In this period of lockdown in India for 21 days since March 25th, 2020, I believe that we all are blessed and fortunate to see many trainers, coaches, teachers, and artists who are selflessly offering their services to engage, entertain and teach our kids.
As the days are passing by and every new activity seems old and boring for kids, parents are scratching their heads to find new activities and games for their children – Do you agree? and that’s why – ‘things to do with children at home’ is one of the highest searches on Google today.
Cooking a meal together as a family.
We all have taught our children cooking at some point or the other. Children are often curious and interested to learn cooking but as much as they display their excitement, in the beginning, it slowly starts to fade. They stop helping us in the kitchen, they care less about how they can contribute, they enjoy cooking but cleaning and washing is a nightmare.
This is a common activity but the way I propose you do it in 4 steps is something new.
Step -1 – Demonstrate cooking as a process.
Cooking is one activity of a larger process.
The reason it is a process is that it starts with procurement and selection of ingredients, chopping and cutting vegetables and other necessary preparations, setting up the dining table, cooking the food and finally clearing the table and washing the cutlery and drying them up.
As we demonstrate the process it’s equally important for us to give our kids the exposure, freedom, and learning where they are involved in the process rather than being instructed and taught.
Step-2 – Share the idea a day before.
Ask your children of their plans for the next day and then share your idea.
When children feel respected and valued of their work and time, they easily contribute in supporting their family.
You can just say – ‘I would love that together as a family we prepare a delicious meal to have together, would you guys like to do it sometime tomorrow?’. Children are always thrilled to display their skills and talents and I’m sure they would be equally excited.
Step – 3 – Encourage your kids to follow the cooking process
Encourage your children to do most of the work of the cooking process. Right from the start to the end. Doing this chore as a family together your contribution would be to SUPPORT. Be involved as a family but allow your children to take the stage today.
You can support by avoiding, advising, taunting or shaming them in a manner where they feel discouraged.
Avoid using words like – ‘don’t you know something as simple as this’, you don’t know how to cut a carrot?, ‘wait give it to me, let me show you how it’s done’. And the moment you take their stage, they will leave it for you to do the rest.
Instead support in a manner where they feel encouraged and appreciated – you can say things like – ‘Wow..I love seeing you so excited; I’m just outside setting the table, if you need something dear let me know. ’’
The kids hear this as ‘My parents believe in me and are available to support anytime without any judgements. A definite moment for your child to feel emotionally connected to you.
Step – 4 – Make it Fun, Make it Play
Creating moments doesn’t necessarily have to be over a cup of ice cream or pizza or a movie or a fun game. Fun and connection can also be created whilst doing a chore.
Children often hear the words chore and responsibilities as PRESSURE. And that’s because we expect them to take these chores seriously as it’s a life skill. We somehow unintentionally pressure them up to perform.
It’s important to understand that children never learn with pressure, they learn better through play.
So, play some music, share some stories, laugh, have some dance and grab your camera, and whilst everyone is immersed in joy and love, capture the moments for old times sake.
Wishing you all the very best. Stay safe and keep creating beautiful family memories.