You have been calling your child’s name, but the smartphone screams louder. How do you initiate more time with your children without having to call them by their complete name? “Kayce Tiongson! You’re in big trouble!”
The days when childhood meant playing outside, shouting in excitement, and running until all energy is drained seems to be a thing of the past. In this era, all the running and yelling happens on a screen – while the child sits on his seat. Parents are concerned. Eyeglasses are sold like hotcakes because of eye strain from staring at screens. How do we beat that colorful screen?
Turn the kitchen into a make-believe playground. No swings needed, just rolling pins, bowls, dough, lots of sugar (careful with that though) and some colorful sprinkles. Oh! Don’t forget the chocolate chips. Baking and cooking with children sounds like trouble – a lot of mess, tantrums, and accidents – but children are to face adventure anyway, why not spend that critical time having fun in the kitchen?
Here are three ways you can have fun with your children (without screen time) by turning your kitchen into a playground:
Flipping, Mixing, and Pouring
Make cupcakes and pancakes! Add some sprinkles here. Nutella and bananas there. And yes, the flipping (When I first flipped a pancake over the pan successfully, I giggled.) Children love to be involved, even in small ways, so let them. Let them know that they are welcome in the kitchen. The mixing and the pouring may seem like simple tasks, but they teach children to be careful, to follow instructions, to wait, and to be creative when needed.
A Smile on a Pizza
I will forever remember those times when our family went to our favorite Italian restaurant because it meant one thing to me: “It’s Make Your Own Pizza Day!” Looking back, we didn’t really make our own pizza, we just put the toppings on it. The dough was ready and the waiters brought little bowls of pepperoni and cheese. They waited until our pizzas were full of our “artsy” toppings – mine was always shaped into a smile. I am almost 30 years old, but I remember those pizza-making nights like it was yesterday. It is a happy memory I associate with my family. Our parents never hurried us when we were busy with our artwork made of pepperoni and cheese. They always smiled. Now that I am a grown-up, and at an age where I can have my own family, I wish to share the same moments with my future children. And who doesn’t love pizza?
Special Seasonal Days
The calendar is robust with holidays. Wouldn’t it be lovely to see children gazing at this mundane object with a look of excitement, instead of the latest gaming fad? All it takes is some curiosity and a look at the upcoming holidays and seasons. You can have the usual Halloween-themed desserts in November. Tropical fruit drinks with colorful ice cubes in the summer. Easy sandwiches before the school year begins. And when the next Frozen movie comes out (if there’s going to be another one), then it’s time to roll up those sleeves and make some Olaf-inspired desserts.
There are so many ways to make the kitchen an inviting place for children. All it takes is a little creativity for children to grow up making happy memories without the smartphone screen. Let’s help create the vivid image of sprinkles on a cupcake or flipping of pancakes instead of memories of “Minecraft” or “Among Us”. Let’s help them feel the warmth and love felt in the kitchen that we felt when we were kids.
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Kayce Tiongson is an English teacher and writer from the Philippines. She has written articles ranging from TV show reviews, pop culture features to church events since the early 2000’s. Her love for writing has grown from the very moment she could write her name in cursive. She is currently working on her novel with a cup of tea always present on her desk and creative ideas visiting her without breaks.
If You Could Do So, How Would You Change The World?
If I could change the world, I would like to be a superhero who can erase every invention that is actually bad for the planet. As for my superhero name, I'm still thinking about it. 😀
How do you feel about putting pineapple on pizza?
It's fine but I'm not a big fan of it. I usually have a bite but later on find myself removing some pineapples. 😀
Schnitzel or Tonkatsu? and why?
Tonkatsu! I love those katsu sets at Japanese restaurants. I also enjoy having my little bowl of sesame seeds and mixing them with the tonkatsu sauce. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. Haha!