The benefits of cooking with kids
To you, it’s just another domestic task you have to perform to get your family fed before you put your feet up. So involving your children in the cooking process will be time-consuming and messy, right? Whilst that’s true, cooking is an activity that can unleash their creativity and help them develop all manner of skills.
Recent research corroborates this (see our article: ‘Does home-cooked food create healthier kids?’) Studies show that children who are welcomed in to the kitchen and are allowed to help prepare and cook food are less fussy and eat more healthily. They’re also more likely to try new foods, and learn about the provenance of food and about waste and how to reduce it.
It’s now become so apparent that children should learn to cook that Ruth Bond, the chairman of the Women’s Institute, recently spoke out about it and The Times reported that the founders of healthy food chain ‘Leon’, Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, have been advising the British government of cooking classes on the school curriculum. As of 2014, the aim is that all children aged 7-14 will take compulsory cooking classes but, crucially, the dishes they will be required to learn are savoury. This is an attempt to veer children away from sugar-laden foods and provide them with a repertoire of home-cooked recipes they can cook for their families, and pass onto their own kids.
In a society overloaded with junk food, our sedentary lifestyles, and the current ready meal food scandals, there’s never been a better time to cook at home with your children. This is regardless of whether your child’s school offers cooking classes, because the benefits are not just about learning - they’re about bonding.
Here are no less than 16 ways in which cooking can benefit children.
Why HELP CHILDREN COOK?
Helps to improve reading and maths skills
Encourages children to see a task through from beginning to end
Listening to instructions aids concentration
Planning and making choices teaches responsibility
Creates a curious and positive association with food
Healthy eating becomes more appealing – and likely
Improves motor skills – both fine and gross
Links food in the fields to food on the plate (provenance)
Demonstrates the value of working as a team and taking turns
Reduces fussy eating habits
Emboldens, builds confidence and self esteem
Nurtures relationships and promotes bonding
Creative endeavours fuel kids’ imaginations
Organisational and time management skills are learned
Opportunity to learn about other cultures’ cuisine
Knowledge of food hygiene and cleanliness is vital for wellbeing.