- Certified Special Education Teacher
- Licensed Psychologist
- Board Certified Nutrition Specialist
Brain Science Tells Us Picky Eating Can be Cured by Playing With FoodWhat research and brain science also tell us is that any exposure to a food counts… Which means touching the food, smelling the food, even playing with the food can count as an exposure. For the very selective, aka “picky” eaters, you’ll need way more than ten exposures before they might even let the food pass their lips. This means that therapy for picky eaters might include trips to the farmer’s market where the child is encouraged to touch many things (within reason of course and with permission from the seller), to use mashed potatoes and peas to build a structure instead of Play-Doh, and of course, to get in the kitchen and help their parents cook!As the teacher of an online kids cooking class, of course, I was thrilled to hear this! I don’t need research to tell me that cooking has many many positive benefits for all children, including:
- building authentic self-esteem
- laying the foundation of life skills for adulthood
- fostering responsibility and self-discipline in chores
- as well as an attitude of service to the family.
Make Friends with Your Food?You can think of it as a familiarity thing. When you’re out with a new group of people, you might be a bit more anxious, a bit less likely to share your real feelings, and it takes more thought to have a social conversation, even though you might be having a great time. When you’re with an old, trusted friend with whom you have shared many years of life experiences, it’s just easy. You don’t have to think, you don’t worry what they are thinking about you, and you just enjoy your time immensely.Apply that scenario to kids and food: when something feels new, they’re a bit more anxious, a bit less likely to feel open to putting it in their mouth, and it takes a bit more thought and draws from their emotional stores deeper just to get through the meal. But if they are a bit more familiar with the food, if they have hung out with that food for a while, and they know how it feels, how it smells, what it’s called and how to prepare it — it takes a bit less thought. The emotional stores aren’t as drained just by eating dinner. In a way, their defenses are down, and that food just might get past your picky eater’s lips.But why a kids cooking class, and not just messing around in the kitchen?There’s actually one reason for the parents, and one reason for the kids. Parents of selective eaters are stressed out enough when it comes to food, the kitchen, and the dinner table. It’s my complete joy to take some pressure off their shoulders, to do the thinking for them, and to create a positive atmosphere where parent and child can simply sit down and watch a video and have some quality time. And kids? Well first, kids love watching videos, right? There’s a reason YouTube is doing so well. And we all love watching people cook food! There’s a reason there are five million cooking shows out there, and yet it’s so baffling that no one in America seems to actually be cooking… we’re all just watching. Brain science comes back again.
How do You Learn Best?I remember in college when I was studying to be a teacher, how important it was for a classroom teacher to address the different modes of learning for all their students. Learning modalities are the various ways in which information comes at us and we then process it. For example, different people learn best by hearing, seeing visually, reading, or working with their hands. But there are certain statistics about how we learn that apply to everyone. I will never forget this because I think of it often to apply to my own life, that of my former students, and my own children. If you simply receive some piece of information, such as listening or reading, you’ll remember a certain percentage of it. It’s between 10 and 20% I believe. But if you write it down, therefore processing it in your brain and sending it back out your hand, you increase what you will remember by a rather significant percentage. I’m just guessing here, but it’s probably about 40-50% retention now. (Science geek sidenote: The actual act of writing by hand increases memory even more than typing, by the way – a study was done that I heard via a Freakonomics podcast comparing learning retention between students who typed their notes and those who wrote them. Handwriting was far more effective!) If you are able to actually do something, you will learn and remember even more because you have processed it in a different way, and ironically, the most effective way to learn is to teach. When you teach something, you are likely to remember up to 90% of what you’ve learned.RELATED: Which kids cooking class is best for you?
Cooking Videos Help Kids Learn to Cook – And Eat Better Too!Video wasn’t particularly addressed back then, but it’s pretty safe to say (and I have read research since then that shows) that watching other people doing something is going to be better than just reading about it or hearing someone explain it. That’s where video cooking lessons come in. If the children are watching me and the other children do the skills, while listening to me explain it using our kid-friendly memorable phrases, they are likely to process and remember the skills better.And then, of course, comes the doing part for the child. We send those children from the screen into the kitchen to practice the skill, to be hands-on, to truly do the work of cooking. They are building scaffolding for this new knowledge through their sense of listening, their sense of sight, their sense of touch, and, as they practice our memory phrases, even their own voice. So if you want to know how to get your kid to eat broccoli or stop picking the green things out of the casserole, if you worry that your child’s palate is quite beige (i.e. they prefer to eat only pizza, pasta, chicken nuggets, and perhaps a pancake or two thrown in at breakfast), or you just would love your child to enjoy eating healthy foods more, teaching them to cook with our online video cooking lessons for kids may be “just what the farmer ordered.”RELATED: Kids Cooking SubscriptionNot sure if the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse is right for your family? Find out if this online kid’s cooking class is a good fit here!
Your kids can learn to cook, even if you don’t know where to start.
My 4 kids and I created the online Kids Cook Real Food lessons to help bring real food and independence to families all over. Over 10,000 kids have joined us and we’d love to invite you along for the adventure!
PLUS we’re so pleased to offer a little gift from our family to yours: “10 Snacks Your Kids Can Make” packed with our favorites for the road! GRAB THAT HERE!
Your Kids Need Life Skills
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