Should you encourage your children to spend time in the kitchen and help you with cooking when they are young, or is it better to leave this until they are older, and have to fend for themselves?
There are lots of benefits to helping your children to learn how to cook. It’s an essential skill, but you can also incorporate a whole load of other skills into your cooking activities at the same time, helping your child to develop and grow as a person.
6 Benefits of Cooking With Your Kids
Let’s dive into six of the main benefits of cooking with your kids before you make a decision on whether or not you’re going to get them involved the next time you bake or cook a family meal.
Language, math, and science
When you think about it, you won’t find many better opportunities to teach your children math, science, and language skills that have practical use. This can be far more effective than just sitting them down with a textbook and trying to do some exercises.
Science lessons in the kitchen can vary from how sugar works to how yeast makes things rise, and why we need to cook certain foods to make them safe to eat.
Math lessons in the kitchen include ratios, measuring, and some simple calculations that your children can carry out in order to help you and learn the basics of following a recipe.
Following instructions is also vital, and this usually comes in the format of a written recipe, so there are plenty of English lesson opportunities there, too. Food, and the art of cooking, incorporate so many aspects of everyday life that we may not even think about.
Developing motor skills
Motor skills are crucial to developing at a young age, so we encourage children to learn these skills in the kitchen. Simple things like mixing can help young children develop skills like hand-eye coordination, which are essential as we get older.
One day, children are going to need to look after themselves by cooking their own meals, so it is crucial that they get the motor skills to at least help out from a very young age.
Creativity and self-confidence
The kitchen doesn’t have to be all about following specific recipes or just creating the same boring meals time and time again. It is a place to be creative. Encourage your kids to run wild with their creativity.
If you are baking, why not get them to come up with some new recipes or additions that you can put into their cookies or cakes to see what works and what doesn’t? This can encourage creative thinking and also some logical thinking as children think about what flavors are likely to work.
Being able to contribute and do something useful around the house can also be a really big confidence boost for children. Not only knowing they have gained these new skills, but being able to share their creations with others. Inviting the neighbors or their friends to try some of their freshly-baked food can be a big boost to their confidence, and this is something plenty of children need.
Improving acceptance of new food
It is easy for children to get reluctant to try new things, or even verge on being phobic about some types of food, especially if they simply aren’t eating a lot of new things or seeing what goes into meals.
A lot of this is just a peek behind the curtain, and seeing that new food poses no risk and is healthy and good for them.
On top of this, the fact that they have been involved with preparing the food itself means that they are more likely to want to try it. This is a clever way to encourage your kids to try a new type of vegetable.
Most young children are pretty happy to try new things, but as they get a little older, this can become a problem for some parents. Including your children in the kitchen, as much as possible is a great solution.
Quality time as a family
We tend to all live pretty busy lives. Even children might have school, weekend clubs, and other activities that they spend a lot of time getting involved in, and this can take away the chance they have to spend quality time with their parents.
Everyone has to eat, and a healthy, home-cooked meal is the best way to introduce nutrition into your children’s diet, but it is also a way to spend some time with them. If you struggle to set aside time to spend with your kids ordinarily, then you might find that getting them involved in the kitchen solves a lot of these problems.
Setting an example for a healthy lifestyle
This is one of the most important lessons that we can pass on to our children, and the younger we can teach them the importance of being healthy, the better.
Home cooking should be nutritious and fresh as well as delicious, and if you are able to arm your children with skills as well as the desire to cook and eat healthy food, you’re passing on an important habit that could serve them very well for the rest of their lives.
Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring, either. There is plenty of food that can be healthy and nutritious but also delicious and fun to cook with, and occasional treats are fine, too.
Cooking with children can be fun and rewarding for you and your children, and you can set them on the right path in life. Teach them to make healthy meals, and they are likely to continue to use this skill long into adulthood, and you may even be able to build a stronger bond with your children in the process as you spend quality time in the kitchen together making delicious meals.