Cooking Conversation

Experts agree that sitting down together as a family at dinner time has many benefits, see more at the Family Dinner Project.  Preparing the meal can offer a great chance to work on developing communication skills with your child, even a toddler.  Whether your an accomplished chef or just reheating leftovers, the familiar location of the kitchen and the routine of putting a meal on the table make it the perfect opportunity to try these ideas,

Talk about what you’re doing in simple language (self-talk).

Don’t pepper your child with questions, but do bring her into the conversation by pausing and seeing if she responds or tunes into what you’re doing.  This is a way for her to hear language paired with an activity.  Here are some examples of what self-talk sounds like – remember, you’re not teaching, you’re just talking.

  • First I’ll get out the chicken
  • Brrr, the freezer is cold
  • Where’s the knife?  Here it is!  In the drawer
  • Hmmm, what vegetable should we have?  I think broccoli.  Good choice?
  • I’d better turn on the oven.  Careful, it’s hot!

Instead of yes/no questions, offer choices.

With choices, your child gets to hear the vocabulary and may use the word to answer, or he might just point – either way is fine – It’s about turn-taking and communicating, not about drilling vocabulary.  Here are some examples of choice questions:

  • Would you like broccoli or peas?
  • What would mommy want to drink, milk or water?
  • Should we use plates or bowls?