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The Better Behavior Show with Dr. Nicole Beurkens

Dec 12, 2018

My guest this week is Katie Kimball, a former teacher, blogger and mom of 4 kids who founded the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. Through her online blog, Kitchen Stewardship, Katie’s discovered that getting kids in the kitchen and teaching them to cook not only builds life skills but is the best way to show kids that they matter and can make a difference in the world. She believes if every child in America was taught to cook, we would smash statistics on childhood obesity, depression, behavior disorders and more.

In this episode, Katie and I discuss how the kitchen can be a source of connection, confidence, and creativity. Helping children build life skills in the kitchen yields incredible results, allowing children’s curiosity and creativity to peak by engaging with nutrient-packed vegetables and ingredients. Children with ADHD, behavioral challenge, anxiety, or who are on the Autism spectrum gain independence in the kitchen and conquer fears and anxiety by learning valuable tasks. Learn more about Katie here.


Connection and Confidence in the Kitchen

  • Teaching children real tasks helps them see their potential for independence and it builds lasting trust
  • When children learn to complete tasks from start to finish it gives them pride
    • Helpful for children on the spectrum, with ADHD or other mental health challenges
    • Repetition is key; using repetitive language with fun phrases to go along with actions
  • Bringing children into the kitchen starts the process for positive connection and brain development all the way into adulthood


Teaching A New Skill

  • For successful teaching of a new skill make sure to:
    • Strive to maintain a positive, stress-free environment to avoid negative feelings towards cooking or participation in the kitchen
    • Do not teach a new skill during dinner preparation as it can lead quickly to a stressful environment
  • Once the skill has been learned, efficiency in the kitchen naturally beings to take place


Exposure to Vegetables

  • Helps children who have aversion to vegetables
  • ALL exposure to a variety of these nutritious foods counts in preparing their tolerance
    • Shopping at the farmers market, preparing and serving meals
  • Helps support a healthier lifestyle in the future   
  • Vegetables can be assimilated with a healthy fat to help with bitter taste
    • Dips, butters, etc made of healthy whole fats


Where to Begin

  • Pre-schoolers: Reflect and reinforce lessons being learned at school like small motor skills
    • Pouring, aiming for the center, measuring, being careful
    • Must maintain a happy environment
  • Early Elementary: Reinforce their reading and organization and multi-task skills. Those with maturity and interest can be introduced to working with a small paring knife.
    • How to follow a recipe, organize their supplies, how to make a main dish and side dish simultaneously
    • To introduce using the oven, it is important to practice the steps with the oven off first to help with any previously associated fears
      • This is very important to practice with children who have behavioral disorders and mental health challenges
  • Big Kids: Focus on reinforcing prioritization, challenges and problem-solving. Older children can fully execute a meal


School Lunches

  • Have the kids help out with school lunches the night before it makes the morning rush less frantic
  • Have the bigger kids pack their own and the smaller kids help with prep and putting things in containers


Where to learn more about Katie Kimball