Many parents avoid cooking with their children because they are either afraid of how much more work it is going to make for them, or they worry about how much extra time it is going to take to accomplish the job. But there are several reasons why cooking with your child is a good idea, and there are many tips you can use to make the whole experience a little easier.
5 Reasons to Cook with your Child
1. A More Advanced Palate/Willing to Taste and Eat
Children who help cook their own food are more willing to taste and eventually eat said food. These children will also grow up with a more mature palate and a taste for better and healthier ingredients. The best rule to apply to children – especially picky eaters – is to taste. Always make it a rule that your child needs to at least taste the food before deciding whether or not he or she likes it. You do not need to force your child to eat food that they do not find tasty – but always require a taste so that a decision can be made.
2. Quality Time
Cooking and eating together means spending quality time together – talking, laughing, and experimenting. Cooking together also creates cooperation and communication, siblings get along better, and family members of all ages can work together while cooking in the kitchen.
3. Learn to Follow Instructions
Cooking together allows children to learn how to follow directions – this is an important skill to develop and practice so that they will know how to follow directions in other areas of life and even school.
4. Create Interest in Healthy Food
As your children help you in the kitchen you can introduce them to new and exciting healthy foods like less common fruits and vegetables and more complicated dishes. Help develop an interest in healthy foods and talk about the importance of eating more healthily.
5. Develop Motor Skills
Cooking with your toddler will help him or her to develop her fine motor skills – if you want him or her to succeed in preschool and other areas where fine motor skills are developed, then start by cooking together.
4 Tips for Cooking with Your Child
1. Practice Makes Perfect
Cooking with your child will probably be a little difficult at first. If you, or your child, can only handle a little at a time to start with – then only do a little at a time but always do a little and add to that amount each time you cook together. You can start by allowing your little one to hold the measuring cups and spoons. Allow your child to pour and mix things that have been measured out already. It won’t always be easy but practice makes perfect and soon you will have more fun when your child is there to cook with you.
2. Require the Same Amount of Obedience Every Time
Cooking involves a certain level of danger – things like knives, blenders, mallets, stove burners, and other dangerous kitchen utensils can make having children in the kitchen very stressful. Explain to your child the things he or she is not allowed to touch or handle yet and require that same amount of obedience every time. There must be a consequence when your child fails to follow these rules so that you can keep the cooking experience a fun and a safe one.
3. Clean Together While Cooking Together
Your child can help by wiping the counter while you do some of the more dangerous or grown-up tasks like chopping or blending. Cleaning up while you cook together is a great way to keep the kitchen from looking like you had a tornado come through it.
4. Taste then Wash or Taste at the End
If you allow your child to taste the food as you go, then he or she must wash hands constantly. Or, to make things easier you could make a rule of no tasting till the end.
Why not use the festive period and start with some gingerbread biscuits?