Whenever we are learning a new skill or establishing a new habit it is repetition that helps us. Whether it is doing it 27 times (or however many times they say you need to do something to create a habit) or simply just doing it over and over again – repetition is a part of any training process. As parents we need to consider this. We need to give our children opportunity to practice over and over and over again – whether we are teaching a moral skill such as saying please and thank you, or a math skill such as multiplication tables or a life skill such as cooking pizza.

This concept has been brought fresh to my attention as a friend shared with me what she was doing with one of her daughters. Her daughter is a good cook but dawdles…. She takes soooo long to finish whatever she is cooking. The mother decided this had to change – that in real life you don’t have the luxury of taking all afternoon to bake cookies. So Mum has set time every day for the daughter to bake the same recipe of cookies. Day after day after day. This is not a punishment – it is a training exercise. She races against the clock and each day she prepares the cookies and cleans up quicker than the day before.

There is something in that. My children have a limited number of recipes that they set out to learn in a term. Each time they are on “Cook’s helper” they get to cook their chosen recipes. We start out with them watching me and then the next time they do it with me supervising, the next time by themselves with me on call and then the next time by themselves (this is the general progression.) But they are only on “Cook’s Helper” one week in four. So they are only looking at this recipe once a month. They are able to cook the recipe by the end of term but they aren’t quick, and they may still lack confidence. Cooking it day after day after day – now there’s a thought. But there is only so much pizza, or spaghetti bolognaise, or cookies that you can eat!

As my friend and I talked about this she suggested freezing it. What a great idea – a new twist on bulk cooking. So this week Nomi is on pizza duty – though she won’t be able to cook pizza bases every day by the end of the week she would have made 5 batches of pizza dough. The freezer will be well stocked.


I see two main benefits of having food in the freezer

  • for those nights that you need a little extra help
  • for times when you’d like to bless another family

So I’m going to change their recipe list – it will need to include one freezer meal using a technique or ingredient that they are unfamiliar with. They will cook that one recipe about 3 times during their cooking week giving them that familiarity and confidence that repetition brings.

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 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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