This month has been a pretty tough month for my family. Nolan and Cooper were both very sick with a virus that turned into bacterial pneumonia of the left lung. Mitch also caught the virus, but luckily by the time he came down with it, we knew to immediately start him on antibiotics to ward off a possibly pneumonia infection as well. I am not a fan of unnecessary use of antibiotics due to the damage it can do to your gut, but obviously this was a time it was absolutely needed.
Anyway, during the course of the last three weeks of my family fighting this, we still needed to eat. Rather than fight Nash during the time it took me to bake, I decided to have him “help” me. Now of course everyone knows that having an 18 month old “help” you bake is more work for the baker, and definitely can be very UNHELPFUL!! However, I believe it is important to start training a child young to help make the food that they will be eating together with us.
I started allowing my other two boys to help me prepare food around the 18 month mark and feel it has budded a love of creating healthy snacks and meals for themselves and others. Preparing our young people to one day be healthy, happy, thriving adults means they need to know how to prepare food that leads to healthy bodies and minds.
Through my time so far being a mom I have noticed so many perks to allowing my kids to “mess up/help me” in the kitchen. If you are anything like me, I know it can be hard to let go and allow this to happen! Hopefully these reasons give you enough of a nudge to forget your captain seat in the kitchen for a moment and build some memories with your kids!
- Kids who help to prepare their food are more likely to try it. This is a great way to entice your picky eaters to try new things!
- Kids appreciate their food more after learning how much work goes into growing, preparing, and creating their meals. I often get compliments from the boys on how hard I must have worked to make the meal we were eating at the dinner table. Since they have been helping me cook, they are really seeing how much love and effort goes into preparing meals!
- Cooking together builds lasting bonds. If you sit down and think about it, food really is the center of our communities. We eat together as families, teams, friends, and churches. Holidays are not complete without a holiday meal. Meals are where community is built. There is a reason that the saying, “families who eat together stay together” is so big. Food is a part of life, so bonding while sharing it is natural. When your cooking with your child, you have their attention. Use it to talk to and enjoy them! Quality time is hard to come by now, so this is a perfect excuse!
- Cooking with your kids breeds higher self esteem and confidence! Kids love to gain independence, it makes them feel more self sufficient and “big”. Food needs to be prepared to eat-whether by you, your spouse, or a restaurant. Now that my kids have some basic kitchen skills, I have noticed a massive increase in their self-confidence and pride. They love to prepare snacks for their friends when they visit and for me….which is always a perk!
- Kids who can cook are much more independent, which in turn helps everyone! Having my four and six year old get their own breakfasts and pack their own lunches is helpful across the board! I win…and they win!
I hope this helps give you a little inspiration to let the littles help out in the kitchen. If nothing else, it keeps them entertained without a screen:)