Cooking with Kids!

Now that we all have a little extra time on our hands and eating out isn’t an option, we are spending more time in the kitchen. The chances are that we are not over-joyed with this. According to a Bord Bia survey, only 20% of us said we like cooking during the week and 27% enjoy it at the weekend!

One way to turn this around is by having a bit of fun cooking with our kids. Not only will this quality time create many happy memories but you will be passing on essential life skills to your children at the same time. In a UK study, only one in five parents ever cooked with their kids, yet the benefits are wide-reaching.

Naturally, they will learn key cooking skills which will stand to them for the rest of their lives. Normally we don’t have a lot of time in our busy lives to teach our kids how to cook. Yet, before we know it (yes, we have all been warned!) they will be turning 18 and getting ready to leave home. Whether that is to college or a job, it will feel great knowing that they are well able to cook for themselves. My daughter already appreciates that she will be able to invite all her college friends around for dinner!

So you will be helping your children develop life-long cooking skills which is just wonderful. But there are many other benefits to teaching your kids how to cook. You are also teaching them about self-care and how to nourish themselves well. Knowing how to cook from scratch will lead to healthier kids as families who eat home-cooked meals on a regular basis tend to be healthier than those who don’t. One study reported that children who learn to cook before age of eight are 50% more likely to have a healthy diet later in life.

Cooking with kidsPlus the savings once they leave home! A 2kg bag of brown rice is a lot cheaper than ‘boil in the bag’ alternatives! Processed and ready made meals or even take-aways are much more costly than cooking from scratch, so great financial savings too!

It also helps children develop an interest in food, which often leads to more adventurous eating and helps develop a varied taste palette. My kids will always be more interested in trying what they have helped make – always.  Plus it teaches them about food itself. In a study in the UK, only one in 10 children could recognize a leek and only one in five knew what an avocado looked like.

So, obviously the younger we can encourage kids to take part the better. This is true from the perspective of motor development as well. Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are developed when stirring, rolling, squeezing, sieving, pouring etc.  Plus the maths! Have you tried doubling a recipe lately or counting the number of spoons you added? And not to forget the fractions, measuring, weighing…

family cookingAnd the language skills like following a set of instructions, learning new words and terms, reading the recipe. You could probably throw in a bit of science and creativity too (at least in this house where recipes are often like experiments!)

I also think (from my own experience) that kids develop a certain confidence in their cooking skills. My kids are always very proud of the fact they can bring me breakfast in bed or make the pesto from start to finish on their own. Definitely an avenue to develop self-esteem and confidence for them. When they were younger I got them little aprons and matching hats so they felt like they were the ‘real thing’ and they enjoyed the ‘role play’ element of it too.

Finally, the family fun! Yes, sometimes it would be a lot easier and quicker (and less messy!) to cook on my own but the benefits of cooking with my kids far outweigh the disadvantages. Yes, it’s not always practical but now with increasing time on our hands and many parents homeschooling it is the perfect opportunity to include a bit of home economics! I have created an ebook of our favourite recipes (selected by my 7 and 11 year olds) so if you want to get started with some healthy recipes check it out here.

Enjoy creating happy memories with your budding little chefs!