It's fun to take little kids in the kitchen. Almost anything you make is amazing! to them, and they love to be with you. Even washing dishes is exciting to a little one, and the added benefit of being able to brag that they helped with dinner - well, it's easy to have fun with little ones.
You are a hero - the Goddess of the Kitchen. It's a very exhilarating feeling.
It's a bit more tricky with the teens and preteens.That's not to say, though, that you shouldn't do it. I'd argue that the older kids need the kitchen time with a parent even more than the toddlers.
After all, those teens can be prickly and obnoxious at times, and it can be a challenge to enjoy being with them - but those troubling times are the definite sign that you should spend more time with your teen. Especially if you've got a sensitive issue to talk with them about, or things are tense between the two of you, a cooking date can go a long way towards smoothing out those tough times.
Spend time in the kitchen with your kid and, while the measuring and stirring is going on, something else will happen - suddenly, you'll hear about her day. There probably won't be eye contact, and you most certainly shouldn't ask questions - but the talking begins almost unconsciously and it can be a fantastic relationship builder. When one of my own children is obviously upset but not forthcoming, I invite her into the kitchen and hand her a measuring cup and some flour. It's almost foolproof - soon the conversation begins.
It's also a necessary lesson plan for those teenagers, as they will soon be moving on from your kitchen to (hopefully) their own. Do your kid a favor - teach him how to make a few basic staples - and cereal doesn't count. Cover how to bake a chicken, easy muffins and breads, the necessity of salad and how yummy it is to eat vegetables. Teach your daughter to make bread and help your boys learn the joys of warm chocolate chip cookies. If your teen is resistant, tell him that many a date has started in the kitchen, and remind him how surprised a future spouse might be that he can do more in the kitchen than pour a beverage.
It's an extra bonus that these activities can create some of your most cherished memories.
Did your parents teach you to cook? What do you think everyone should know how to make before they move out?