Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Family Time - in the Kitchen!

by: Mimi Chacin - City Program Manager

I came to Miami 12 years ago – not knowing how to cook, not knowing a thing about kids. I discovered my love for both simultaneously. As a stay-at-home mom, I cooked often, and as my children grew into their toddler years, they would hang out with me in the kitchen. I would hand them a plastic bowl and wooden spoon to keep them entertained – even if it was just for a while. They quickly became curious about whatever ingredients I was using, and wanted to “help”. They washed vegetables, mixed dry ingredients, helped build sandwiches, took the green things off the top of the strawberries – they were more than happy to do anything at all in the kitchen. It got messy, but they were right next to me where I could keep an eye on them and I could continue doing what I had become so passionate about, cooking!
I quickly realized how great being in the kitchen was for them – they were refining their motor skills, learning about patience, cause and effect, and teamwork, to name a few. As they grew older yet, more advantages and learning opportunities became apparent – they were applying math and science skills they were learning at school, their awareness and appreciation of different cultures, social studies and geography grew, and best of all, they didn’t even realize it!
But, by far, the most incredible advantage to cooking with your kids, is the time you share together, and the tradition of cooking and eating as a family you instill in the process.
Now, 12 years later, I am lucky to be able to do it for a living. With other children, whose parents may not have the opportunity to cook with their own kids because they have two, sometimes three jobs. It is a privilege to share time with kids in the kitchen, and I am thankful to our students’ parents and caregivers for the trust they put in us to keep their children safe, healthy and engaged in the wonderful tradition of sharing time in the kitchen and at the table together.

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