Do you remember when you were a child and you thought your dad was Superman and mom was Wonderwoman? Didn’t you just want to be like them? You wanted to play with cars like your dad, hold dolls like how your mom held you, and even pretend to cook like your parents.
I know we are all short on time and it’s easier and far more efficient to make breakfast, lunch, or dinner on our own, but I’d like to encourage you to invite your kids into the kitchen from time to time. Having your child help you cook will provide them with numerous opportunities to learn and develop.
I know, I know. You’re imagining ingredients all over the floor, on the walls, and maybe even all over you! But, take a deep breath…with a little bit of attention and patience, the quality time you will spend cooking with your child will be fun and very beneficial.
Here are some reasons why your child should be your little sous chef!
Cooking provides a natural way for children to learn new vocabulary and their meanings. As you are cooking, talk to your child about the ingredients, the cooking processes, and the changes occur. Read the recipe out loud to your child and go back to it as you cook. This teaches them two of the most important aspects of learning – obtaining information and executing instructions.
Cooking together is a fun opportunity to talk about the various types of foods and their nutrition. Back in the day, I used to eat Spinach because I saw that this is how Popeye got his strength… but I never knew the reason why. Teach your child why eating fruits and vegetables are beneficial to your health.
Sensory experiences are great for brain development. It is amazing how cooking engages all of your child senses – sight, hearing, smell, touch, and of course, TASTE!
Fine motor skills (fingers, hands and co-ordination) and gross motor skills (arm and body), develop through practice, practice, and more practice. There are numerous cooking processes that give your child the chance to improve these skills: stirring, whisking, chopping, peeling, beating, kneading, tenderizing, and much more!
Cooking with your child offers a hands-on way to become familiar with mathematical concepts, especially with theories relating to measurement, numbers, and sequencing. Toddlers can learn to count the number of eggs used in making your favorite omelet and grade-schoolers can get a mini lesson in fractions from how many teaspoons of salt to use in chicken noodle soup. The best thing is, afterwards, you get to eat what you made! Was it too salty? Should you have not added that extra ½ teaspoon of salt?
Your child will feel a great sense of accomplishment when seeing everyone eating and enjoying something they took part in making.
Food plays an important role in every family’s unique culture. Teach your children to follow the recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. You can also create your own traditions! Have them write down their favorite recipes and continue to cook them every now and then. One day, they can share these recipes with their own children!
Developing Life Skills
Cooking is a very useful skill in life, and involving your children in the kitchen at an early age is a big step towards developing their independence for the future.
Keeping Communication Open
Inviting your child into the kitchen is a bonding experience. It opens up lines of communication where you can ask them about their day, what they learned in school, and many other topics of conversation.
Need I say more?
As Supermen and Wonderwomen, take advantage of being invincible, and have your children cook with you! As they share these experiences, they will become more confident, just like their awesome mommies and daddies.
Meals cooked with children are always filled with love. Cheesy, I know, but food made with love just tastes better. =)