As parents, you spend many hours making sure that your kiddos eat well-balalnced meals. But did you know that spending time in the kitchen with your kids, teaching them how to cook, is just as important? It is. Spending time teaching your children to cook and bake will not only generate a ton of happy memories, but will also teach them many, invaluable skills - especially the importance of eating a healthy and balanced diet, so says chef and parenting expert Annabel Karmel. Additionally, your kids learn organizing , math, reading, reasoning, and fine motor skills...all while having fun!
Here are some reasons to teach you little ones to cook and bake.
Cooking builds self-confidence, giving kids a sense of accomphishment when they can say, "I made this!". Cooking sparks the imagination. Every time your child takes a bunch of wet and dry ingredients, and mixes them together, something magical happens. They seemingly create something from not much. Plating, and decorating baked goods, also adds an element of creativity. Learning to mix flavor profiles, seeing what woks together and what doesn't, is great fun, too. MIxing and pouring help to develop fine motor skills. I know I sure can be a little clumsy in the kitchen! And, let's face it, there's no better way to learn math skills, then by actually putting them into use. It doesn't take long to see how valuable math is, and how we use it everyday...whether we realize it, or not. Cooking and baking teaches cause and effect; if you mix this and that together, the texture changes, or wil cause the ingredients to rise. And if you leave it out, well, poof! It doesn't cook up well or tastes awful! Every ingredient is there for a reason. I find it kind of fun learning what each item does. It helps to know what ingedients to use when you want to create your own unique recipe. Cooking teaches healthy eating habits. As you teach your child how to prepare different ingredients, it may be a good time to teach them about where they come from, how they're grown, and why we need to eat certain foods. It instills a sense of well-being in them, just knowing that the foods choices they make not only can taste really good (even better than junk food) but also helps their bodies and minds to be strong for many years to come. Cooking increases the child's awareness of new foods. There are so many foods to choose from, why limit yourself to only a few? And you'll never know if you like something, until you actually try it. You may be surprised! Cooking and baking gives children responsibility. There are certain rules and safety measures to follow when you cook. These lessons teach children to be responsible with their tools, themselves, and their ingedients. Cooking and baking also teaches children how to troubleshoot. If you're making oatmeal raisin cookies and you find you're out of raisins, for example, instead of panicking and thinking the tasty treats can't be completed, teach your child to think about other options such as chocolate chips or other dried fruits, like appricots. Surely, there's something in the pantry that can be used as a substitution. Who knows? Their invention could turn out to be better than the original! Two additional reasons for spending time together in the kitchen is learning cooperation, working as as part of a team, and then cleaning up. No really loves to do the dishes and clean up the mess, but it's part of the cooking process...as it is with nearly everything fun we do. We create a mess. We have to clean up the mess. That's just the way it is. Showing kids why clean-up is an important part of cooking can be a valuable lesson that will serve them well throughout their lives. And the best reason to teach kids to cook is I think, anyway, the family bonding. There's nothing better than spending quality time with your children. And then ending up with something yummy to eat, well, that's just "frosting on the cake!"
Many of these reasons I hadn't thought of myself, until I did some research on the subject. How about you, did you think of them them all? With the weekend upon us, how about spending time in the kitchen with your children and, together, creating a memorable and tasty family meal? I'm so glad that my mom has taught me, and my little brother Quigley, Jr., how to cook. We both enjoy knowing our way around the kitchen. And it gives me a sense of pride and self-confidence to know that I'll never have to rely on anyone else to prepare good, nutritious meals for me. Because I can do it myself!
Happy weekend everyone. See you back here on Monday!