Cooking with kids takes a little extra time and patience, but has many benefits. As more families rely on fast food for mealtime and childhood obesity rises, parents can make a lasting difference in their children’s overall health by cooking meals at home and getting the kids involved. Here are some of the great reasons to bring your kids into the kitchen while preparing food for your family.
- Math lessons
Cooking is a practical math lesson for kids. For preschool age kids, they will practice counting as they add two eggs and three teaspoons of this or that. Elementary school kids learn about fractions in a real world setting. If the recipe needs to be doubled or halved, kids can use their multiplication and division skills to calculate the new amounts. Kids of all ages will learn to follow directions as they read the recipe carefully and help add ingredients.
Kids build their self-confidence as they learn something new and see the end result of all of their hard work. They will also get immediate positive feedback from their family as they taste the food they have made. Kids will begin to understand the effort involved in cooking and appreciate it more when a parent works hard on a delicious meal. Cooking builds self-esteem and teaches a good work ethic.
- Life skills
Home-cooked meals are less common in our society as people often pick up carryout food in our busy world. Children who learn to cook at a young age will be more likely to prepare meals at home when out on their own. Cooking is one of the most practical life skills you can teach your children. It provides them with health benefits and cost savings as well.
- Science lessons
Cooking doesn’t just teach math, but science, too. What happens if you add too much baking soda? Not enough flour? Kids will learn how things work and the importance of following directions and using the correct measurements. They will learn attention to detail and what happens if a mistake is made.
- One-on-one time
Kids crave one-on-one time with their parents and cooking provides a great opportunity for some together time. Kids who cook with their parents are more likely to open up and talk about their day and what is going on in their lives. Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore; make it fun and take advantage of the time to laugh and talk together as you work.
- Health benefits
There are many health benefits to cooking at home. Meals are more likely to be well balanced, have better portion control, contain less salt and trans fat and just taste better. By cooking at home with your children, you are providing them with these lifelong habits that improve overall health by training their palate to enjoy healthy foods.
Cooking meals at home with your kids shows them that you are making family time and healthy meals a priority. By teaching them this practical life skill, you are showing them you value their help and want to spend time together.
Six Great Reasons to Make Family Dinner a Priority
- Kids are more open to trying new foods, even veggies
- Portion control
- Opens communication
- Improves family dynamics
- Saves money
- Kids are more likely to have higher self-esteem and lower risk of depression, and are less likely to develop eating disorders (thefamilydinnerproject.org)