Cooking is a great way to spend time with your kids. Not only will they develop skills that are practical now and in the future, but they will also help contribute to home life and gain a sense of self-esteem and confidence in the process. It is one of those activities that boosts a child’s independence, supports their creativity, inspires their imagination and leads to a much healthier lifestyle.
For single parents, the more quickly their kids can become independent, the quicker you will feel alleviated from the struggles of juggling work, kids and home. So cooking is an ideal activity that serves multiple purposes and have so many benefits.
1. Cooking Allows You to Eat Healthier
When you buy prepared food from the grocery store or the restaurant, you don’t necessarily know what ingredients are in your food and how and who prepared your food. There is always a bit of risk especially if you have allergies to accept food as they are prepared by the store or restaurant.
By cooking your food at home, you and your kids have better control over the nutrients of the food you make. You know exactly what is in your food and you can determine how you want to prepare it in the healthiest way possible.
Cooking is one of those activities that boosts a child’s independence, supports their creativity, inspires their imagination and leads to a much healthier lifestyle.
In picking out the ingredients at the grocery store, your child can learn about the various types of food groups, learn how to budget and how to assess options for substitutes if certain ingredients are not available. Shopping together becomes an educational experience and the best way to eat healthier and cooking ensures you know what goes into your plate.
2. Cooking at Home is Always Budget-Friendly
When you eat outside, you are subject to costs that may be out of your control especially if you are paying for other people’s orders. You might have a budget in mind, but if one of your kids or a guest chooses a meal that is more than what you budgeted for, your wallet may run dry.
Dining out means you not only are paying for the cook’s labour in the price of the meal but you also have to account for tips and taxes. The price of items on the menu especially drinks tend to be 3 times more than what it would cost you to buy at a grocery store.
Cooking at home means you buy the ingredients once and it may last you for weeks and months and can go a long ways to saving you money for future meals. Ingredients can be used for multiple dishes and the volume of food you create, is less costly than eating out.
When you cook for 2 or 3 people at home, the price you pay is simply the cost of the ingredients of the dish that is shared amongst the family. When you are eating out, you are paying for 2 or 3 individual dishes with varying prices so cooking at home is always going to be far more budget friendly.
3. Cooking is an EducationalExperience
Cooking helps kids refine their motor skills. Whenever they are measuring, rolling, kneading, stirring, cutting, pouring and frying, they are exercising their motor skills and moving with precision. They learn to use all sorts of arm muscles and roll up their sleeves to immerse in the experience.
Cooking is not only physical but also mathematical. Measuring, adding, dividing, subtracting ingredients challenges them to use their brain. For example, if the meal is designed to feed 4 people and there are only 2 of you, you have to divide the recipe in half to yield the right amount of food without the waste.
Cooking also challenges the mind by allowing them to think about the nutritional facts in every meal. Reading the recipe, learning about the ingredients and finding ways to substitute less desirable ingredients for healthier ones is a great challenge and a good topic for conversation.
Learning to follow directions by reading the recipe is a valuable skill to develop and another very important educational experience that cooking teaches. For kids with attention deficit disorder, cooking is a fun activity that can challenge their patience. Cooking and specifically baking can certainly test your patience as you wait for dough to rise or cake to bake.
4. Cooking Helps in Bonding with Kids
Cooking with kids brings the family together whether you’re cooking with one child or more. It is a bonding opportunity – shopping together, learning about ingredients and collaborating like a team to deliver the final product. It’s fun and it will create many memories in the future.
The process not only involves the cooking time but also requires an investment in preparation, planning, buying and then of course the eating and cleaning up. Depending on how elaborate you want to make of it, it could be a whole day event.
Create a cadence of cooking with the kids perhaps once a week to get them into the routine and then eventually, allow them to cook on their own to surprise you once in a while. Eating together to enjoy the meal is an opportunity to bond and share your day.
5. Cooking Builds their Character
Through cooking, kids gain a sense of confidence, accomplishment and independence. Its an activity that can be empowering and can challenge their creativity, especially if they are baking. When kids are successful at cooking and everyone enjoys the meal, it reinforces a sense of self worth and empowers them.
As their confidence grows, they can start creating their own recipes. In fact, when you don’t want to put on a big cooking production, kids can create their own versions of common dishes they like such as spaghetti, pizza, soup and many other staple dishes.
Not everyone is good at cooking and it may take them a few trial and errors before they can perfect the dish but be patient and give them the encouragement they need to be successful.
Tips for a Successful Cooking Experience
To ensure you enjoy the cooking experience, here are some tips and advice:
- Give your kids the tools they need like cutting boards, knives (for the appropriate age), measuring cups and spoons for dry and liquid ingredients, mixing bowls and all the kitchen utensils required so they can do the job well.
- Find an easy recipe to start so they can be successful at making their first dish and they will feel inspired and excited to try harder recipes.
- If the kids are too young to handle a knife or any sharp objects, you will need to cut it for them. If they are old enough to use sharp objects, teach them the safe and proper way to handle a knife
- Ensure to follow food safe guidelines so they are conscious of health and safety practices like washing their hands and not using the same cutting boards for meat and vegetables.
- Encourage them to use measuring tools for better results
Don’t forget to have fun!