One of my all-time favorite things to do with my kids is cooking. That’s not really true. Total honesty? It kind of makes me bonkers.
It’s one of those things that I should like doing with my kids. Think of all those sweet commercials with moms making cookies with their smiling, helpful, neat, and super clean children. I think, “Yes! I can do that!”
But the reality is, baking is messy! And when you get kids in the kitchen guess what happens? They make a mess! “Helpful” is not a word I would use to describe my children when they are in the kitchen. And yet, cooking and cleaning up are good things for kids to learn.
Cooking isn’t just a fun thing to do, it’s a life skill.
My personal opinion is that everything we do in the home is also an opportunity to teach Biblical Truth. So, I need to put aside my fear of being annoyed and embrace kitchen activities as a beautiful opportunity.
By God’s grace I’ve learned few things. It’s not realistic to think a 3-year-old can measure a cup of sugar and get it into the mixing bowl without leaving a trail of gritty, white stickiness. Kids do not care if there is a recipe! Wouldn’t that chicken breast taste sooooo much better with just a squeeze of agave? (There’s only one way to find out!) And…a sink full of dirty dishes is only washed with bubbles that somehow make their way to both the floor and the ceiling.
In light of all this, here are four thoughts to help those of you who, like me, might feel equally concerned about the chaos that kids bring to the kitchen:
- Make the time. Plan when you’re going to have the kids help with cooking. Be excited and be prepared. Schedule extra time for the teaching process and come in with a grace-filled attitude.
- Make it enjoyable. Put on some fun praise music. Be sure to laugh together. At the end of the day, it won’t matter how the food turned out, but that you made a good memory together.
- Make it a learning experience. Let the kids pick out what they want to make. Show them how to measure and mix (for older kids, show them how to safely use the stove or knives). Always keep the tasks age-appropriate. And be sure they help with clean-up. It’s important that they know there is not a “cleaning fairy” that comes after they go to bed.
- Make it Christ-centered. Isn’t that the goal of everything we do? Share what Jesus is doing in your life during your time in the kitchen. Work on memorizing a Bible verse together. Take some muffins/cookies/meal to a friend or neighbor in need.
Remember, just because there are things that aren’t our favorite part of parenting doesn’t mean God’s not in it. Quite the opposite.
God has used the kitchen to refine me, deal with my control issues, and remind me that grace matters. Acts 20:24
And there will be a reward someday… like when your son’s wife hugs you because he knows how to wash a dish.
However I consider my life worth nothing to me,
if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me
-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
What parenting task has been stealing your joy? How can you regain your joy in the task he has given you?
By Jenna Hallock, Family Time Training