Cooking with your child or children is a fun, no cost activity that will also teach your son or daughter very valuable life skills. Most, if not all kids love helping in the kitchen so you’ll want to encourage and take advantage of it. You’ll also be able to teach them about healthy eating habits.
Depending on the age of your child start with something simple, if they a very young let them make cinnamon toast. They can butter the toast and sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar. Another good first choice is making Saturday morning pancakes. Young children can help measure and mix and older children can bake them too.
There is a multitude of ways your children can help out in the kitchen. For example, even at a young age they can get ingredients out of the fridge or easy to reach cupboards, wash fruits and vegetables, tear salad greens, peel carrots with a safe vegetable peeler. As they get older they can try their hand at more difficult tasks.
Teach your budding gourmet some good basics recipes, cooking techniques and terms as well as kitchen safety. Additional life skills children can learn when cooking are fine motor skills like pouring, measuring and stirring, math skills like counting, adding and subtracting, reading, being organized, cleaning up, shopping, managing money, plus health and nutrition.
Once your child is old enough to read a recipe, manage a sharp knife and hot pots and pans he or she can make an entire meal all by themselves. This is a real bonus for working parents as meal times won’t be a such chore for you. Eventually your children can pitch in or even completely take over the daily task of making dinner!
We all learn best by example, by seeing how it’s done and by practicing doing things. Encourage your child to prepare their favorite meals and encourage them to make healthy choices. Just knowing how to cook means your child will be able to feed him or her self when they move out on their own. They won’t need to rely on fast food, take out, or unhealthy ready prepared food and they save money as well.
You might think it’s quicker or easier to do all the cooking and clean up yourself but you’ll be missing out on spending this special time with your child and the camaraderie that may develop between you. Not to mention the opportunity to teach them so many valuable life skills.