I love cooking with my kids at home. I’m not going to say it always goes smoothly, and in fact it’s often chaotic, messy or ends in disaster BUT that’s kind of the benefit of it. I did lots of “cook-a-longs” with my son Raffy during lockdown and he absolutely loved doing it. He’s so keen to try and get involved in any aspect of cooking, even just stirring pots of food etc.
I’ve done less cooking together with Ada, but as she’s gets older and develops more skills I’m planning on getting her involved!
So why bother cooking with kids at home?
Cooking with children can be a fun and rewarding experience for both parents and little ones. Not only does it teach children valuable life skills, but it may also have a positive impact on relationships and nurturing, as well as potentially their physical and mental health, too.
Top five benefits of cooking with children:
1.) Fosters Healthy Eating Habits
Cooking with children is a great way to encourage them to get excited about a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables. When children are involved in the cooking process, they’re more likely to try new foods and eat a wider variety. This can inadvertently lead to a healthier diet – we know from research that being familiar with and having “exposure” to a variety of ingredients can encourage acceptance.
2.) Develops Motor Skills
Cooking involves a range of motor skills, including chopping, stirring, and measuring. By learning these different tasks, children develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Cooking also provides an opportunity for children to practice a little counting, a bit of science, to learn different measuring skills and also helps them learn about using cooking equipment and techniques, too.
3.) Encourages Family Bonding and Nurturing
Cooking together as a family can be a great bonding experience. It provides an opportunity for parents and children to spend quality time together, communicate, and work towards a common goal. It can also be super fun, too – lots of mess and lots of laughter (sometimes!). Cooking helps create positive memories that children cherish for years to come. I know for a fact that Raffy looks back so fondly on all the Cook-a-longs we did together in lockdown!
4.) Teaches Life Skills
Cooking is an essential life skill. By teaching children how to cook at a young age, parents are providing them with a valuable foundation that will help them become more independent and self-sufficient as they get older. Cooking also teaches children about food safety, hygiene and nutrition – all central to healthy living but often now taught less in schools.
5.) Boosts Children’s Confidence
Cooking boosts children’s self-esteem. When children are involved in a meal’s preparation, they feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in their creations. This can help to build their confidence in their own abilities and encourage them to take on new challenges. Cooking might end up being something they really enjoy and flourish at. To get you started together, why not try my recipes for sheet pancakes, banana bread or breakfast muffins?
Don’t forget “cooking” can take many shapes and will vary depending on the age of a child, too. Even the littlest cooks can get involved in grocery shopping, laying the table, spreading butter, stirring porridge, tearing lettuce or helping bake muffins. Any opportunity to teach cookery and healthy eating is beneficial, so start nice and early and you might just end up fostering a long-life love for food!
In conclusion, cooking with children has numerous benefits for both parents and kids. It can encourage healthy eating habits, develop motor skills, boost little one’s confidence, help with family bonding, and teach essential life skills. So why not get your children involved in the kitchen and start cooking together today? Send me any snaps of you cooking with your kids and use the hashtag #cookingwithkids.