Do you have young children at home that beg to help in the kitchen? Or, maybe you have an older child who runs the other direction when you try to get him or her into the kitchen? Cooking with kids can be a lot harder at times (most of the time) than cooking alone. However, the benefits of teaching our children their way around the kitchen are so many and can start at such an early age. It’s also never too late to start teaching them how to cook.
With four boys ranging in various ages, I have various levels of help in the kitchen with various degrees of experience. My 20 and 17 year old sons can be quite good cooks when they want to be. My 11 year old enjoys helping in the kitchen but it’s my 10 year old, who is my constant shadow when I’m cooking. He wants to do anything I’ll let him.
What are some of the reasons we should encourage our kids to discover the world of cooking?
- Kids are more likely to eat what they make. This is true. It doesn’t mean that they will devour the spinach or asparagus that they have helped to make. However, they are much more likely to at least try it. And who knows, maybe they will devour the spinach.
- Learning to cook helps kids learn about nutrition. As I’m preparing food with my kids, we talk about the nutrition of the foods we are cooking and how they will benefit our bodies. Of course, the cinnamon rolls we made for breakfast this morning didn’t have much nutritional value but I was able to use even those as a lesson. We talked about what would happen to our bodies if we ate cinnamon rolls for breakfast every morning and what we could eat instead that would benefit our bodies.
- Contributing to the family. Kids need to be able to contribute to the family and feel like they play an important part. Cooking and creating in the kitchen can give them that sense of contributing to the family.
- A chance for bonding. Cooking together is a wonderful bonding experience. Make sure it’s a relaxed atmosphere and not stressful. It’s a great opportunity for teens to open up and talk to you about things that might be bothering them. Just remember, it’s going to take longer to prepare something and don’t worry about every little spill.
- Boosting self-esteem. Talk about a great way to boost a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Let them get creative in the kitchen and then praise them for it. You know that feeling you get when you’ve cooked something for your family or friends and you know it’s good? Well, kids get that same feeling. No matter how young or old they are.
- Preparing them for independence. Kids need to be prepared in so many ways and in so many areas before they leave home. Even if you child is going straight from home to a college dorm, he or she needs to know the basics of cooking. By that I mean more than heating up ramen noodles and cooking hot dogs.
Remember, cooking with kids doesn’t mean you have to cook a four course meal or a fancy dessert with them. Keep it simple. Work it into your homeschool lessons. Are you looking for a Christ based homeschool cooking curriculum to integrate into your lessons? Build A Menu has a 12 week cooking for kids curriculum that can help you out. Or, just get those kids in there and start teaching them basic kitchen skills. Even toddlers can help with a parents supervision. What are you waiting for? Start cooking up some fun family traditions!