You may have impressionable memories of being in the kitchen when you were little, I know I do. My Poppy used to have me help him roll out dough for homemade noodles and other pastries when I was between 3-5 years old. I have very fond memories of this even having been so young. I have many more memories of helping shuck corn and peel potatoes for my parents when I was a kid also among many other kitchen tasks. So I’ve always found it important for me to involve my own children in our kitchen. And considering that we cook meals every night for a family of 7, having some extra hands is actually quite nice from time to time.
If you’ve heard the term “too many cooks in the kitchen“, I concur. If you allow more than one child in the kitchen at a time, it can sometimes be more of a headache than it’s worth in my opinion, but that’s also because I have 5 and my kitchen is not super big. This is why we implemented designated days for help in the kitchen per child. It gives them each a chance to help with dinner and even baking while allowing us to have enough space to function while cooking. Personally, I can handle up to 2 children helping in the kitchen at a time, while my husband has one child most the time when it’s his turn to cook.
Here’s some reasons why you should involve your children in the kitchen and how it will benefit them to be with you.
1. Quality Time
For all types of mothers, dads, parents, grandparents, etc. it’s just a great bonding experience. You can have physical one on one time, enjoying each others company and hold conversations that you may have otherwise been too busy to have.
2. Life-Skills (they will be thankful to have kitchen skills in the future)
It helps them learn more skills like teamwork, listening and following instructions (and reading/following recipes). It also helps them with math skills by measuring ingredients, learning about where the food and ingredients comes from, all about kitchen safety with knives and hot surfaces and even fire. Teaching your children the importance of cooking and kitchen safety is crucial, especially so they have that edge when they are older and out on their own.
3. Tasting More Foods
If you have picky eaters, helping in the kitchen can broaden their appreciation for the food in all it’s forms. Sometimes things don’t look the same before cooking as it does after and most the time doesn’t even taste the same before as it does after. My children love to taste things before and after they’ve helped cook it. Having them in the kitchen has opened their pallet to many new foods. I’ve always been the type of parent to make them try it before they say they don’t like it, but I find it’s also beneficial for them to be a part of making it and trying it before and after. Something they may not like in one form, they may like in another.
It’s always a good thing to boost a child’s confidence and their abilities to perform certain tasks. My children are so overjoyed with helping in the kitchen because they feel such a sense of accomplishment. You can literally see the sparkle in their eyes and the happiness in their smiles that they were a part of creating something as important as the meal we imbibe. You’ll see it too when you put your child in the kitchen to help you, they not only will love the time they get to be with you but they will feel good with themselves too.
I remember the joy and the satisfaction I had as a child helping my family in the kitchen and I cherish those memories, especially considering some of those family members have passed away. I want my children to carry those memories of helping us in the kitchen when they are grown up too. I want them to be able to look back and remember all the fun we had, the flour fights, licking the spoon, burnt toast, cleaning up spilled milk or dropped eggs with a smile. All of it. I look back and appreciate the time I had as a child and I hope for them to look back and appreciate it when they are older as well.