5 Reasons You Should Be Cooking With Your Kids

Parents take pride and pleasure in feeding their kids well. That is fine and all, but what they overlook is that cooking does not have to be a predominantly adult domain. If anything, the kitchen can be an amazing classroom, a playful backdrop for learning and honing important life skills. Kids inevitably get older and have to start taking care of themselves. And do not fret: when properly incentivized and approached, they are also quite keen on helping out and doing revered “grown-up things”.


Proper education

For better or worse, cooking is not a part of our school education system. It is up to parents to introduce it to their kids. It all starts early and with the right attitude. First of all, you should strive to keep the mood light and relaxed instead of cracking the whip. You can strike a deal with them beforehand and designate time for culinary endeavours throughout the week. Let them have stakes in the outcome.

Moving forward, you should involve them in the planning process as well. Ask them what they would like to eat and respect their wishes. Going grocery shopping with the kids is another aspect of cooking that may be a fun and valuable experience to have. You can show them what vegetables and fruits look like and explain when they are in season.


Creating a healthy tradition


One of the main goals of this cooking education is to help the kids develop healthy eating habits and cooking skills that will come in handy later in life. Namely, parents are presented with an opportunity to teach the little ones valuable lessons such as how to be responsible, fend for oneself, follow instructions, and work as a team. Likewise, cooking helps the young mind grasp basic math and measuring concepts.

Besides, preparing wholesome and fresh meals is the mainstay of a building a healthy lifestyle. It is a rewarding experience that induces a sense of accomplishment. All your efforts pay off once the smell of the delicious dish fills the kitchen. It does not even have to be some restaurant-grade quality. In any event, it saves a lot of money over the long haul.

Bringing the family closer together


At the same time, you have a chance to bond as a family. In my family, some of the best times were spent around the supper table. I cannot imagine it being any other way. Alas, this is a tradition that sadly many parents forgo. Eating out is a big trend, but the only advantage is the amount of time you are able to save.

I know that increasingly busy schedules are a problem. However, lack of time is often nothing more than an excuse and it leads to serious consequences. We are constantly hearing about family ties being wakened or severed because of activities like cooking and eating together are falling by the wayside. Do not allow this to happen. Learn to manage time better and make family bonding in the kitchen a top priority.

Staying safe and sound


Rest assured that kids can do a lot in the kitchen. They may pass the ingredients, decorate cupcakes, act as taste testers, wash the dishes, and crack eggs. But, it is not a good idea to overwhelm them right away. Instead, transfer tasks gradually, respecting their age. For instance, operating a stove is not advisable for pre-school kids due to risks involved, as well as height restrictions. On the other hand, a dishwasher is more accessible and safe.
Speaking of which, never throw caution to the wind and let them roam around unchecked. Kitchens are teeming with potentially dangerous equipment. When choosing appliances for your kitchen, be sure to get them from renowned and trustworthy brands such as KitchenAid. Close supervision helps, but it is not enough. Always take precaution and restrict access to certain spaces and appliances like blenders and microwaves.

Learning through play


To maximize the benefits for children, you should do your best to awaken the natural curiously and creativity in them. Do not be too rigid. If you ask me, learning through play and fun is learning at its finest. For instance, experimenting is a great way to learn, and yes, it can create a bit of a mess. In addition, make an effort to combine healthy, everyday staples with sweet treats. Do not always cook the same things.

Finally, remember that food is also a good entry point for talks about history, culture, nutrition, family history, health, hunger, eating disorders and other stuff. Of course, when you venture into these deeper waters depends on the age of your children. I would be careful about heavy-handed moralizing because it could put them off. Foster a fine balance between the serious and the fun. Explain in detail what you are doing and why using a language they understand.


Baby steps, leaps and bounds


Cooking is an important survival skill, a rite of passage for adulthood. As a parent, you get to spend some quality time with your kids. So, cherish these moments and make the most of them. Invite the kids to be the part of the process from the get-go. Encourage them to learn by touching, feeling, and tasting. Use a kitchen like a true hub of domestic life. Schedule time to cook together and set the kids up for a healthier future. Hold their hand every step of the way and appreciate the fruits of your joint labour.

About the author

Stella van Lane is a home design consultant based in Sydney. She spends her free time blogging. Stella is in love with coffee, chocolate, music, books and good vibes. Her top interests are health, yoga, meditation and interior design. She enjoys helping other people by sharing her experience and knowledge.