Kids in the Kitchen

Getting your kids into the kitchen may not help you too much (considering they might make a bigger mess!) but it will definitely help them.

There is much research that shows it is important for their physical, emotional and cognitive development. Here are some of the reasons why we think you should involve them in the kitchen:

1. Menu planning – the decision-making process
We all know the amount of effort that goes behind planning meals for families, taking into consideration everyone’s preferences, requirements, allergies etc., only to hear “do we have to eat this again?” Get the kids involved in planning the menu by giving them options to choose from. That way they take pride in their decisions and get involved in the process.

2. Shopping – the fun learning experience
Get them to make shopping lists for the menu that has been decided. When you take them to the store, talk to them about all the ingredients and the importance of eating locally grown organic food. Discuss their nutritional value, medicinal properties, where they are grown and their price. It will help them understand that food doesn’t come out of a box! Children will learn more about what they eat and it will be a lesson in Economics!

3. Safety and Hygiene
It is a good opportunity to demonstrate safety and hygiene in the kitchen. Show them all the appliances and explain what they can or cannot touch. Establish rules like washing hands, pulling back long hair and keeping nails short.

4. Nutrition
Talk to them about the nutritional component of each ingredient. Through this exercise they might develop healthier eating habits as they grow. They might also start to recognize that nutritious, homemade food can be delicious.

5. Independence
Children will soon learn smaller tasks like cleaning up a mess, peeling fruits and vegetables, putting things back to their place, assembling a sandwich or salad and packing their lunch boxes.

Cooking together can be a bonding experience that is fun and rewarding. As children grow into young adults, the kitchen will not be a daunting place for them. More importantly, they will not associate cooking as a task for only parents or domestic help. It is an important life skill that can take them a long way. So it is a great idea to start them young and have some fun along the way!

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