Just in the last few months, I’ve noticed something interesting start to happen each time I enter the kitchen that I didn’t necessarily initiate. My daughters follow me in there, curiousity getting the best of them, and they stick around to “help” me cook.
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Now, you should know that I’ve always been all for kids cooking in the kitchen. When our oldest daughter was just 9 months old, we bought her a kid-safe knife so she could start learning how to cut different foods. Don’t worry, we didn’t let her really try anything with it until she was 18 months old. And even then, we were doing most of the work.
At that time we brought our second baby home from the hospital, and I didn’t have time to get my oldest in the kitchen to cook with me anymore. I guess I didn’t really have a great excuse other than that I was a mess, so if she came into the kitchen with me I’d just get mad at her over every small mistake she made.
So even though I loved the idea of having my kids cooking with me in the kitchen, the reality was that I was much too impatient to let it happen. I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
I didn’t want them in there to slow me down.
I didn’t want them to make a mess.
I had no desire to get into a bad mood every time I cooked, especially since cooking is one of my favorite things to do.
Now my oldest is turning four this summer and her little sister is two. And they both are curious as heck and just want to do something in the kitchen every.single.time I’m in there! Even if it’s counterproductive!
Instead of pushing back and distracting them with something else to do while I cook, I have allowed for them to participate. It hasn’t been fun nor easy for me, but I’ve learned so much in just a few months. This experience has given me an awesome, new perspective on kids cooking in the kitchen.
While you might picture yourself having a wonderful time while baking chocolate chip cookies with your kids, it’s probably not going to end up quite that way. The truth is, kids will make mistakes over and over again. Your patience will be tested, sometimes more than you would like, but hopefully you’ll become more patient because of it.
6 Wonderful Benefits of Cooking with Your Kids
Because I have been letting my kids cook with me, I realize that there are so many amazing benefits to it, for both you and your child. Here are my top reasons why you should cook with your kids:
Cooking Skills for Life
No matter your child’s age, they are learning new skills that will build on each other. You will notice with each passing year how much better they are getting in the kitchen. By the time your child leaves the home, if you’ve cooked with them enough, they should be able to cook their own meals that are hopefully healthy and also tasty.
Improving Your Own Qualities
I doubt I’m the only mom out there who gets impatient when their child makes a small mistake. It could be as simple as getting flour all over the floor or dumping half of the mixture in the bowl onto the table. Hopefully, by cooking with your kids, you will slowly start to develop more patience as the years go by. Obviously, when your child is a toddler and prone to not listen, your impatience might shine through the most. But each passing year, you will gain more patience and a love for cooking with your family.
Kids Will Eat What They Cook
Kids are 99.9% more likely to taste anything that they made in the kitchen (and, yes, I made that statistic up). When your kids get involved with the cooking process, they want to taste it. At least, that’s what I’ve noticed with my own kids. I also ran across an article in my research called, “Teaching Kids to Cook May Make Them Eat Healthier,” and so I can’t help but think that most kids will be more excited for their food when they have a part in preparing it.
You Will Get a Break Every So Often
Most likely not at first, but over time, you will be able to let your kids take over in the kitchen and make dinner for the family. This will come in handy on those nights when you have to go to a meeting and you just weren’t prepared for dinner. Wouldn’t it be great if they could cook something healthy for themselves and others in the family while you’re away?
Greater Food Knowledge
Sadly, many people don’t have a great knowledge of food. They eat what they know and have trouble venturing away from that. If you cook with your kids, they will be more curious about all the foods you cook, and I think it will motivate you to try new things as well. Everyone eats apples, but how many times have you bought some rhubarb and made something spectacular with it? Knowing about food and what pairs well with other foods is a huge asset to a healthy lifestyle. Your kids will likely grow up making better food choices than their peers who don’t learn to cook.
Fun Times in the Kitchen
Eventually, after you’ve cooked with your kids long enough (or if you’re just way less impatient than I am), you will really start to look forward to cooking with your kids. I think it will be a wonderful time to talk with your kids or just have a lot of fun in the kitchen!
If my daughters had not been determined to get their way in the kitchen, I doubt I would have allowed for them to cook with me very often. While I might be really impatient right now, I hope that I can learn to be much more patient and give my kids the opportunity to learn a life skill that will help them lead happier and healthier lives!
Do you enjoy cooking with your kids?