Now that our kids are at home more and we are at home more, we have more time with them!
This is a great thing because as clinicians we are always hearing, “We’re rushing out the door! We don’t have time for them to make their own lunch! We don’t have time for them to put on their own shoes!” We understand that, but we also know that when we continue to take the time to have them practice these activities, they will get better and better at them and they will get more independent.
Many of our clients are taking this opportunity of time with their kids to do some cooking! We have an apartment set up at the center, complete with a small kitchen. Our clients do a lot of their learning here, but if you can transfer these skills to home, that’s going to give your kids even better results!
One benefit of cooking at home is that it helps our kiddos to learn about safety and safety hazards. A kitchen is a family place, but it is also a place that can be unsafe. We want to talk about how to turn the burners on, how to turn the burners off, and why we don’t leave them on. We want to talk about why we don’t leave a cloth or a dishrag on a burner.
I was just doing some scenarios with a client, and one of the things we covered was, “What do you do if a glass drops on the floor? How do you clean that up?” Our kiddos and even our young adult clients are so used to calling for Mom to take care of these things! They need to learn how to handle things like this safely for themselves, so we talk about things like why we put the glass shards in a paper bag rather than a plastic bag.
This is live learning, and live learning and situational learning is always the best! Live learning also gets us off of the computer!
If you cook as a family, your kiddos can learn to stir or to follow the directions. If the recipe says, “Stir it until it’s lumpy,” talk about what lumpy means. How can we tell when it’s lumpy? Talk about why you spray cooking spray on a pan when you’re baking cookies. Talk about what certain ingredients do—this can actually become like learning science! There is so much to learn about why we do things in certain ways, just by doing cooking activities. Plus, you get the shared experience of being able to work together.
Letting Your Kiddos Shop and Prep
There are two young adults I work with who are now cooking at home once a week. They’re doing all the shopping, all the preparation, and the cooking! They are doing this with supervision, of course, but even so, this has been an enriching experience for them.
If you have picky eaters, do you know the best way to start working with them on texture, and on eating things they don’t like? It’s by cooking! If you get into the kitchen and they can smell it, and touch it, and feel it, that’s how they learn to get it closer to their mouth. Typically we want to at least take a little bite of something we’ve made.
Your Next Step
I highly recommend you make use of this time, because who knows when we will have this kind of time together with our families again. Our clinicians love it when these experiences are going on at home!