Why You Should Cook with Your Kids
By Sara Butler
If you want to raise an adventurous eater, then it’s important to do more than simply introduce them to different types of foods. Raising a child who likes carrots as much as cupcakes can take a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to feel like it. One of the best ways to raise a healthy eater is to involve them in food preparation. This will take patience and a little persistence but will be well worth it. Here are a few tips to help you get started!
If you have an eater who is a little hesitant (what kid isn’t?) to try new things, then unfamiliar foods can be a little scary -- even intimidating. Help your child explore new foods with senses other than taste. This can help them to make positive connections between the food and its texture.
Have them knead the dough, tear the lettuce, and wash the vegetables. It’s important to remember that eating food is about more than just what it tastes like, but how it feels and smells. The texture and the smell are sometimes a turn off for kids, so help them overcome it by introducing to foods beyond simply how they taste.
Cooking is a very technical activity, so it’s a great way to encourage a child to grow their math and science skills. Concepts such as measurement, fractions, and counting are essential to complete a recipe. Explain to your child how food changes when cooked or what it provides to your body when you eat it. You can also introduce new vocabulary to your children as you describe foods to them as you make them.
As a parent, it’s important to help your child understand how to stay safe. Cooking can be a great way to introduce safety in the kitchen associated with sharp knives, high temperatures, and safe use of appliances. Of course, keep the tasks age-appropriate and always supervise your children, but these are great lessons that will help you feel better about keeping your child safe as they grow.
Ask for Feedback
After you’ve completed a recipe, then ask them what they liked or didn’t like about it. Talk to them about how different people enjoy different tastes and let them make decisions about how you can work together to tweak the recipe in the future.
Cooking with your kids is a great activity, so try it out!
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