The kitchen can be a great place for community
Author: Staff Writer
“The kitchen is the heart of the home”.
Or so says your home vinyl wall art. But just how well do you live by this mantra?
Modern day living has threatened the fabric of family life and taken away from quality kitchen time previously enjoyed by past generations. Between extra-murals, late meetings and the assault of technology, it’s getting increasingly harder for families to bond in the kitchen and over food.
Create an Inviting Atmosphere
Cooking for the family should be fun. But when you’re left alone, it can quickly turn into a chore. Start by making your cooking area a warm and inviting environment by decluttering the kitchen.
A tidy and organised cooking space can help create a calmer and cosier atmosphere to be enjoyed by all. Put on some fun, family tunes – and dance the amazing aromas around. Lure you family with the sounds, smells and good vibes.
For romantic evenings that can strengthen relationships, relationship expert Dr John Gray suggests preparing meals with your partner. A study conducted by Gray revealed that couples who cooked together were significantly more satisfied in all areas of their lives than couples who didn’t.
“Sitting at the counter with a glass of wine while continuously keeping your partner’s glass filled can build on the sense of intimacy that working together brings,” suggests Gray.
Rope The Kids In
Get kids involved in the menu planning and eliminate the dreaded “what’s for dinner” question. Cooking as a family is a wonderful way to encourage conversations about healthy food, build family bonds and ask your teens questions in a way that feels chatty rather than nosy. Keep little hands and brains busy by allowing them to pick meals, prep ingredients and even clear plates after dinner.
Kathy Powers, food and nutrition teacher and host of the TV’s show, Hey Kids, Let’s Cook, gives these creative ideas to willingly get young children into the kitchen.
Create a fun graph of meal plans with your kids and allow them to pick their veggie of choice for each meal day.
Make the cooking process fun by getting them to focus on their senses during meal making. “Does it feel ripe?” or “is it crunchy or chewy” are some of the questions you can ask as they wash, peel or mash.
Use positive commands like “I’d really appreciate your help in the kitchen today” to direct attention to what you desire from their behaviour. Also, let children help set the table when cooking is done.
Eat Dinner Together
34-minutes per week and three-hours per weekend! This, according to a study by Highland Group on the daily life of British families, is the amount of time the average British family spends together.
Furthermore, researchers at Canada’s McGill University found that the more frequent families ate dinner together, the better the emotional well-being of the children ranked. “Mental health improved significantly for each additional dinner a family had together,” says McGill professor, Fran Elgar.
The researchers believed this positive mental and emotional effect was partially attributed to an increased efficiency in communication between parents and children while Elgar noted the more parents and children had dinner together, the fewer emotional and behavioural problems the children had.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. But as it turns out, it’s also the memories factory, the psychologist’s couch and the perfect long weekend destination.