As a mom, teaching your children how to obey is a vital lesson. Our children need to learn that they can trust in our authority over them, just as they can trust in the authority God has over them too. Learning how to obey their parents is the first step to them learning how to obey and trust in God.
But training in obedience can be so challenging. I think this is probably one of the most frustrating and stressful parts of parenting. At all different ages kids will show at least some level of resistance towards obedience. And, unfortunately it’s apart of our sinful nature that first entered into man the very first time man disobeyed God. So it’s something that we, as parents, will always face as we raise our children.
However, training children to obey doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, there are some things that we can teach them just in the everyday activities that we do with them. These are times that their little brains are soaking in key concepts without them even realizing that they are practicing a character trait, such as obedience.
And one fun way that we can train our children’s brains to obey what we tell them to do is by cooking with them!
Getting your children excited about cooking with you
The first step to using cooking as a training exercise in obedience is to make sure cooking with you is a positive thing that your children look forward too. It’s important to keep things light and not stressful so that it’s something they are excited for.
Avoid snapping at them or making them afraid of cooking. But rather, gauge ahead of time what they can safely do with you based on their age and maturity level. Then make it clear what they will be able to help with.
Of course, it’s important to make sure they know what’s safe and what’s not, but make sure the overall mood is a positive and fun one so that it’s an activity that they will look forward to doing with you rather than just another chore that they dread.
Here are some ideas that you can try to add to the excitement of cooking with you:
- Put on some fun music in the background as you cook, keep it upbeat and cheerful
- Make sure to praise and thank them for being such good helpers
- Keep your tone and attitude happy, fun, and not stressed or rushed as you cook together
- Allow them to actually help with whatever they are capable of at their current age/maturity level
- Get dressed up in aprons (for you and for them) and chef hats to make it even more fun
- Let them reap the rewards of a delicious meal or dessert when their finished
The key to making cooking or baking an exercise in obedience
Now that you’ve got your children excited for cooking, you’re probably wondering how in the world this helps teach kids obedience. Well, let me explain.
This kind of training is more of a subconscious training. As humans our brains are amazing sponges for learning. And we often train our brains to do things, even when we don’t consciously realize it. This is how bad habits are formed most of the time.
Let me show you an example: You know how sometimes it seems like you’re even more tired after hitting your snooze button on your alarm clock and the more and more you snooze the harder it is to wake up? That’s because you’ve inadvertently trained your brain to associate the alarm sound with going back to sleep.
Our brains are pretty amazing in this way. On the positive side of it you will hear some people talk about how you can “fake your way to confidence”. Because you fake that you’re confident until you feel it. Well this is because you are training your brain to be more confident.
And we can utilize this in our children doing exercises similar to this in that they are actively practicing obedience, but it’s not entirely obvious that’s what they’re doing. You scoop out an ingredient and tell your child to pour it in the bowl. Or if your child is old enough, you tell them to chop up some of the onions. And they do it. They are practicing obeying your instructions, and even though they might not realize it, they are training their brains to follow your directions.
This is the key to making cooking and baking an opportunity for your children to practice obedience. It has to be done in a way that they are following your instructions in a positive and excited way. This way they associate obeying you with something positive.
Obedience requires trust, and this simple activity reinforces that
In order to obey someone, you need to know you can trust their lead. We obey God because we trust in His leading for our lives. And we need to get our children to that same place of trust in order to obey you open-heartily. Will there be stumbles? Yes. All kids will at some point resist obeying you.
However, the more that your kids feel like they can trust in your leading, the more they will be inclined to obey you.
And a simple activity like cooking together positively reinforces their trust in you. Because they obey and follow your instructions as you make something that turns out (hopefully) super delicious! Plus they have the positive reinforcement of the fun time they’ve spent cooking with you! So subconsciously they are connecting that “following mommy’s instructions = POSITIVE (i.e. fun times with mom and something yummy to eat)”.
Cooking with kids is all-around a good thing, but if done correctly it can also teach obedience
There are a lot of great things about cooking with your kids. It’s good quality time to spend with them. You are making wonderful memories with them. You are building a relationship with them. And you are teaching them how to cook for themselves one day.
But it’s also a good opportunity, if done correctly, to train them in obedience and reinforcing that they can trust in your instruction, which will only lead to good things for them.
So here’s to fun (and educational) cooking times with the kiddos!