Cooking with your kids is one of the most fun, rewarding activities you can undertake with them. As soon as my little ones are ready to start helping out, I throw an apron on them and get them to work! Of course, at the beginning it’s little more than turning on the mixer, measuring out the flour, or washing the potatoes…but over time these little skills build up into bigger contributions that really make a difference. Despite the fact that the kitchen environment is totally different with the kids in the kitchen, I’ve found it is a transforming and valuable experience – for them and for me!
It’s no secret that I’m all about getting my kids involved in household tasks. Teaching them these life skills not only prepares them for the practical aspects of life, it also teaches them other very valuable lessons.
Are you wondering if it’s really worth it to cook with your kids? After all, it takes a bit of effort on your part to facilitate this – there’s the time spent teaching, the slower process of food preparation, and there’s a bit more clean-up after.
Is the extra time and mess really worth it?
The short answer is a resounding YES. And just so you’re thoroughly convinced, I’ve listed some of the benefits…
5 Reasons to Cook With Your Kids
1. Creation & Connection
Being a passive recipient of food can prevent kids from truly appreciating the craft of cooking and the journey their food takes to get to the table. Being able to grasp that their chicken, gravy, and mashed potatoes started out as chicken, flour, butter, chicken stock, potatoes, cream, butter, and salt is actually quite profound. Transforming these basic ingredients into a meal that looks nothing like the beginning parts is a real creative task, and draws a crucial connection between kids and their food.
2. A Sense of Purpose & Accomplishment
Including your kids in the very necessary task of feeding the family communicates to them that you know they have value. If they are are working with you in the kitchen, they realize that they are playing an integral role in a very necessary ritual – and the pride that comes from contributing to the cooking is apparent on their faces when they serve the food up!
3. Helps with Picky Eating
Children who are a part of the meal preparation are more open to trying the food they have prepared. Being a part of the process is key to help picky eaters be more open to trying foods.
“Children who’ve had a role in preparing a meal assume ownership of it. More simply: When children make the food, they’re less likely to throw it, or refuse it.” Simplicity Parenting, Dr. Kim John Payne
Even the smallest task in food preparation creates a connection for your child that makes them more amenable to trying new foods!
4. New Skills & Experiences
Your kids learn by watching you. And being a part of the process with you in the kitchen means they won’t just learn how to measure flour or peel carrots – they’ll also learn from all those great little moments you’ll share throughout the time you spend together. How you smell the spices together or exclaim at the smell of onions; or how you watch those egg whites transform from liquid to a fluffy billowy mass or sample the chocolate chips before pouring them into the cookie batter. All of these are fantastic sensory experiences that are adding to their life education.
5. Quality Family Time
When you cook with your kids, you’re building something together – that’s real teamwork! There’s something amazing that happens when your kids realize that they can work with you to accomplish something – and when you all sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor, you’ll see how much it has meant to them.
Do you cook with your kids? Share in the comments below!