Involving the Children
Involving children in meal routines, food choice and food preparation can be one way to help build their resilience.
Our recipe pages provide tips about how you can involve children in meal preparation at home.
If children are ‘resilient’ this means they will be more confident in making decisions, taking responsibility for their actions, building and trusting relationships and can deal safely with risky situations. This will make them better placed to take on the challenges in life.
The acts of choosing, growing, preparing and/or eating food allow children to explore these skills and build confidence for a happy, healthy life.
Here are some ways you can involve your children in food routines and activities at home:
Children can help with:
- washing fruit and vegetables
- chopping, grating, peeling, stirring
- setting the table, serving, cleaning up afterwards
Children can be included in preparing for meals by:
- Helping to plan and prepare food to share for outings and special occasions
- Discussing with you about favourite foods of different family members/friends and foods for special occasions
- Encouraging them to make decisions about food choices. As a parent you can provide the foods that make it easy for these choices to be healthy and children can decide how much and which of the foods available they prefer to eat.
Talk to your child about:
- the food and activity your body needs and why
- foods that make you feel strong and healthy
- how physical activity helps you be relaxed, alert and happy
You can help your child to become confident and happy by encouraging them to choose foods that promote a healthy body and mind
- help make decisions about what foods to buy, meals to cook and activities to do
- cook and experiment in the kitchen. Make it a safe space where they can try new recipes and flavours and be responsible for cleaning up – with you close by to keep an eye on things
- Let them explore taking small risks to try new things. You might need to guide them in new cooking skills
Let your child be creative. Self expression builds resilience – a child can tell us their feelings and thoughts through art, music, writing, craft or cooking
- create a menu for a meal at home or choose/prepare recipes
- design a special table setting for a special occasion
(Even young children can join in if you choose tasks to suit their age)
Allow children to be involved in ‘cooking for a cause’. Thinking about and caring for others is an important life value – especially in a family crisis
Children can :
- Help prepare meals for family or friends going through tough times
- Help plan a meal for a special person or for special occasions