There’s no doubt that many memories are made in the kitchen and around the table. Did you ever stop and ask yourself “why”? The answer lies in something that we could all use more of and that’s CONNECTION. Think about it. Mealtime, and the place we get ready for it, provide a backdrop for interaction while engaging in one of our basic human needs, eating. And for parents of kids from hard places, meal prep can be an opportunity to invest in three critical ways.
- Working together in the kitchen can give children a sense of accomplishment. Participating in something as vital to the family unit as preparing a meal creates a sense of belonging and contribution. This can be an excellent esteem builder and a way to increase teamwork within the home. As always, “age appropriate” is important for the tasks assigned so they don’t create frustration or unsafe conditions.
- The kitchen is a great place for healthy lifestyle conversations. Another great thing about meal prepping together is the opportunity to talk about the foods being prepared, why they were chosen, and what role they play in a healthy diet. It’s a great opportunity to talk about how important food is to our bodies, our society, and our individual family.
- Food can build more connection in our relationships. First, the tasks surrounding the creation of a meal give us the opportunity to have conversations with our kids in a very non-threatening manner. Casual conversation while accomplishing a task. Second, we get to enjoy the results of our co-creation and discuss the outcome. Do we like it? Love it? Change something in the future? It’s an opportunity to consider things together and create space for each voice at the table.
Now granted, the kitchen can also be a place for frustration, melt-downs, arguments, and more. But let’s remember that even the places where we, and our kids, get triggered are opportunities. Chances for us to look at thoughts and behaviors that keep us from the connection we desire to have with our children.
This week on the Mama’s Well Podcast we hear the moving story of Chef Kibby and discuss how the kitchen has shaped this foster/adoptive family’s world. Don’t miss this scrumptious episode! Bon appetite.