Years ago, when our little ones were wee, my yobo and I were out for dinner with an Asian family who had just moved to Canada and their 8 year old could not use chopsticks. I thought it was scandalous! I was determine to teach all my offspring to master the Asian utensil. Along with my many things I was sure I would do as my children grew, such as teach them Korean fluently, have them well behaved, good mannered geniuses, use of chopsticks was high up there on the list.
As parenting goes, I have not been able to follow through on all my lofty ambitions. They have temper tantrums like the rest of them and their Korean language ability is severely lacking. But I am proud to say, that they can use chopsticks (phew!). So though their rooms are messy, they can hold their own in a chopstick challenge. Well, the ones over 8 at least.
So besides pride, there are some good reasons why you should teach your child to eat with chopsticks.
1. Improves fine motor skills
You know those skills that help kids write their letters, numbers, and their name. These skills make for great colour-in-the-liners!
2. Improves hand – eye coordination
This will help make your child a future baseball champ or a knitting pro. I’ve also heard the best surgeons are also those who grew up using chopsticks. Hearsay, of course.
3. Builds new pathways in the brain by learning a new skill
With all the talk of neuro-plasticity these days, and the advancement in brain development, why not forage a new pathway or two? A growing brain could always use an extra trail.
4. It takes longer to eat
(which may not seem like a benefit) but it reduces overeating.
Have you ever tried to wolf down a bowl of ramen – or m&m’s for that matter – with chopsticks? It definitely takes longer!
We started with all the kids around 3 and they graduated up through various trainer chopsticks to being able to use the wooden ones. Next step: Korean metal chopsticks!