Can Cooking Build Confidence in Children?

One of my big goals for this Summer is to teach my kids how to plan and cook a meal.  They are all old enough to learn this skill and I want them to feel confident in the kitchen!   However I was caught off guard the other day when I came home from an errand and my Eleven year old and her friends announced that they would be making a  “Romantic”  dinner for my husband and I. 

I felt really uneasy about this because we have a gas stove.  I figured none of them knew how to work it AND I didn’t really want the mess in my kitchen AND I admit,   I didn’t really want to eat anything without first knowing WHAT it was AND the process in which it was cooked.  Get what I mean?!

The girls could definitely sense my apprehension and assured me that they knew how to use the gas stove.  I really didn’t know what exactly they had in mind but I agreed that they could go ahead.  I needed to go back out and do more errands and pick up my other daughter so I left.   Upon returning after being gone  1 hr.,  my dining room had been transformed into a sweet romantic hideaway.  Complete with dimmed lighting, blinds drawn, candle lit, fancy table cloth and a special curtain put up in the doorway to hide what they were doing in the kitchen.


Oooohhhh this was so hard for me.  I wanted to see what they were doing in there!  It smelled good though..that’s a good sign right?  My husband got home right after me and we were both ushered into the dining room to “fellowship” while dinner was cooking.   We played along,  figuring dinner would be ready in about 15 min…. “NOT”

After the menu’s were brought to us..yes menu’s…complete with “Main dish”  “side dish”  “dessert” and  “drink”!  They had actually printed it out!  (I forgot to take a pic) Oh and we started with a salad!  These girls actually had 2 side rice dishes to choose from and 2 side pasta dishes to choose from.  You have got to be this a  “Restaurant” or something!! 

Yep it was!!

We ordered and enjoyed visiting as we usually do in the evening…with many interruptions of course to make sure we were doing ok…oh yes and our 13 year old had joined us by now for our “Romantic” dinner date.  The conversation quickly turned from “Romance” to Basketball. much for  “Romance”


Time was passing and we were getting quite hungry but we were assured dinner would be ready SOON! 

What in the world were they doing in there?? 

They decided to give us breadsticks and a smoothie with our salad to tide us over until the “main meal” was ready.  Yes a smoothie..Oh my..what are they doing in my kitchen!? 

“Lord help me not to try to take control of this situation!”  What was that “OOPS” and “CRASH”??!!

Dinner was finally served… an hour later……..



Guess what?  The dinner was deeelish!  They did a great job..the chicken was even thoroughly cooked!  … They even cleaned up after themselves!!  Notice EVERY cupboard open! LOL


So what was I ever so nervous about?

Well….. about half way through our dinner we found out that they had used all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher…YUK..(they thought they were clean!) my husband and I tried very hard NOT to freeeak  about this…Then they scratched up one of my Teflon pans (very badly)  and burnt the bottom one of pans..still scrubbing on that one!

But look at those faces…they were so pleased with themselves and oh well my husband and I are still alive and pots and pans can be replaced!


I’m still finding slops and slurps around my kitchen from that night of cooking….


What would you have done?  Would you have let them cook??  What are you willing to sacrifice to help your children learn?  ;0




  1. says

    I understand how nervous you were. My daughter loved to bake, but she was very messy while doing it. Everything was clean after she was finished, but I could not stand to stay around while she was ‘doing it her way’. It was always delicious. My view is that they can’t learn if we are always hovering over them wanting things done ‘our’ way. Glad you had a great time! :)
    Geek Girl recently posted..Amazon Free App TodayMy Profile

    • says

      Isn’t that sooo true Geek Girl! It was all I could do not to interfere but when all is said and done I’m glad I stayed seated and not hovering! :) And they were just sooo proud of themselves! As they should be :) Thanks for stopping by and Blessings!

