If this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen – stay with us! There are plenty of reasons why you want your kids to help you cook. These include encouraging lifelong healthy eating habits and covertly practicing reading and math. Read on for more!
1. Curiosity to try new foods
The more that kids participate in the behind-the-scenes of eating, the more likely they are to try new foods. This is especially helpful for picky eaters or when you want to get your kids out of a “pizza and pasta” rut. So go ahead and involve kids in activities like grocery shopping, picking out produce at the farmer’s market, and planning family menus.
2. Create a habit
If your child grows up contributing to family meal preparation, cooking meals at home becomes “normal.” This creates a habit she will carry into adulthood. This can ultimately translate into a healthier diet, because we know that people who eat most of their meals at home eat less calories, salt, and fat.
3. Cultivate skills
Your child will cherish the special time spent helping you in the kitchen. But unbeknownst to her, she will also learn! She’ll learn how to crack an egg, how to properly mix wet and dry ingredients to make batter, and how to layer ingredients on a pizza. These are important skills for a budding chef!
4. Train helpers
A messy toddler is likely to create more work for you in the kitchen, but as your child gets older, she’ll turn into a legitimate helper. Soon she’ll know how to measure ingredients, set the table, and chop veggies without assistance!
5. Practice reading and math
Reading a recipe allows your little one to hone her reading skills without even thinking about it. Interpreting fractions into real-world measuring cups and spoons, doubling or halving recipes – these are practical examples of math skills at work.
6. Foster pride and self-confidence
Nothing inspires self-confidence like being helpful and seeing the finished product of hard work. It’s truly magical to have a young child mix ingredients for banana bread, watch you put it in the oven, then half an hour later say, “Where did that banana bread come from? Wait – did we make that??”
We hope that these reasons have motivated you to let your kid help in the kitchen. Most kids are naturally curious to try new activities. But just to egg them on a bit more into participating in the kitchen, we have an upcoming article on how to get your child to help in the kitchen. Stay tuned!