Cooking is a basic life skill all kids need to learn. Sure, knowing how to follow a recipe and being comfortable in the kitchen will let them put together healthy, homemade meals when they’re out on their own. But there are lots of other benefits to cooking with your kids that you may not have thought about. It’s not just about teaching them how to feed themselves.
Cooking with kids benefits their development in many other ways too. Just remember to be patient as they learn. It’ll be messy, but it’s worth it!
Broaden Their Palates
When you get the kids involved in prepping and cooking their food, they take pride in their work, making them more likely to actually eat it. My kids always tell me it tastes better when they’ve helped make it!
Cooking together is a low-stress way to encourage your little picky eaters to try new foods. So make sushi rolls together. Pass them the zucchini to wash and chop. Show the kids how to bake a squash. Have fun experimenting with new recipes and new flavours you create together.
Teach Healthy Eating
The best approach to teaching children is hands on. Getting them involved in cooking is a practical way to influence their preferences and steer them toward delicious and nutritious food. Cooking with your kids helps to engage their senses with the colours, smells, textures, and tastes that come with cooking fresh ingredients.
Have them wash the vegetables, cut and season them together, then watch as they roast and caramelize. Measure and pour all the ingredients for your marinade and encourage them to taste the mixture after each addition. Make Christmas baking together an annual tradition. They’ll remember these experiences with you and hopefully want to repeat them later in life.
Build Math Skills
Following a recipe is a real life way of applying math and fractions. Cooking teaches your children how to accurately measure things as well as follow steps in order. And if you have to double the recipe? Now they can practice multiplication!
When your children are ready to leave home and head out on their own, you want them to have the confidence to create healthy meals by themselves. Confidence in the kitchen comes with experience. The more time they spend cooking with you, the more they’ll feel confident and comfortable when they’re on their own.
Time to Connect
In this busy world of homework, extracurricular activities, and carpools, cooking together can be a wonderful opportunity to truly connect with your little ones. That time spent together preparing all the ingredients, attempting a new recipe, and cleaning up will give you lots of time to talk. Your child may find it more comfortable to talk when the two of you are working on a task side by side, as opposed to focusing solely on each other.
There’s no doubt that involving your kids in the cooking process means more time and more mess. Do it anyway. That time spent and mess made are worth it when you’re connecting with your kids and helping them develop skills that will serve them well their whole life long.