I love getting in the kitchen and cooking with my kids! It’s something that I loved doing with my mom and Bigmomma (aka grandma) and I knew when I had children that I would do the same thing with them. Luckily, I married a culinary school trained, hunk-a-burnin’ love of a husband who loves to cook and he enjoys cooking with the kids too!
Unfortunately, in today’s culture, cooking is a lost skill that has been replaced by fast food, quick-fix meals, and TV dinners. Teaching your children how to cook will be messy and it will take much, much longer than usual. But it will be worth every piece of food on the floor and extra time spent. Here are 7 reasons why our children help us cook and why you should too:
Teaches Life Skills
There’s nothing more that I want for my kids than to be able to feed themselves good food when they move away from home. It will make this mama’s heart happy to know that they can cook a decent, healthy meal and not survive on Top Ramen and Chef Boyardee!
Develops Fine Motor Skills
Cooking involves the use of cooking utensils and techniques such as mixing with a spoon, rolling out dough with a rolling pin, measuring ingredients with a measuring spoon or measuring cup, etc. It’s the perfect opportunity to get those tiny hands moving!
Having real utensils available for them to use is important so they can learn how to do things in the kitchen properly. I like to have a separate set for them to use because I can show them something as they do it along with me with their own kitchen tools. What I like about their own sets is that they have kid-safe knives! What better way to teach proper knife skills, plus it saves the kids from having meltdowns when they each have their own tools to use.
Teaches Them To Try New Foods
A lot of times when my kids see a new food or one they haven’t seen in awhile, they are more apt to try the new food while we are cooking than they are when it’s on their plate sitting at the table! I can not tell you how many times my kids will devour a new food while we’re cooking and then want nothing to do with it when it’s on their plate.
Cooking allows them to see the food as it’s being prepared in which you can give them the opportunity to taste when the time is right. Even the pickiest of eaters will be eager to try new foods! I try to encourage my kids to try something at least one time. Maybe they will like it. Maybe they won’t. At least they tried it or attempted to try it, and that’s all that matters!
I cherished the times I spent cooking with my mom and Bigmomma. These are moments that I want my kids to cherish as they spend time cooking with me and my husband. And I already know they look forward to it because they beg to “help cook” every time I enter the kitchen, even if I’m not even going to cook. That makes me smile!
They are also building relationships with each other when they cook because they look forward to cooking together! I love listening to their little conversation about what they want to cook next time and their little meal planning sessions. It’s the cutest little thing!
Teaches Them About Healthy Foods and Ingredients
I love cooking from scratch! I teach my kids the names of the ingredients and give them a little taste as we go. This will mature their palate as well as create a love for fresh food and ingredients. While healthy food and ingredients are my priority and I aim to put homemade and fresh fruits and veggies on their plate the majority of the time, sometimes that just isn’t happening, and that’s alright! The nights when Sam’s Club chicken nuggets, and french fries, with a side of strawberries, comes a-knockin’, this mama still fed my kids a good meal!
Teaches Them About Serving Others
Whether it’s making a snack for their sibling or making a meal for someone at our church, cooking is a fantastic tool to serve others in a time of need or just to serve from their heart. We like to have a “Home Blessing Day”, where we like to prepare for the week ahead. On this day, for our cooking time, we make food likes pancakes, biscuits, waffles, etc ahead of time, and put it in the freezer so it makes breakfasts easy during the week. Doing this serves our family greatly!
Prepares Them For Their Future Family
I know you must think I’m crazy for thinking this far ahead, but let’s face it, time flies! And before you know it, my children will be married, grown adults. By learning how to cook, my daughters are learning how to become good homemakers in preparation for their future husbands and future children. And my son will be able to cook for himself as a single man or with his future wife. What a blessing they will be to their future families!
Do you cook with your children? I’d love to hear your favorite reason why you do!