Reasons to Encourage Your Kids to Help You With CookingIf your current lifestyle doesn't allow you much time to plan and cook meals, make a change. Get into the habit of planning meals, shopping for food and preparing it. Encouraging your kids to help you with cooking ends up benefitting them in more ways than you can probably imagine. If you are currently pursuing an online degree in nutrition, you already know the benefits of learning how to choose and prepare healthy foods. Beyond that, there are other important reasons to invite your children into the kitchen:
- Cooking builds self-esteem. Participation in all of the different stages of cooking allows children to experience a degree of independence and realize that they can complete tasks that lead to final, satisfying product. If they are successful, they will develop the ability and confidence to try new, more complex tasks.
- Children learn while cooking. When working with recipes, children learn about math and science through measuring, counting and changing food into different forms. For young children, this can help them apply skills they are learning in school in real-world applications, which makes learning more relevant and enjoyable for them.
- Cooking together helps create family bonds. Spending time together in the kitchen gives you the opportunity to teach children new skills, reminisce about past events and learn new things together. Your children will remember the times that you spend together for years to come.
- Cooking together helps children develop creativity. Try looking in your refrigerator and pantry together and select ingredients. With your help children will learn how to choose the right type of ingredients to create a nutritious meal. If you don't have the things you food and spices you need at home, decide what you want to cook, make a list and take a trip to the grocery store. When you're shopping in the grocery store, you can talk about how to buy foods on a budget or what types of things you can buy for an extravagant meal.
- Cooking teaches children about food safety and sanitation. With your guidance, children can learn that you must wash your hands before preparing food. They also will learn that you should clean and sanitize surfaces between meat and vegetable preparation to avoid cross-contamination.
- Cooking allows children to learn responsibility. As they learn, they can begin preparing simple meals for the family, which is a terrific confidence builder. This also allows you to delegate cooking responsibilities to them on days that you aren't able to fit it into your busy schedule.
SourcesFood Savvy Kids (2012)
New York State Department of Health: Child and Adult Care Food Program (2012)