Cooking can be such a therapeutic part of your day. For some, it is nearly a form of meditation. But what about cooking with kids? There can be both benefits and added stress when it comes to cooking with your children. However, it can’t hurt to try to introduce it to their lives and add responsibilities to them as they age. So, what are the facts behind cooking with your children and is it really a good idea? Let’s sift through the following sections to learn more!
Cooking with your kids: you should cook with your kids
1. It is no surprise that parents are busy. Today, most households rely on daycare, babysitters, and schools to care for their children while both parents go out to work. The economy practically demands this kind of structure. The result is then that parents are not able to spend as much time with their children as they should or would like to. Including your child in the meal prep or cooking of family meals can be one way of spending time together!
2. Teaching your children about proper nutrition and safe cooking techniques is important for their futures. One day they will grow up and leave your nest. When this day comes it will be entirely on them to purchase groceries, store them and eventually cook them all properly. Without your guidance in their early years, they may enter their teen and adult years with little to no knowledge of food and how healthy food can benefit their overall health.
3. Encouraging their curiosity about cooking is imperative! Some children are born with a natural gift and sense for flavors and may express a passion for cooking early on. If this is the case, it is important to encourage the passion rather than squander it. In fact, this is true regardless of what they are passionate about.
4. Children love to feel wanted and they love to help out. For example, my son likes to help me clean up at the end of the day. So, when I run the vacuum to clean the floors, he will find and turn on his toy vacuum to ”help” me clean the house. He also likes to help me cook in the kitchen. It makes him feel important and needed.
What you should cook with your kids
1. What do kids love more than sugary treats? Probably not much! So a great food to make with then is something sweet that they can decorate themselves. For example, Christmas cookies, cupcakes, or donuts!
2. Not everything they cook and eat should be sugary. They need to find healthy foods that they enjoy to keep their bodies growing big and strong! Making a veggie pizza from scratch can be fun for them. They will love the idea of having pizza for dinner and if you have more than one child you may consider making individual mini pizzas so everyone can have the veggies and toppings they want!
3. Other foods to make with your kids should include salads, zucchini fries, or smashed potatoes!
How to cook with your kids
1. Make sure everyone washes their hands! It is critical that they learn this step early on. Hands are one of the main transportation devices of germs and if germs are spread to the utensils and food then people can end up getting very sick.
2. Once everyone has clean hands you should gather all required ingredients to make the desired recipe.
3. If your children are shorter than the counter then you may want to find a stepping ladder or stool for them to stand on. Make sure it is level and stable before they climb aboard.
4. Keep dangerous knives and utensils out of their reach until they are old enough to handle them. Safe utensils include wooden spoons, spatulas and rolling pins.
5. If raw meat is involved make sure great care is taken to handle the meat yourself and assign a different, safer task for the children to help with.
Take the time to teach your children about safe and healthy cooking practices early on. Bringing them into the kitchen as your sous chef is more appropriate for 2+-year-olds. Children at two years old and older are able to follow directions and comprehend more of the tasks being done than they would prior to two years old. Let the wheels start turning and the creativity flow!