It seems to me that kids are always eager to get into the kitchen.
For one, the end result is usually some type of delicious FOOD and who doesn’t love that?!
For two, YOU are there. Ask most kids if they’d like to help you in the kitchen and chances are they’ll say yes, because they want to be with you (whether they admit it or not).
Teenagers, tweens, school-age kids and even toddlers can help in the kitchen. Since she was only 16 months old, my little one has been perched in her clip-on high chair across from where I prepare our meals, grabbing at ingredients and “asking” to help.
Studies show and experts agree that getting kids involved in the kitchen at any age has far-reaching benefits for their sense of self, connections to others, their health and their future.
Isn’t this what we all want as parents?
Sense of Self
- Kids feel a sense of accomplishment when they finish a recipe they can share with their families.
- Kids feel like they’re contributing something valuable to their family
- The positive experience of both planning for and executing their plan can help build self-confidence
Connections to Others
- Kids are more likely to sit down to a family meal when they’ve helped prepare it
- Parents and kids get to spend quality time with each other in the kitchen
- Kids learn sequencing and turn-taking from following directions in a recipe
- Kids who learn to cook and eat well may be more likely to eat healthfully as adults
- Kids are more likely to try unfamiliar ingredients (ie. vegetables!) when they’ve helped choose and prepare those ingredients
- Kids learn how to think ahead (choose a recipe), organize (make a list and shop for the ingredients) and follow through (prepare the recipe) with a plan. These executive functioning skills will help them with similar projects they may have in school or tasks they want to complete later in life.
- Learning to cook is a life skill that your children can use as they grow up and live on their own. They may even cook dinner for you one day!
Are you convinced? Are you ready to get started?!
Check out some tips on HOW to get your kitchen (and yourself) ready to cook with kids.