I have spoken with some foster parents who do not want their foster kids in the kitchen, the very thought bringing about an almost visible gag reflex. "The kids have poor hygiene," one foster mother said. "I caught one licking a spoon and then dipped it back in a jar of peanut butter." These dedicated foster mothers would just rather do the work and provide their foster children with meals and not worry about whether or not watching their foster kids in the kitchen might trigger nausea.
I think about it differently - even though I too have witnessed some big no no's in the kitchen and have a pretty weak gag reflex myself. I want children that enter my home to learn the basics. If a foster child is 10 and older, I teach them how to do their own laundry and how to make basic meals. I do this so that if a foster child is returned home and her parents begin to struggle again, she doesn't have to be the "smelly kid" in the class at school or go hungry every night.
The holidays bring about a perfect opportunity to work with kids in the kitchen. Teach them how to bake cookies and take a batch on a visit with their birth parents or siblings. One of my best memories with our foster daughters last year was teaching them how to bake home made pies. They were so proud of their creations.
I created a new article that lists different ways that working with kids in the kitchen can help increase more skills than just spaghetti, which is good too - right?
What do you think? How have you encouraged foster kids in the kitchen?