Every night I was either cooking with my mom or cleaning up afterwards. It wasn’t a big deal – it was just what families did. As I got older, I remember cooking dinner while my mom and dad were still at work and having things ready for the family by 5:30. I didn’t necessarily like to cook nor was I that great at it, but it did teach me things that I knew I wanted my kids to learn. In fact, all three of our kids now cook to some degree or another and I couldn’t be happier. Here’s why all children should learn to cook from an early age.
Why All Kids Should Learn to Cook
1. COOKING FACILITATES TEAMWORK
As part of a family, teamwork is important to keep the household running. Knowing how to cook and being able to help out in the kitchen is a large part of that. Littles should never be given stove or oven duty, but they can help mix the salad or stir the cookie batter. As they get older, teach them how to cut with knife and how to safely use the microwave or toaster oven. Move on to the stove and oven as they get older and more capable. By including them in the task of meal preparation, they understand that it’s not just a “mom” or “dad” thing, but something that is done to benefit the entire family.
2. LEARN WHILE COOKING
There are a lot of lessons in cooking! From measuring to time management to chemical reactions, cooking is the ultimate learning experience. Practice researching and reading recipes. Discuss in-season ingredients. Talk about portion sizes and nutrition. Use every step of the cooking process as a fun learning experience. Not only does it help kids in the present, but it also sets them up for success when they’re out on their own. The lessons of cooking will never be forgotten.
3. MAKE MEMORIES
Just as the cooking lessons will never be forgotten, neither will the memories that are made during the process. From sharing family traditions and passed down recipes to simply talking about the day, cooking is the gateway to building childhood memories. Have you ever heard someone talk about helping their grandmother cook dinner or bake cookies? While the end product of the cooking experience was probably tasty, the thing that is remembered the most is the time spent together. Make memories (and cooking messes!) with your children, so that they will be able to pass down your family recipes and traditions, as well.
Learning to cook is about so much more than making food. While it’s vitally important to teach self-sufficiency, it’s almost more important to build those memories and bonds. So, break out the cookbooks, read through the recipes, and settle into a cooking session with your kids. All children should learn to cook.