Do you like to prepare your own food? Would you like your children to do so as well? Instilling this habit at a young age can be highly beneficial both for the parents and for the youngsters in years to come.
Even though children can be restless, having them around and helping out in the kitchen while they’re still little is actually a rewarding family activity. It’s a good and useful habit that can help everyone connect and develop in many aspects of family life. But just like with every other habit, it is important to be consistent.
Children are inherently curious, therefore, it shouldn’t be too difficult to tap into their inner curiosity and harvest it for a good cause. Even though it’s not always easy to hold their attention for a long time, being patient is well worth the effort in the long run.
One of the best ways to capture your little one’s attention is to make something that is a treat and special. Not only will it anchor the emotion of ‘fun’ when putting on the apron, but the end result will be well worth the effort.
Some great ideas to begin with would be to make –
- Homemade chocolate chip cookies (make them with healthy ingredients and make your own chocolate chips!).
- Smoothies and other healthy drinks.
- Apple chips
- Homemade candy and gummies (make using all natural ingredients with a cute mold)
- Blueberry Muffins
- Cakes or pastries
- And many many more!
Mix something up together even if just a sandwich for starters. Make it as fun as you can. Create a positive atmosphere so that your little helper can’t wait for the next cooking session. Luckily, with cooking you have a lot of room for creativity. Use your imagination and cooking can become your favorite family tradition!
Of course, every child is unique, and requires a different approach. It is up to parents themselves to figure out a way to spark their child’s interest and use that energy to pick up some good habits like helping with cooking.
Here’s why getting your kids cooking and helping in the kitchen is good for both parties:
1. Helping your child pick up planning and organizing skills early in life
Organization doesn’t always come naturally. it is usually cultivated. And what better time to start acquiring those habits than in early childhood? You can assign different tasks (e.g. washing the vegetables, mixing the spices, stirring the gummy mix, shaping or rolling out the dough, dressing the salads, etc.). Always provide positive feedback and turn cooking into a fun planning and organizing lesson.
2. Learning the value of good timing
Preparing a meal isn’t just about mixing the ingredients up and cooking them, it’s also about proper timing. Through cooking your child can learn about the value of good timing and what happens when you forget to do something that is important. Skills like these can be potentially useful in various aspects of life, especially when acquired from very early on.
3. Paving the way to healthier future choices
Parents can influence a child’s preferences to a certain extent by introducing them to healthy choices from very early on. A child learns from their environment, especially at a young age. By preparing healthy food together you may help your child develop a healthy eating routine for years to come.
Take-out food and fast food is tempting, and every once in awhile it is okay to indulge. But it is crucial to talk to your children about the importance of the food that we eat. By using quality ingredients, you have the opportunity to instill a healthy, long-lasting habit. Also, just by involving them into this activity significantly increases the chance that they’ll actually try and eat the dish.
In the fast food age that we live in, appreciating a home-cooked meal is a desirable habit. It is important to instill healthy eating choices right from the start. However, it is not always possible to control what your children will prefer later in life, but being health-conscious and broadening their horizons at a young age is more than advisable.
4. Providing a family bonding activity
Cooking provides a great bonding experience between family members, and like every other family activity it can help you connect on a deeper level. That way, even when you’re children grows older, you can always have an excuse to hang out together and remember what you used to cook on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
5. Teaching your child to be appreciative
Children who never help out in the kitchen (not necessarily because they don’t want to but perhaps they weren’t stimulated by the parents) are less likely to appreciate the meal, how it's made or where it comes from. A ‘home-cooked’ meal isn’t just something that just appears out of nowhere, and it’s crucial that children understand that. As they become more and more independent it is definitely useful to be able to prepare healthy meals for themselves. Sharing and preparing meals is an important family activity and your child should see it as such. Teaching your children how to prepare a meal and help out in the kitchen can go a long way.
These are just a few of the many benefits for getting your little guys in the kitchen. Explore their world with them and stay creative.
Avery Road Products