Do you let your kiddos help out in the kitchen? If you don’t, now is the best time to start!
Cooking is a basic life skill, and learning how things work in the kitchen can help them grow into healthy, confident adults. Don’t worry—you don’t have to turn every cooking moment into an episode of Top Chef. Read on to find out the many benefits of getting your kids in the kitchen!
They’ll have more interest in food. Gone are the days of thinking twice if your kids will gobble up the latest Tasty recipe you want to try: the more involved they are in food preparation, the more likely they’ll eat the dish.
Get them involved in the little things, from picking out ingredients in the supermarket, to tossing them into the pot. This gets them excited in food, as it demystifies dishes for them early on. This also makes them interested in trying different cuisines! (Which will also make it easier for you to feed them when you’re traveling!)
It builds confidence. Nothing can compare to the sense of pride a child feels when he or she has accomplished something. What more if it nourishes his or her entire family? Kids of all ages can help in the kitchen, and they don’t need to have Master Chef Jr.-like skills to do it.
Toddlers can pour pre-measured ingredients, stir batter, or help in washing fruits and veggies; younger kids can help measure out ingredients, work a blender, or chop soft food; and older kids can be taught basic knife skills, and work a stove top (with assistance!). Knowing that their input is needed for the family to have a great meal is great for their self-esteem.
It teaches them to be creative. Learning how to read a recipe teaches kids how to follow instructions (it also helps them flex their math skills). But we all know that learning the rules is the first step in breaking them.
Knowing the basics of cooking encourages them to later on be more creative in the kitchen—whether it be in recipe development (will artisanal, grass-fed butter work?), or in presentation (bento meals, here we come!).
It’s definitely healthier. What could be healthier than cooking your own meal from scratch? This way, the kids (and you!) know exactly what goes into the food they’ll eat. What’s more, prep time is a great opportunity to teach them about the health benefits of the food they eat.
You can teach them about how meat contains protein to help build muscles; how fish has fatty acids that help us stay alert in class; and how a colorful rainbow of fruits and veggies keep us strong and healthy.
Brings families together. Sure, getting kids in the kitchen could end up in a mess worthy of a Queer Eyemakeover. But it’s all worth it, because it means building memories you and your kids can cherish forever.
Making meals together means more time to bond. The clean-ups might be a hassle; but you’ll definitely be living a more meaningful, richer life. Use this time to talk about absolutely anything, from your favorite meals growing up, to which Kardashian is your fave.