  2. says

    My 5 year old helps me in the kitchen all the time. She loves it! She’ll proudly announce at dinner that she thinks the did wonderfully on the rice, or the salad, or mac and cheese. :) She loves it, and I can’t wait to have her cook me dinner all by herself someday. It’ll be worth all the scratched tephlon, spilled flour, and eaten eggshells. :)
    Shayla Burks recently posted..Two in One, and not even CHEATING!My Profile

  3. says

    I love this post! My parents let us take charge a few times to cook dinner when we were kids and it was so fun. We had such a sense of accomplishment, as it seems your children did too. Love the smoothie appetizer! :)
    Audrey recently posted..Have a Great Weekend!My Profile

    • says

      Hi Audrey! That is so awesome and such a confirmation that you felt so accomplished..sometimes I think I “own” the kitchen for making a big meal..Oh I let my kids do some smaller things .. but not this big..:) Thanks for your encouragement! Blessings!

  4. says

    That is so cool! I would let them cook in the kitchen at that age. Yes I would have been quite nervous with the stove too tho. We have a gas stove as well. Pots and pans can be replaced (tho we prefer not to lol) and yes this is worth the learning experience for them.

    I would have been quite happy about how well they handled this and how thought out it was. Of course the dirty dishes part would have got me too!
    Dawn recently posted..Beautiful Pandorus Sphinx Moth We Saw on Our DeckMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Dawn! Yes I was so proud of them!! I’ll have to get over the pans though..LOL And oh those little spills down the cupboard that I’m still finding days later..ugg..oh will they ever learn right?! Blessing to you!

  5. Laura Broach says

    Great post! I love it! 2 of my 3 kids love to get in the kitchen so this is a great idea to give them a little more freedom and confidence!

  6. says

    The fact that they put so much thought into it, wanted it to be special, set the mood was just awesome. The time it took to hang the sheet to keep the surprise, to make up and print the menus, to prepare and clean up makes up for the mistakes (dirty dishes, burnt and scratched pans). Their delight with themselves is worth it all. Great job girls. It brought back memories of my childhood and doing similar things for my parents (usually mother’s day) and for a while I was on a baking kick for making my dad special cakes just because. It also reminded me of when my kids were young and would cook for me! Be happy they are getting into messes at home in your kitchen where they are safe and having fun than other types of messes kids these days get into! Great girls, glad you enjoyed.
    Doreen Lombardo-Campisi recently posted..The Chef’s ChallengeMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Doreen! You are so right..why should I complain when they are cooking at home and having fun! LOL I love that you used to do that for your family! I had to cook dinner..but it was my chore so it wasn’t fun :( BUT I do still love to cook :) They did put sooo much effort into the whole thing..amazing. I’m very proud of them! Thanks for the encouragement and for stopping by! Blessings!

  7. says

    Letting our kids not only build confidence but trust as well. I remember my second eldest daughter when she was about 8 years old. She cannot be kept near the stove to the point of getting burned. She was that persistent and eager to learn. Until one day I let her do the cooking. We had to bear the taste of her cooking on her first months, sometimes too salty, sometimes not. Despite all the jokes, she never gave up, until there came a time she represented her school in a cooking competition where she won. Now she does the cooking in our household and takes up Food Technology in college.

    It was kind of hard when I let her cook the first time but her interest and perseverance was enough for me to trust this daughter of mine. Now I rely her so much that I know I will surely miss her once she decides to live on her own.

    sarah recently posted..When You Were BornMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Sarah! WOW that is such an awesome testimony!! What a great encouragement you are because I have this daughter that REALLY wants to cook ALL THE TIME! It makes me nervous but you have really given me confidence to trust her! Thank you so much!! Blessings to you and your awesome kids!!

  8. says

    Yes, I would have let them cook, but I’d been as nervous as you. I do believe there comes a time when they can handle more things or are willing to challenge more things than we think they’re ready for.
    It sure looks like a lovely evening, dirty dishes and all.
    Donna recently posted..Seven Lovely BlurbsMy Profile

    • says

      It was great fun! Yes it’s better to let go..I think I haven’t had a child quite so ambitious as she is so I will have to learn to adjust to that! LOL! Blessings..hope you are having a great weekend!

    • says

      Hi TTT! Yes it is so fun..we were definately surprised and had no idea that they could pull off a meal like was fantastic! :) That is so special that they do that with won’t be long and they won’t need Daddy and they will surprise you AND Dad with a special meal :) Thanks for stopping by! Blessings!

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