Cooking meals for your family can feel daunting enough. Involving your kiddos, too? That can definitely feel overwhelming. But while clean up may take a little longer, there are definite benefits for parents and little ones when it comes to cooking with kids.
You get extra quality time together.
Before I started involving my boys in the kitchen, I felt like they would get to have fun with their dad while I was in the kitchen doing all of the prep and cooking for meals. Especially after a long day of work, even though I knew I was doing a great service for the family by preparing a wholesome meal, I also hated missing out on spending time with my kids. Bringing them into the kitchen gave me the best of both worlds. Now, we catch up and chat about our day and get to do a fun activity that benefits us all together.
It comes with built-in teaching moments.
Cooking offers a beautiful mix of science, math and creativity—without ever feeling like traditional school. I love to use our time in the kitchen to sprinkle in (pun intended 😉) lessons. In doing so, I am able to teach them math and science in a fun, organic way they enjoy. Plus, we all love a lesson you can also eat!
You can raise more adventurous eaters.
I want to preface this by saying that I know many kids can be picky eaters, especially at this age. I am blessed with wonderful eaters who will try anything once, but with that said, I do feel like involving them in the cooking process really helps with their willingness to try something new. They can touch, taste, and smell each ingredient along the way, and I’ve found that when they have spent time preparing a meal, they are more likely to try it…and actually like it!
It builds their confidence.
There is nothing more satisfying as a parent than to watch my child try to do something and succeed. To get them involved in cooking from a young age, start with small, age-appropriate tasks, like picking basil leaves, washing produce, and turning the blender on and off. These may seem small to an adult, but they are super exciting (and important feeling) responsibilities for kids! As their confidence builds, move on to tasks that include mixing or chopping (with adult supervision). Before you know it, they’ll be making their own sandwiches or scrambled eggs. (They might even start cooking for you!)
It helps raise independent children.
When your child begins to gain confidence and can make something on their own like a PB+J or scrambled eggs, your life will change (no really, I promise). Think about how many meals and snacks you make in a day—it probably feels like a million! If you can get to a place where your child makes their own breakfast or lunch, they’ll feel more confident as they contribute more to the family and it will take something off your very full plate. It’s really a win-win for all!