Make learning fun, with food!

February 15, 2021

Why should I use food to teach my kids?

I’m going to turn that back and say why not?! I mean honestly, do you feel so great about your child’s education that you think you get to be completely hands off? Maybe pre-pandemic you were satisfied with the time and quality learning, but virtually the whole world has been affected by shutdowns and stressful situations. With that in mind, bringing more joy to learning and to family time is such a powerful medicine for our current lives. (In all honesty this was true before, but now we feel just how important human connection is.) Using food as a vehicle to support learning is great because you don’t have to buy or store anything separate! Another bonus, you get to eat it! One of my favorite reasons for using food as a teaching tool is that it allows us to have a conversation other than ‘good food’ and ‘bad food’. It’s just food and we are counting or identifying phonograms or learning the science of a recipe. There is something inherently fun about getting in the kitchen or being allowed to play with your food. All too often parents are telling kids to ‘stop playing and just eat’ but to be encouraged to cut different shapes or try and stack a tower of blueberries or build a landscape from whatever you find in the kitchen, well it feels awesome for kids.

What are the other benefits of teaching with food?

POSITIVE FOOD EXPOSURES!!!! If you have ever wondered how to get your kid to eat more xyz, then you have likely come across the idea that childreoftenn require at least 10 positive food exposures before they’re willing to eat the food. This can feel really overwhelming and like you’ll never get there because you aren’t serving that food every day so that means you have to figure out the right frequency to offer the meal or food to keep them from being overwhelmed but also often enough that they remember it. Whew 😥(BTW I teach that in my coaching as well as in my book, Blissful Meals). 

I don’t know about you but it is so tempting to think that buying a beautiful wooden lesson set will be the magic trick for helping my kid finally learn to do _____ (insert latest goal here). But honestly, it isn’t. It’s an excuse to buy more stuff that I then have to figure out where to store it. You know what the secret really is? Giving them plenty of opportunities to practice the task. By using food to complement the learning process we are buying one less thing and using what we have on hand.

Get them involved in prep work! Kids thrive with consistency and routines. By making your weekly prep time part of their learning time you can have more learning opportunities and provide more consistency. Bonus is you get help with the work of feeding a family!

How do I know if I’m doing it right?

You’ll need some patience and blind faith here, sorry if that’s not what you want to hear. When you’ve provided your kids with a safe and pressure free environment for them to learn and practice with the foods they will show you with mastery. They’ll be able to complete steps of the food work with fewer instructions from you. They’ll be audibly counting, spelling or identifying numbers and letters without you prompting.They’ll ask if they’re right in what they’re seeing or reading. This is when it’s time for you to PLAY IT COOL. Yep you’re right honey, that’s exactly what it says! You’ll also need to play it cool when they finally decide they want to dunk the bell pepper into the dip they made.     I mean you’ve only been offering it every week for like 3 months. But the moment will finally come. They may not like it, but they’ll be willing to give it a try and that is the win. With patience and consistency you’ll see those subtle changes and that’s how you’ll know you’re doing it right. It may take your kid two weeks or two months to show these signs, but either way you’re providing the learning opportunities in a safe and pressure free way, so it’s the perfect speed for your child.

What counts?

Literally everything. Picking out letters and numbers while waiting in the drive thru line. Making a batch of brownies from the box and reading the cook temperature for the oven. Measuring third cups of trail mix for snack bags. Washing the grapes to put into snack bags. It is all a time to connect with you. Stop scrolling pinterest for lesson plans, stop feeling guilty that you haven’t done the extra ideas your child’s teacher has given you, and just focus on connecting with them over something you both need to do everyday – EAT. Make a batch of cookies you used to make with your grandmother. Tell them a fun story about you at that age while you both measure out ingredients. They’re learning the importance of family, the craft of storytelling, and  the steps to the recipe. Those are incredibly valuable lessons that only you can teach💖

If you’re unsure where to start, Courtney can help. Set up a call to discuss your goals today.

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