When you invite children to cook with you in the kitchen, you teach them lifelong lessons and the ability to make healthier decisions. Kids cooking with their parents/guardians or grandparents has many benefits. Children learn life skills that help build their confidence and a stronger relationship with their parents. It also helps a child develop cognitive and motor skills that prepares them for success academically, and socially.
Making healthier choices
Bringing kids into the kitchen to help you cook teaches them about different kinds of food and their ingredients Giving kids an idea of what ingredients are in their food gives them a better understanding of what is healthy and
what is not. This also gives you and your kids the opportunity to experiment and try to find healthier alternatives to your favorite snacks. For example, when making ice cream with bananas instead of purchasing it in the store, you cut down on sugar and artificial flavors that are in store-bought ice cream.
Going over ingredients when looking at packaging helps kids understand what to look for and what to avoid. For younger kids being in the kitchen is a great opportunity for them to develop their sense of smell, touch, and taste by experimenting with different foods.A child’s ability to make healthier choices in their adult life starts with their parents and what they are fed at home. Cooking with kids and introducing them to healthy options will help them be comfortable picking vegetables or salads, and trying new things, over always having greasy fried foods. Studies show over time as the kids grow up, they will choose healthier options when they learn to cook with their parents while growing up.
When cooking, kids have to pay attention to details of a recipe and remain focused to get to the end product. Kids will build confidence and gain independence from learning to prep and cook a meal. After a few rounds of cooking with an adult kids may even have the confidence to want to try and cook something on their own. It is always easy to start with something like a sandwich or a simple snack recipe when they insist they want to do it on their own. Kids get a sense of accomplishment and pride when they complete a recipe and see their completed fully cooked meal.
This is also a good time to teach children about kitchen safety, things such as not touching the stove top, how to use the microwave, and how to safely check hot food. They learn teamwork and how working together to reach an end goal is better than doing it alone. Remember to continuously compliment your child’s efforts, even when they get frustrated. This will help your child keep calm and boost their confidence so they do not want to quit and give up on cooking. Praising your child in the kitchen also helps build a bond between the adult and child and lets them know that you believe in them.
Math & Reading Skills Improve
Cooking helps a child understand measurements in a real world setting. Kids who learn things like numbers and measurements in a setting like a kitchen as opposed to just on paper are more likely to pick them up easier and remember them. You can help younger kids learn their numbers by having them count out each ingredient as you gather them and add them to the recipe. Older children on the other hand can work on more advanced skills like reading and fractions in the recipe.
Next time you cook a meal, bring your children in the kitchen to help you so they can begin learning these valuable life skills. Both you and your children will benefit from cooking together. You get to have a partner while cooking who will make the experience more fun, while your children learn to be more confident, enhance their cognitive skills, and use the knowledge to make healthier decisions as the grow into adults.