemat (you can get at Shop Here!) to make setting the table fun.  Our children’s book, “I Tried It!” has a fun little jingle that Brooklyn says with her cats for them to remember where everything goes.  You can get the book with the same link above!
  3. Grab some recipe cards or books and have your children choose a few dinners that week.  We have our creative Meal Planning Flashcards that you can use with your child to choose foods they want to try, along with creative recipes they can make on the back.  My recipes are SUPER easy and SUPER fast.  And SUPER tasty!  Have them choose a few items they will have in their lunchbox that week too.  100 Days of Real Food has wonderful and convenient suggestions for lunches.  Or follow some of the hundreds of Instagram accounts that give fantastic lunch options that are beyond easy.
  4. Have them find the items on your grocery list when you get to the store.  They will be so proud when they find things.  Brooklyn loves finding her dad’s items and telling him when she gets home that she picked them herself.
  5. Simple prep at home can go for miles.  We have wonderful tools we use in the kitchen that are safe, actually work and are fun.  Sign up to get my “Discovering the Adventurous Eater in Your Child” e-book on my website to see all the tools that work for Brooklyn.

Simple teachings surrounding what makes your family table a positive one, builds a strong foundation for your family. Allowing your child to tell you what they want for dinner that week, how they think the peppers should be cut, showcasing their creativity while helping, and demonstrating how helpful they are to you will create the adult you hope they will be. Someone who knows how to make decisions, help their friends, contribute to something huge, have confidence to voice their opinion, and not be afraid to let their creativity shine.

What ways do you use your kitchen as teaching opportunities? I’d love to hear and learn from you!

Simply Yours,

Michelle Mansfield Blog

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