Cooking with the family is  a crucial part of child development and health.Can you remember the last time your family made a meal together? Cooking with our kids and sharing family recipes is a rarity in many households these days. It can be difficult to find the time to buy groceries, plan meals, prep all that food, and to clean up - especially when juggling the schedules of an entire family! But it’s important for parents to make time where possible, even just to teach their kids simple cooking techniques. Because...

Cooking Helps Their Health, Development & More!

Did you know that preparing and cooking meals helps children enhance their patience, sense of direction, and confidence? Not only that - kids who are hands-on in the kitchen are primed to make healthier food choices. Teaching our children to cook will also foster transferable skills, like basic math computations. And following the instruction of each recipe during the cooking process from beginning to end helps build their skills in planning and completing a task.

In detail, let’s focus on the four biggest ways children can benefit from making their meals with their family:

  1. It Enhances The Mind. Cooking can inspire kids, helping them build their thinking analysis capabilities, simple mathematical skills, ability to predict an outcome, problem-solving capabilities, observational skills, and measuring skills. All of this because they have to carefully follow instructions and sequences during the cooking process!
  2. It Improves Social & Emotional Intelligence. Cooking helps to encourage children to feel confident and independent, trusting themselves and their abilities more fully. It  gives them a chance to learn about where ingredients come from, opening the door to conversations about food sources and food waste. These topics are relevant to children’s social awareness, helping them learn about how their choices affect their local and global community.
  3. It Helps Children Grow Stronger. Exposing children to hands-on cooking activities - such as mixing, squeezing, chopping, and spreading - encourages the development of muscle, eye and hand coordination. This is a great addition in their early years of physical growth and development.
  4. It Emphasizes Language Skills. Some ingredients and dishes may prove to be difficult to pronounce for most kids, making it beneficial for their language development. Plus, it can stir up curiosity, which encourages conversations about questions about cooking, cultures, the environment and other connections they make.

Are You Ready To Start Cooking?

Cooking is becoming an underappreciated family activity. But spending time in the kitchen is valuable, creating quality time for kids and parents alike.  With the holidays approaching, it is a great period of time to bring this family activity back to your household.

Letting your kids experience the different steps and styles of cooking - from preparation to the end result - will ultimately help them develop skills that are beneficial to them. Engaging our kids and exposing them to this training will also prove to be a great bonding opportunity, allowing families to celebrate their cultural heritage as well as foster self-confidence, responsibility, and accomplishment in themselves.

Ready to get started? It’s easier than ever to find healthy, easy-to-make recipes online! If you have any dietary concerns or would like a professional opinion on your meal prep, please don’t hesitate to contact your Capital Area Pediatrics team for some tips. We’re happy to help you get started as you work to increase your family’s time in the kitchen!

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