How To Cook With Your Kids During a Shelter-In-Place (And Why You Need To)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Have you heard it yet? The dreaded phrase, "Mom, I'm bored." After almost three weeks of sheltering-in-place, you've likely heard it multiple times. One way to break up the boredom is to get kids in the kitchen to help cook and bake. Most children will express an interest in cooking at some point in their lives. Usually, they like to get involved in baking sweet treats like cookies and cupcakes, where they can lick the spoon as a reward for their efforts. Allowing your kids to help you cook and back will engage them in new learning experiences that will set them up for life. 
Here are just some of the wonderful benefits gained when you take the time to cook with your kids and teach them more about food:

Try New Things
It can sometimes be difficult to get kids to try all of the wonderful foods available to us, with vegetables being a particularly difficult sell. But children who participate in the cooking process and who are having fun learning new skills are much more likely to try their creations than they would be if you simply presented them with a plate of broccoli and asparagus. If you have a particularly fussy child, it’s worth trying to engage them in the kitchen if you’re looking for a new approach to change their mind and get them eating a healthier diet.

Teach Them Math Skills
You might not have considered teaching math to your kids via the medium of cooking, but it is quite effective. Just think of all the measurements that are involved with following a recipe, especially if you are modifying it in any way. A great idea is to either double a recipe or cut it in half and allow your children to do the fractional math (if they are old enough to know how). The act of cooking can be used to teach addition, subtraction, multiplication and especially fractions. The great thing about it is that the kids will be having so much fun that they won’t even realize they’re learning!

Improve Their Reading Comprehension
Cooking can also be used to improve children’s reading skills. When you’re following a recipe, whether it's for a batch of cookies or a complicated Italian dish, you will have to follow a number of step-by-step instructions to ensure that the finished product turns out right. If your child hasn’t shown a particular interest in reading, but loves to cook, encouraging him or her to read cookbooks and experiment with recipes could be a great way to improve their reading skills.

Experiment with Science
Cooking, and baking, in particular, are a form of science. Adding the right levels of various ingredients so that the interactions between them will help your baked goods rise is imperative. It might be basic stuff, but as an introduction to science, baking is a great place to start, and you’re sure to have lots of fun seeing what happens when you add too much baking soda or forget to add the salt. Making bread is a fantastic way to apply a science lesson to food. Watching it rise and double in size is a great lesson.

It Encourages a Healthy Relationship with Food
Children who learn to cook from a young age tend to have a bigger appreciation for food and a better relationship with the things they put on their plate. As a result, they are much less likely to have food issues as they get older.

Gives Them a Sense of Accomplishment
The first time your child successfully follows a recipe and sees the finished product will be a proud moment for you and an even prouder moment for them. They will feel a real sense of accomplishment in their ability to carry out a task successfully from start to finish, especially when the rest of the family taste their creation and tell them just how wonderful it is.

It’s a Great Way to Bond
Spending time in the kitchen as a family is a great way to enjoy some relaxed time together. As you knead the dough and stir the sauce, you’ll be able to talk about anything and everything, setting a strong foundation for the future, when your children are teenagers. It’s a great way to strengthen family bonds and raise a child who is well-adjusted and happy to confide in you no matter what.

It Teaches Them Life Skills
Cooking is probably one of the most important life skills any of us can learn, and the sooner we learn how to cook healthy, nutritious meals for ourselves, the better we are likely to be about it, and the more likely we are to actually eat healthy homemade meals in the future. Allowing your kids to cook as children will set them up to be healthy adults in the future.

It’s Great Fun
Of course, cooking is just a lot of fun. If you want to get your kids away from electronics, ask them if they’d like to bake a batch of cupcakes, and they’ll forget all about their screens, for an hour or so at least!

No comments