What’s cooking kids?

“Out of the kitchen kids?” Or, should it be “into the kitchen kids”?

Brenda Janschek - Cooking Kids Feature

As a parent, which would you prefer? Kids in or out of the kitchen?

These days, I’m one of those parents who loves hearing, “Can I help with the cooking, Mum?”.  But it wasn’t always this way, and I still have to silence that part of me that groans that having them involved will delay me from my 1000 other parental tasks. And let’s not even talk about the mess!
But, mostly these days I’m as excited as they are when they fry an egg, flip a buckwheat pancake, mix some kale with coconut oil with their hands, slice some cheese or tomato (ok, this one still stresses me out a bit), and read and measure out ingredients. Even better, they don’t even realise they are increasing their knowledge of nutrition, as well as increasing their academic and life skills! It may come as no surprise that healthy treat baking is when they are the happiest assistants, the only downfall being that my husband and I have lost our bowl-licking rights.

Having our kids in the kitchen is beneficial in many ways:

  • LEARN: Learning how to cook is an important life skill not only that but cooking provides a great opportunity to teach our kids about nutrition – what’s healthy, why and why that’s good. In addition it teaches safety habits (sharp objects, fire, gas etc)
  • READ: Reading recipes and flicking through recipe books encourages them to read and follow instruction (later, they will learn ‘improvisation’ and ‘multi tasking’)
  • MATHS: The recipes also use maths concepts (measurement, fractions and proportions), which helps to improve their numerical skills by giving them context
  • BONDING: It provides important bonding time which, in turn, helps to build their confidence. It also presents opportunities to praise your child as they complete a task, contributing to their self-esteem
  • EXPLORE: They are introduced to new foods, which they are more likely to try given they are preparing them
  • MOTOR SKILLS: Fine motor skills are honed in the kitchen, as are their five senses: see, hear, smell, touch, taste (thanks XTC! Showing my age.)
  • CREATIVITY: Kids have an opportunity to express their creativity – eg. using cookie cutters to make different pizza or sandwich shapes, collaborating on a new healthy cake recipe and decorating it, deciding on the design and ingredients for a fruit kebab, choosing ingredients they like to include in their smoothie and so on……

My kids are just as happy being dutiful assistants at dinner as they are ordering me to bring out the flour and water so they can goo and sludge their way to a dough that will invariably become known as “the best bread ever”. This is a joyous, bonding activity, whilst also being subliminally educational. It’s hard to think of a better way to teach our children life’s lessons.
So why not choose a recipe with your kids and let the kids into the kitchen this week? I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how rewarding it can be!

Bren x

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